The Office of Local Government has issued a discussion paper to seek the views of councils and their local communities on whether councillors should receive superannuation payments.
Under the Commonwealth Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1993, councils across Australia are not required to make superannuation contributions in relation to the fees they pay to mayors and councillors. This is because mayors and councillors are elected to a civic office in a council and are not employees of the council.
The release of the discussion paper has been prompted by concerns raised within the local government sector that the ineligibility of councillors to receive superannuation payments is inequitable and is a deterrent to more women and younger people standing as candidates at council elections.
The discussion paper seeks the views of councils and others on the following four options:
- maintaining the status quo – mayors and councillors can continue to voluntarily contribute a portion of their fees to a complying superannuation fund of their choice
- mandate the current voluntary situation – amend the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) to make it compulsory for councils to pay a portion of the mayors’ and councillors’ fees equivalent to the superannuation guarantee amount into a complying superannuation fund nominated by the mayor and councillor
- amend the Act to allow councils to voluntarily pay an amount equivalent to the superannuation guarantee into a complying superannuation fund nominated by the mayor and councillors in addition to the mayor’s and councillors’ fees – this means that the payment of councillor superannuation in addition to their fee would be at each council’s discretion, allowing the council to take into account the council’s resources and the local community’s views, or
- amend the Act to make it compulsory for councils to pay an amount equivalent to the superannuation guarantee into a complying superannuation fund nominated by the mayor and councillors in addition to the mayor’s and councillors’ fees.
Submissions may be made to firstname.lastname@example.org, labelled ‘Councillor Superannuation Consultation’ and marked to the attention of OLG’s Council Governance Team.
Submissions should be made before COB Friday 7 August 2020.