This morning I was invited to speak in support of my submission to the Councillor Remuneration Review in front of a panel consisting of Joanne Anderson, Bruce Mildenhall and Liz Roadley.
My presentation covered a number of issues largely unique to younger people within local government, including the need to juggle work and council commitments. While these commitments are not exclusive to younger people, the effects are often more prominent for younger age groups, who are often at the beginnings of their career and family lives.
Currently Victoria’s councils are on a three tired system providing up to $12,000, $15,000 or $18,000 per annum for councillors. Currently Councillors elected within the City of Maroondah receive $15,000 per annum.
As outlined in my submission, I spoke in favour of higher remuneration to make it easier for younger people to be able to participate in local government and therefore increase youth participation with our communities.
While it would be wrong to entice candidates into council simply due to the remuneration, it is clear that the current rate of remuneration is a factor that is deterring youth participation within local government. Younger people are significantly under-represented in local government with just 7.8% of councillors aged under 35, despite the fact that one quarter of Victoria’s population is within this age group.
I also spoke strongly in support for the need of compulsory training for councillors. I believe that compulsory training would deter non-genuine candidates from seeking election and would ensure a higher standard of expertise for elected councillors. While training is not explicitly within the scope of the review, it is critical that the issue of training is explored.
The recommendations of the panel are due to be reported to the Minister for Local Government by the 30th of November.