Warrnambool's new councillors have signaled their intention to give themselves the top allowance available - the same amount as their seven predecessors.
Moyne Shire civic leaders late on Tuesday also voted to give themselves the top allowance, matching the amount city councillors get.
Each councillor is set to get $26,245 and the mayor will be paid $81,204 - exactly the same amount as the previous council after Planning Minister Richard Wynne ruled there would be no CPI increase this year.
Warrnambool City is a category two council and councillors can opt to be paid as little as $10,914 a year.
The issue of the councillor allowances was raised during the election campaign with candidate Jim Burke saying they should take a 20 per cent pay cut to help the community recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Burke said he would take the cut to his allowance if elected, regardless of whether other councillors did, but he just missed out on being elected to a place at the council table.
Cr Max Taylor told Monday night's public meeting if any councillor, or the mayor, was uncomfortable with the allowance, they were free to talk to the director of corporate strategies Peter Utri on a one-to-one basis.
"If they feel they'd like to halve their salary, that can be discussed personally with Peter," he said.
Cr Ben Blain said councillors were all starting to feel there was more to the role than what they all first thought.
"I think we do actually do work hard for what we get in return," Cr Blain said.
He said for him personally it cost him more not being at his business than what he got from being on council.
"This is just the normal status quo. We are going to stay at the top of the bracket, the same as the previous council was," Cr Blain said.
However, he pointed out that it was an interim measure as they moved to the new Local Government Act 2020 guidelines where a remuneration panel would be set up to decide councillor allowances.
"It's also worth noting as well that with the effects of COVID-19 our allowances haven't actually moved up from last year, there was no CPI increase on it," Cr Blain said.
No other councillors addressed the issue at Monday's meeting but they voted unanimously in favour of the motion to give public notice of its intention to retain the allowances "at the top of the band" for a category two council.
The public now have the chance to provide feedback on the move before it comes into force.
Moyne Shire councillors also look set to continue to receive the same allowances.
Moyne community and corporate support director Kevin Leddin said this would be the last year councillors would set their own allowance.
"It will become an independent review that kicks in under the new provisions of the 2020 Local Government Act," Mr Leddin said.
Cr James Purcell said the allowance was not thought of as pay.
"It's an allowance to cover expenses that councillors incur during their term. I've heard it said before the rate per hour is extremely low; it certainly is, there's a lot of hours involved," he said.
"I think it's a good move to have the independent umpire look at the rates, I don't think it's good for anyone to set their own rate for remuneration but in the meantime I'm happy to move this motion."
Moyne councillors voted unanimously to provide notice of the allowance rates.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
- Bookmark https://www.standard.net.au/
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters.
- Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- Tap here to open our Google News page.
- Join our Courts and Crime Facebook group and our dedicated Sport Facebook group.
- If you have subscribed, join our subscriber-only Facebook group.
Listen to the latest episode of our weekly podcast The Booletin and Beyond:
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.
Our COVID-19 news articles relating to public health and safety are free for anyone to access. However, we depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.