Staff bills worry as councils struggle with employee wages

EMPLOYEE costs continue to be a major factor in south-west municipal council budgets with revenue from rates barely covering the wages bills set to rise about 4 per cent a year.

Most councils have a staff turnover close to the state benchmark of 10 per cent with Moyne’s 17 per cent being the highest in the region.

Moyne’s rates revenue next financial year is budgeted at $18.94m and its employee bill will be $15.5m for its 235 equivalent full-time employees rising to $17.2m in 2017-18 with 241 staff.

Warrnambool City Council set a rates revenue of $32m for 2014-15 while its total employee cost will be $28.3 million for a workforce of 345 permanent and 69 casual staff (414 effective full-time) arising to 420 and $31.89m by 2017-18.

The city had a 10.5 per cent staff turnover this financial year which is expected to level out to 10 per cent for the next three years.

Corangamite Shire Council’s rates revenue will be $15.7m while employee costs will be $13.6m for its 190 effective full-time (EFT) staff which is expected to rise to $14.9m in 2016-17.

Corangamite’s staff turnover is current running at 10 per cent.

Glenelg Shire Council recorded a lower turnover of 7.4 per cent. Its employee bill will be $19.74m for 250 EFT staff next financial year rising to $21.5m by 2018 while the rates revenue next year will be $22.875m.

Southern Grampians has budgeted for a total rates revenue of $17.29m bill while costs for its 229 EFT staff will be $16.08m next financial year rising to $17.95 by 2018.

The shire’s employee costs are forecast to rise by 6.9 per cent compared with the current financial year. Its staff turnover was not available.

However, the budget document does say staff increases have been restricted to ensure salary cost increases are minimised.

“Any additional positions are only approved after a rigorous approval process requiring demonstration of needs and positive impact on services able to be provided,” the budget statement says.

“All positions are reviewed for efficiency and workload prior to being recruited.

“There has been a preference placed on appointing temporary positions to carry out externally-funded project work rather than consultants.”

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