Division 14 Councillor Chris Robbins .
Division 14 Councillor Chris Robbins . supplied

Debate rages on councillor wages

WHILE debate rages in the chambers of Gold Coast City Council about councillors' pay packets, one councillor is glad the decision is not left to the council.

Division 14 Councillor Chris Robbins would not comment on the raise but said it was not so political with the decision taken out of the hands of the council.

"I'm very happy that it's taken out of our hands," Cr Robbins said.

The Queensland Remuneration Tribunal recommended that Gold Coast councillors received a 5.4% pay increase for Gold Coast councillors and 7.7% increase for the mayor.

Mayor Ron Clarke wants councillor's to 'put up or shut up' on pay packets, instead of using it for political gain.

Cr Clarke said councillors unhappy with the pay rise should negotiate their own remuneration with the chief executive officer.

"At least four councillors have been saying council must protest as there is no justification for these rises in the current economic climate," Cr Clarke said.

"While I agree with them, protesting to the tribunal about the rise is just playing politics.

"Under the prescribed conditions, councillors or mayors may lodge a submission for consideration by the tribunal within 90 days if they believe the recommendations are too low.

"If any councillor believes he or she is overpaid, the solution is simple - sign a binding agreement with the CEO specifying the amount they believe is fair.

"As long as the figure is less than the tribunal's recommendation, the CEO can implement the agreement and the city will save the money."

Cr Clarke said another option was to donate the additional salaries to city charities.

Tweed Shire Council mayor Barry Longland said he was aware of the disparity in councillor's pay but believe their jobs were not so different.

"I do think that it's certainly not a career job," Cr Longland said.

"These people (Tweed councillors) are will to put their time and talents for the benefit of the community. There is a certain amount of volunteering."

Cr Longland said he worked about 40 hours a week on council business.

Mayor Ron Clarke earns $212,600 a year from January while Mayor Longland earns $49,340.

Gold Coast councillors earn $127,000 a year while Tweed councillors earn $15,500.



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