In September 2011, Council resolved to publish the expenses incurred by Councillors on its website each quarter.
The Local Government Act provides for the Mayor and Councillors to be paid an allowance and for them to be provided with appropriate tools and support to enable them to carry out their roles. In the April-June 2012 quarter, the allowance paid in Yarra was: $17,456 for the Mayor and $5642 for all other Councillors.
To properly represent their communities and carry out their significant legal responsibilities, Councillors often need to work long hours and travel. To assist Councillors in meeting their obligations, they are provided with general support such as mobile phones, computers, meals when they are attending meetings at meal times, and reimbursement of official travel costs and telephone bills.
For more information on Councillor remuneration, please see this excerpt from the 2008 Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report.
You can read the previous expenses report on the following webpages:
Excerpt from 2008 Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report
Councils and Councillors and their peak bodies expressed the view that the amount of allowances had a significant impact on the decision to stand for Council and to return for a second or third term. In particular, surveys had shown that women, single parents and young adults with or without children were under-represented in candidacies as were business owners and young professionals. This view was strongly supported in submissions from the community and especially by advocacy groups for women and young people.
The Panel formed the view that allowance levels do present a barrier to candidacy for those women, young people and mid career professionals both standing for election for the first time and those standing for re-election.
Submissions and hearings pointed out that for most Councillors becoming Mayor involves a full-time commitment to the role and the sacrifice of income if an individual takes unpaid leave from his or her previous employment. The duties of a Councillor demand time, energy and commitment and many reduce their time in paid employment to meet the demands of the role.
Becoming a Councillor also incurs costs for travel, accommodation and child and dependant care, which are not always fully reimbursed by the Council.
Some of the work of a Councillor occurs in ways that are not able to be discretely separated from other activities for the purposes of reimbursement, for example, representations about municipal matters received during non-Council activities. The submissions the Panel received were almost unanimous in describing the financial sacrifices and the failure of the current level of allowances to compensate this.
The Panel believes it is necessary to adjust the value of the allowance. Overall the Panel believes the acceptance of recommendations on increases to the quantum would encourage diversity and, in particular, increase the likelihood that women, young people and people of non-English speaking background will nominate for election to their local Council."
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Executive Manager - Governance