Council bosses already paid more than Premier Mark McGowan could see their salaries swell by thousands of dollars, flying in the face of the State Government’s pay freeze policy.
The Salaries and Allowances Tribunal decision to allow a one per cent pay increase means local government chief executives could pocket an extra $3800 a year and mayors about $1400.
The wages hike comes despite the State Government passing laws to freeze the salaries of MPs and senior bureaucrats for four years.
The complexity of legislation meant the measure could not be extended to councils.
However, Mr McGowan made his expectations clear that everyone in the public sector should tighten their belts.
A spokeswoman for the Premier said yesterday that the SAT decision was “not ideal”.
“The whole public sector needs to send the right message, particularly those on a higher remuneration like CEOs,” she said.
“This decision by SAT is not ideal given our economy is continuing to recover — that’s why the McGowan Government imposed a four-year pay freeze on politicians.”
Though the tribunal was not bound to impose the freeze on local government, it had done so for the past two years — until now.
The SAT determination said the increase would not be automatic and would come down to the discretion of individual councils.
Shadow local government minister Tony Krsticevic said the pay increases were inappropriate.
There are 23 councils graded as “band one”, which means their councillors and chief executives are eligible for the highest wages available in the sector.
Mayors could earn as much as $137,269 under the pay increase and chief executives $379,532 under the maximum SAT allowances.
Three chief executives — from the cities of Stirling, Cockburn and Wanneroo — receive preserved salaries and can earn more than the mandated maximums.
Mr McGowan earns just over $355,000 a year.