Bundaberg Regional Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch.
Bundaberg Regional Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch. Max Fleet

Councillors vote to increase pay

BUNDABERG Regional councillors started the year yesterday by accepting a 3% pay increase backdated to January 1.

In the first meeting of 2010, the councillors accepted a recommendation by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal for the new pay rates.

The increases are set by the tribunal as a percentage of the pay of a state MP.

From January 1 mayor Lorraine Pyefinch will be paid $124,013 a year, 95% of the sum received by a state MP.

Deputy mayor Tony Ricciardi will be paid $88,110, and councillors $78,320.

Cr Pyefinch said yesterday the percentage increases were less than first appeared because the amalgamation loading councillors were being paid were diminishing.

The loadings were introduced in 2008 when the Bundaberg Regional Council was formed, and is in recognition of the additional workload placed on councils.

Cr Pyefinch will be paid a loading of $8300 until June 30, then $5540 for the rest of the year.

Cr Ricciardi will receive $5810, dropping to $3880, and other councillors will be paid $5100, dropping to $3400.

Cr Pyefinch said yesterday this meant in effect her pay increase for the year was only 1.6%, with Cr Ricciardi receiving 1.66% and the rest of the councillors 1.67%.

“I’m comfortable with the rate of pay the independent tribunal sets,” Cr Pyefinch said yesterday.

“This reflects the work the councillors are required to do and the responsibilities of an elected representative.”

Cr Pyefinch said it was hard to set a fair price on a job in which councillors were on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no regular weekends off.

She pointed out she did not have an official car and did not claim mileage for the use of her own car on council business.

Cr Pyefinch said the independent tribunal was set up to make a determination every December on fair pay for councillors.

It took submissions, including from the general public, and decided on the pay rates each council should pay councillors.

“It’s no longer the political decision it used to be,” she said.

“It’s been taken out of our hands.”

She said the amalgamation loading would end this year.

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