Friday 1 August 2008

Cutting Councillor

Cairns Regional Councillor Rob Pyne announced today he was prepared to make a personal contribution to Council’s bottom line by ceasing to collect travel expenses.
  • As a Divisional Councillor I would like to provide some background to my situation and state a personal commitment to reducing Council expenditure. Following the election I did not have the option of a Council vehicle as was available to other Councillors and requested a reasonable adjustment, as available under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). This took the form of a cab-charge card.

    While the adjustment was legitimate to grant me equivalent status with other Councillors, almost 4 months after the decision was made, it is clear that the generous salary packages provide to Councillors are not regarded as ‘legitimate’ by the Cairns Community.

    There have been comments in the media about ‘greedy councilors’ voting themselves record pay increases and “$100 000.00” salary package”. To set the record straight Cr. Pyne said “My salary is $88,500, not $100,000. However, I think it is a bit rich to be provided a vehicle allowance on top of that”.

    I have asked for a review of staff vehicles and you can’t make a statement like that and not bite the bullet yourself. Surely that is what leadership is about? So no more cab-charge and I will write to the CEO informing him of my decision to cease claiming mileage from tomorrow onwards”.

    The Mayor and two Cairns Regional Councillors claiming vehicle expenses was very appropriate. Councillors Paul Gregory and Julia Lei have very large rural electorates and for them to claim vehicle expenses was “to be expected and regarded as a common sense measure to help them perform a demanding job.” The Mayor also needs a vehicle.

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