Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel left with Mayor Clare Stewart.
Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel left with Mayor Clare Stewart.

Mayor wants councillor freeze on pay packets

AS BUSINESSES fight to avoid going to the wall and stood down workers are in a pandemic-induced limbo, Noosa councillors are being asked to tighten their belts and knock-back a 2 per cent wage increase.

The recommendation will be first put to councillors next Tuesday by council CEO Brett de Chastel who believes it is the right course of action for community leaders and has committed to his own salary freeze.

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“We are very much part of this community and we are all committed to doing what we can to get through this difficult period,” Mr de Chastel said.

Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel
Noosa Council CEO Brett de Chastel

“This is an opportunity for the council to demonstrate community leadership at this time of economic hardship caused by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The economic impacts of the virus have been very significant for our community and it is appropriate for the council to not accept any increase in councillor remuneration at this time,” he said.

The CEO has already consulted with Mayor Clare Stewart and the councillors on this proposal.

Mayor Stewart said it was important to “walk the talk” to minimise cost increases in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It simply is the right thing to do given the current economic climate,” Cr Stewart said.

“Many in our community are hurting from the impact of this virus, so we simply need to do what we can to get through this challenge,” she said.

Councillor salaries are set by the Local Government Remuneration Commission and any increase is automatically paid unless the council decides otherwise.

The recommended increase has been handed down by the Local Government Remuneration Commission which is chaired by former Noosa and Sunshine Coast mayor Mr Bob Abbot.

Mr de Chastel said all up the council rise refusal will be a $11,180 saving to the budget.

The present annual pay for the mayor is $130,584, deputy mayor $81,615 while councillors pocket $69,372.

The council is rated as a category three in an eight scale rating based on size and scaled, according to Mr de Chastel.

Other category 3 councils are include Gympie Regional Council, Cassowary Coast Regional Council, Central Highlands Regional Council and Isaac Regional Council.

The Issac Council and Mackay Council, have rejected this rise for the same reasons outlined by Mr de Chastel, while the larger Sunshine Coast Council recently voted unanimously to freeze the councillors’ pay packets.

Mayor Mark Jamieson.
Mayor Mark Jamieson.

“Keeping the Sunshine Coast community safe, supporting local businesses and protecting local jobs has been the focus of our council’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” SCC Mayor Mark Jamieson said.

“With this in mind, our focus in developing council’s budget for 2020-2021 is very much on the needs of our community as we all start our way through the recovery process.

“On this basis, all councillors have agreed that not accepting the wage increase proposed by the commission is the right thing to do during this very difficult time,” he said.