Cr Sarah Ndiaye, Byron Shire Council
While it’s no surprise Mr Lovejoy’s commentary of my comments was completely out of context (I referred to Cr renumeration and conditions when addressing some of the reason Cr Coorey may not have flagged the deferral she was requesting or attending the Strategic Planning Workshop where the Residential Strategy was discussed) and yes, it was heated and I apologised – (also omitted), it is true.
I have and will continue to raise the issue of how poorly councillors in NSW are remunerated because it perpetuates power imbalances and helps to limit the representation of women and minority groups in local government.
Less than 33 per cent of local government reps in NSW are women and far, far fewer are Indigeous or reflective of the diversity in our communities. It is also important that people are paid enough money so they can have the time to do the necessary work involved.
The conditions are unjust and far below any minimum wage per hour – around 20k before tax, no super and at least 2.5 to 3 days work a week to do what is required. This means that often independently wealthy, older or retired people, predominantly men, are the ones making the decisions that impact our lives and the future – surely not something the editor supports or wants to perpetuate? Women are already more likely to retire with far less superannuation – so having none can be a disincentive.
I’m not saying Crs should receive as much as state or federal positions, and I understand there is a great level of service to the role, but I don’t think people should be disadvantaged for serving their communities or limited from having a voice because they are not wealthy.
The same role in others states is remunerated anywhere from twice to four times as much. NSW is lagging terribly.
While it’s most likely long after I’ve left Council that this will be addressed, I feel it’s important to continue to challenge this if we want a reflective, diversity of voices representing us.
Call it complaining if that’s all you can manage, but I think it’s important to speak up again injustices of all kinds, even if it makes some uncomfortable.
The Echo has always supported higher wages for councillors – it would invariably lead to improved governance and a much higher calibre of leadership than we have now.