Superannuation for councillors will encourage more people to put their hand up to serve the community, Bayside Council was told this week.
Recent legislative changes will allow councils to make superannuation payments to Councillors in NSW from 1 July, 2022.
The annual fees for Councillor allowances are currently $31,020 per Councillor and Mayoral allowance is $90,370 for period 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
The superannuation guarantee rate of 10.5 per cent as 1 July 2022 would equate to $3,260.25 per councillor, totalling $48,903.75, plus $9,488.85 for the Mayoral rate for superannuation.
The total cost to Council for the annual payment for the Mayor and Councillors superannuation at a rate of 10.5 per cent from 1 July 2022 would be approximately $58,392.60 per annum or approximately $235,000 per Council four-year term.
At the April 28 council meeting, Councillor Liz Barlow moved that the consideration of councillor superannuation payments be deferred for 12 months
"We have had 12 months of fees that haven't been collected with COVID. We have waived fees for our outdoor dining and on council owned buildings.
"It is only for 12 months. A lot of councils have deferred it," she said.
"I feel if you come onto council you don't come here for money. You come here because you love the community. So I'm just asking we defer the choice of taking superannuation."
But Cr Scott Morrisey supported the recommendation for superannuation payments, noting that councillors had a choice to opt out of payment.
"I think superannuation payment encourages a broader interest in becoming a councillor and we need to have that," he said.
Cr Ed McDougall also spoke against Cr Barlow's motion to defer any superannuation payment for a year.
Cr McDougall admitted that paying councillors was an issue that is about as popular as mud.
But he quoted former Local government Minister Shelley Hancock, 'Councillors are dedicated to their residents and communities and the opportunity to make superannuation payments will also attract more diversity incuding women and younger people to serve on their local councils.'
"Some people need that money to come and do this job," Cr McDougall said.
"We shouldn't exclude people for reasons of wealth or socio-economic status, This is something that affects disproportionately women who might be taking up a part-time job.
"It is meaningless parsimony to say let's not have this. For somebody this may be the difference between putting their hand up or not."
Cr Heidi Douglas said she has taken 10 years out of full-time work to do community work and look after her children.
"I have very minimal super. I think I have about half of what the government regulates that I should be having right now," she said.
"It's difficult to continue to make sacrifices financially in order to do work for the community. That's a choice that I made but it does impact me. It's a small amount of money for council, considering we have a $200 million budget. My super for the year would be $3,000.
"But it does make a difference to me because I am putting in a lot of time to work on council and our wages aren't wages. It 's an honorarium. It doesn't cover our hours. It's a token for the amount of work we are doing and we want to encourage more women to step up into leadership positions.
"We want people from multiple social-economic and cultural backgrounds and not just people who can afford to not be paid for this community work.
"I have to speak on behalf of women like myself who have made sacrifices already for the community but don't want to be financially penalised. I face a gender pay gap, I have a super gap. I want to keep giving back to the community. But at some point I want to retire and I don't want to retire in poverty. And that's what we are seeing more and more. Women are retiring in poverty."
Cr Barlow's motion for 12 months deferral of superannuation was lost.
The council adopted Cr Morrissey's motion which will leave it up to the individual councilors whether or not to take superannuation.
"I definitely won't be taking it," Cr Barlow said.