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LGA defends executive salary hikes

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The average remuneration for South Australian council chiefs has increased from $207,902 to $214,503 in the past year – despite the CEO salaries in some of the largest councils declining.

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The Local Government Association defends the overall increase, arguing it won’t “cut corners on experienced leadership”, but conceding it will continue to explore “efficiencies” through shared services and pooled resources.

The LGA today released their annual remuneration information – which surveys base salary, superannuation and vehicle allowances – revealing an overall increase in packages across the 68 Councils within SA.

However, the average across the seven largest councils declined by 2.04 per cent, attributed to a changing of the guard in major authorities such as Adelaide, Charles Sturt, and Marion.

New Adelaide supremo Mark Goldstone, for instance, earns a package worth $320,000 – well down on that of his predecessor Peter Smith, whose remuneration last year was $398,000.

LGA Matt Pinnegar said: “We have had some movement in our sector over the past 12 months with a number of new Chief Executives, which provides some explanation for this decline.”

He said SA is placed second lowest in terms of overall CEO remuneration across the nation, with Tasmania paying their CEOs the least, but acknowledged “this year’s increase is above the all-sectors wage price index”.

“We will continue to look at opportunities to drive efficiencies through councils pooling resources and working together on shared services, but innovative and experienced leadership isn’t where you want to cut corners,” he said.

New South Wales pays council CEOs, on average, about $80,000 more than SA.

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