LETTER: Fat cat wages hurting ratepayers’ hip-pockets

The anger directed toward ineffective, wasteful councils across the state of Victoria has dramatically increased in recent weeks for many reasons, though foremost is the issue of rates and charges. 

Here in Mildura, rates and charges paid by the community are exceedingly high compared to most. But why?

Has this Council simply failed to control its costs?

For example, our research indicates that between 2010 and 2018 wages have increased by some $14.33 million(about 45 per cent for that period) yet staff numbers have remained stable.

A general manager’s annual salary in 2010 was about $150,000. The same council general manager is now paid more than $260,000 reflecting an increase of almost 75 per cent for that period.

Does this indicate that management have been giving themselves disproportionately high increases?

To put this in context, a federal MP earns a base salary of $207,000.

The council has also systematically failed to complete its capital works budget, year on year, leading to potential cost overruns and loss of government grants.

These are factual reasons as to Mildura’s high rates rather than some totally unsubstantiated, vague notion that it is somehow due to the size of the municipality or the number of libraries and swimming pools. 

It must also be noted that Mildura Council receives federal and state funding to maintain roads, putting a question mark over the continual comment that this cost contributes to high rates.

A question to the mayor. How has this been allowed to happen?

Phil Douglass, 

Ratepayers Victoria Mildura branch