The new Local Government Bill caves in to Councillors’ demands to access the generosity of the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (VIRT) - which awarded senior MPs 11.8% payrise last September.
Even though VIRT is supposed to take into account the state’s ability to pay for MP pay rises, it used rosy Treasury estimates to justify the high salary rises for Ministers and Senior Public Servants.
The VIRT ruling in September also created three new senior positions for taxpayer funding, and in February, when backbenchers complained about travel expenses being withdrawn, re-instated them.
And now that Treasury estimates have been significantly down-graded, there’s no recourse for VIRT to scale back the pay increases, or to not pay the second instalment.
It's such a great lark that Councillors want access to VIRT for their allowances and expenses - and want them indexed annually.
In the great scheme of things, Councillor pay isn’t the greatest burden on ratepayers.
Secrecy and oppression are the greatest burdens on ratepayers.
The VIRT clauses in the Local Government Bill 2019 are merely a few in hundreds of pages of legislation that allow staff and Councillors to keep any information secret, while forcing residents to foot rapidly rising rates notices.