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Byron Shire
May 24, 2024

Byron: pay rise likely for mayor and councillors

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A successful request by Byron Shire Council to reclassify itself from ‘Regional Rural’ to ‘Regional Centre’ may well pave the way for an increase in pay for councillors and the mayor.

All councillors have to do is vote for their own pay rise.

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal determines pay rates, and according to its April 2022 report, the maximum pay for a councillor in a Regional Rural Council (currently Byron Shire Council)is $21,100 pa, while the mayor can receive up to $46,040 pa. 

Extra perks 

Yet there are perks, benefits and extra allowances available. 

For example, a councillor who is a member of water utility Rous County Council can earn an extra $10,550 pa, while the mayor can receive an extra $17,330 pa as a member of Rous.

Both Mayor Michael Lyon and councillor Sarah Ndiaye are Rous County Council members.

The maximum a councillor can receive under the Regional Centre category is $25,310 pa, while the mayor can earn up to $62,510 pa.

According to the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal – Determination 2023 document, the tribunal received four requests for recategorisation: Liverpool, Byron, Tweed and Burwood Councils. 

Reaching the population threshold

Byron Shire Council’s argument for the reclassification was that ‘based on ABS 2021 census data, with a population of 36,077, it is on the cusp of reaching the population threshold of 40,000 residents’. 

It reads, ‘Council believes they meet several other additional criteria that supports their case for reclassification. Council’s request is based on the following grounds: Non-resident population of 4,817 travel from surrounding locations to work in the LGA; A population growth increase of 7.2 per cent over the last five years, which is above the state increase of 5.3 per cent; Proximity to Gold Coast and Ballina-Byron airports; Byron being home to internationally renowned hinterland region; Byron being home to a large number of festivals and events.’ 

The tribunal say that Tweed Shire Council will be reclassified to ‘Regional Strategic Area’.

The pay for executive council staff is pegged considerably higher; general managers can earn well over $200,000, depending on the size of the council.  

In an email to councillors on May 10, Council staff member Esmeralda Davis said that the recategorisation was made, in part, owing to the criteria for Regional Centre being amended to include non-resident population. 

‘This places Council in the same category as Ballina and Lismore’, she said.

Non-resident pop included in criteria

She wrote, ‘The Tribunal determined a three per cent per annum increase in the minimum and maximum fees applicable to each category, effective July 1, 2023.’

From July, Byron Shire Council will be reclassified to Regional Centre and a new fee range will apply.

‘As in previous years, a formal report to Council will seek resolution on the fees payable to councillors and the mayor for 2023–24, and these will be included in the adopted budget’.

The next Council election is scheduled for September, 2024.

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  1. Surely in these extremely tough economic/social/climate times the Councillors would not make this change for self enrichment when so many folk are barely existing on Struggle street!

    • A Byron Barista earns more than the Byron Mayor.

      Being Mayor in Byron is a full time job that includes free advice from The Echo.

      You are being facetious, methinks!


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