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Park Lands Authority board set for pay rise

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Members of the new-look Adelaide Park Lands Authority could see their pay boosted by nearly 50 per cent an hour, with Adelaide City Council considering giving the advisory board its first pay rise in 12 years.

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Under the proposed increase, APLA board members would receive $76.80 per hour for attending meetings.

They would also be paid for three hours meeting preparation time, taking the average total pay to $384.00 for a two-hour meeting.

Currently, board members receive $51.50 an hour or $103 for a two hour meeting, and are not paid for preparation time.

“The review of the remuneration initiation happened in the previous term of council and is not related in any way to the new membership, just to put a line in between the two,” Council CEO Mark Goldstone told a committee meeting last night.

The discussions followed a restructure of the APLA board in March.

Under the Adelaide Park Lands Act, APLA must be comprised of 10 members.

Previously it was made up of five council members including the Lord Mayor, and five members appointed by the State Government.

But earlier this year, InDaily reported the APLA board was being reshuffled to include one Kaurna representative, two council members including the Lord Mayor, two skilled-based representatives and five members appointed by the State Government.

Area councillor Robert Simms, a former member of the APLA board, said he found the timing of the pay increase curious.

“I’ve been on APLA twice, once when I was on council previously, and most recently,” Simms said.

“And during that time, I don’t recall anyone arguing for an increase in the remuneration paid to members of the Adelaide parklands authority.”

“I too have grave concerns about extending the payments,” North Ward councillor Phillip Martin said.

“It is not a minor increase, it is a substantial one. Most notably because preparation time is included.”

Martin expressed concern that the Lord Mayor would receive APLA payments “on top of the $200, or whatever it is, thousand that the Lord Mayor earns”.

“It would seem to most people that we are being fast and loose with the treasury,” he said.

Goldstone said, to the best of his knowledge, it was not common practise for the Lord Mayor to be paid on top of her salary for a board position which was part of her role.

“It would be a sorry state of affairs if these kinds of payments mushroomed such that it became [an] attractive financial proposition for [people to run for] public office in local government, simply because there was a good pay package through various appointments,” Martin said.

“And I can also see the possibility that people with a view that they should have those appointments would make sure they got all of those paid appointments and that would be a very bad state of affairs for local government generally.”

Deputy Lord Mayor Houssam Abiad said he supported the motion, given it was APLA’s first pay rise since 2007 and was in line with the State Government Boards Committees Remuneration Framework.

“We spent $17 million on parklands,” Abiad said.

“The role of parklands authority is to give advice to council on all things parklands… [and] I’ve heard every single member of this council stand and scream out about.

“So, if we’re spending $18 thousand on top of $28 thousand to get good advice from passionate people that deserve to be compensated for their time, then I would argue that the parklands are worth it.”

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