MEDIA RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION
Thursday, 30 August 2007
Youth in councils – a critical situation
In an individual submission issued over councillor remuneration, Cr. Alex Makin has highlighted the lack of youth participation in local government and called for higher councillor allowances to ensure more representative local councils.
“The call for higher councillor allowances must not be seen as a grab for cash. While it is true that I am calling for higher allowances, I am doing so to ensure a greater level of commitment and a healthier balance for both councillors and the community,” Cr. Makin said.
The State Government has called for a review into councillor allowances with submissions closing the 1st of September. Currently Victoria’s councils are on a three tired system providing up to $12,000, $15,000 or $18,000 per annum for councillors. Councillors elected within the City of Maroondah receive $15,000 per annum.
“It is distressing that youth participation within councils is extremely low with just 7.8% of councillors aged under 35, despite the fact that over one quarter of our population is within this age group,” Cr. Makin said. “The current rates of remuneration are partially responsible for this, since it is extremely difficult for younger people to make a positive impression within their careers while balancing other commitments. This is contrasted against older people who generally have stable careers, assets and family, making it much easier to fulfil council duties on the current remuneration provided.”
Cr. Alex Makin has supported the rates proposed by the Municipal Association of Victoria which would provide three categories allowing up to $19,933, $24,204 or $28,475 per annum dependent on the budget capacity of the respective municipality.
“Councillors spend on average the equivalent of 20 hours per week on council duties and the allowance should reflect this commitment. While there may be some current councillors who fail to provide the necessary work, the fact is the current remuneration is deterring committed individuals and particularly our youth from stepping forward,” Cr. Makin concluded.
About Alex Makin:
Alex Makin was elected in November 2005 as the Councillor for Loughnan’s Hill ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex, currently the youngest councillor elected within the history of the City of Maroondah and just one of several councillors Victoria wide aged under 30, has a keen interest in sustainability, including public transport, planning and community engagement.
ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES: CR. ALEX MAKIN ON 0408 311 645