Councillors have agreed to freeze their allowances in recognition of the financial impact of COVID-19 on the City of Greater Geelong and the broader community.
During its meeting on Tuesday night, the Council voted unanimously to freeze councillor and mayoral allowances from 1 July until the end of the Council’s term in November and urge the next elected Council to continue an allowance freeze until 30 June 2021.
The decision comes after Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Martin Cutter requested a freeze on his salary for 12 months from 1 July.
Further, the City’s Executive Leadership Team and all Senior Officers of the organisation have been informed and have accepted that there will be no increases to salaries for the next 12 months from 1 July 2020. This decision affects about 50 City employees in senior positions.
City employees who are under the City’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) are unaffected by this decision and the City is continuing discussions with unions regarding the EA.
Mayor Stephanie Asher:
All 11 councillors understand that as leaders, we need to respect that these are very challenging financial times for our community.
Councillor Anthony Aitken, Chair, Finance portfolio:
It’s appropriate that the Council make this decision in the current environment, especially given our 2020-21 budget is headed into deficit. We are allocating as much funding as we can towards initiatives that will support the community and accelerate the region’s recovery.
We also appreciate the actions of the CEO and senior leaders, who have accepted a freeze on their salaries as well.
Since the start of the pandemic the Council has been discussing what we could do to show appropriate restraint and reflect that we understand the pain the broader community is feeling.
Several councillors have provided ideas and had input into this decision to freeze our allowances, and I’m glad we’re united as a group in believing we have a responsibility as community leaders to take this course of action.
I’m also proud we’re making this decision in unity with our CEO and senior leadership team.
The legislation says we can only request a freeze until the end of our term, but I encourage any re-elected councillors and new councillors who sit in the chamber from November to continue with the freeze in support of our community.