Cairns Non-Regional Councillors are paid based on a "tribunal", established by politicians, to ensure other politicians get pay raises like clockwork - no matter what the financial condition of the country. It's a neat scam, with everyone passing the responsibility to others, with our Mayor and council then saying "we're just doing what the tribunal has ordered".
In 2004, Cairns City councillors were paid 50% of the salary paid to a member of the Queensland Parliament. About $51,000 per year. After amalgamation, councillors were given an amalgamation loading (i.e. "gift") because of all the extra work STAFF had to do. Former Mayor Schier set a good example by rejecting automatic pay rises during her tenure. An example that no other pollie in Cairns has taken up.
Plus the usual other pollie perks - cars for some, an extra percentage for travel (does your employer pay your travel costs?), computers, mobile phones, regular phones, etc. We all know the drill. To which Council says:
- These perks are justified by the Council in their "Principals for Remuneration" statement. It says "Cairns Non-Regional Council Elected Members are called upon by the demand of their office to attend civic duties requiring a commitment on their time equivalent, or average, to at least standard working hours".
- "The Council considers that the calling of local government councillors requires, by its very nature, extensive evening and weekend work. . "
- "Cairns Non-Regional Council Elected Members are called upon by the demands of their office to attend to civic duties on up to a full-time basis"
We wonder how this squares with the voluminous reports of community meetings where this current council refuses to send anyone out to the community. Virtually all of the current DisUnity Team have been "missing in action" at community events - this includes the Mayor, who's been ordered by Mrs. Mayor not to attend any Sunday functions so that he could mow the yard.
Next time you have a Neighbourhood Watch meeting and Jessie Richardson or Greg Fennel don't appear, ask them why they're taking this level of "full time" consultation when they're not meeting the Principals of their remuneration.
The current Cairns Non-Regional Councillor is being paid over $91,000 per year - with no indication that this will be reduced as the duties are lessened with the de-amalgamation.
Have you had a 56% increase in your salary over nine years? Of course you haven't! In Cairns, the average wage has increased only 27% in this same period. It's no wonder we've got marginal car salesman, with no community experience, putting their hand up for a ratepayer job with short hours and guaranteed raises.
Other costs are going to be incurred by the Cairns ratepayer for allowing the Douglas dilettantes out of our Council (a temporary change, we're quite sure). Just the changes in signage and letterhead is going to cost a bloody fortune - costs that should be born by the Newman government.
We would advise however that all the replaced Cairns Regional Council materials be held in storage for when the ratepayers in Douglas scream "uncle".