Increase to senior officer remuneration threshold
Changes to the threshold took effect on 1 January 2018
A senior officer is defined in s3 of the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) (LG Act) to mean:
- the CEO
- a member of Council staff who has management responsibilities and reports directly to the CEO
- any other member of Council staff whose total remuneration exceeds $124,000 or a higher threshold specified (as at 1 January 2018 this is now $145,000).
What does this mean for Councils?
The increase does not affect the ongoing validity of existing senior officer contracts (for example, a senior officer who earns $143,000).
The increase means that as at 1 January 2018, employees whose remuneration increases but is still at or below $145,000 (rather than $142,000) are not senior officers, unless they are the CEO or a member of Council staff who has management responsibilities and reports directly to the CEO.
Senior officer contracts: Navitas
Given that the LG Act currently requires Councils to engage senior officers under maximum term contracts in most circumstances, we urge Councils to read our article from late last year considering the implications of the recent Full Bench decision in Saeid Khayam v Navitas English Pty Ltd t/a Navitas English  FWCFB 5162, which affects the legal principles underpinning the use of maximum term contracts.
Local Government Bill
Finally, we note that on 12 December 2017 the Victorian Government released an exposure draft of the Local Government Bill (Draft Bill), which it proposes will replace the LG Act. Feedback is now being sought on the operation of the Draft Bill before it is introduced into Parliament.
Amongst other proposed changes, the Draft Bill does not contain any provisions relating to senior officers, and therefore if the Draft Bill is introduced and passed in its current form, ‘senior officers’ will cease to exist as a category of local government employees and the remuneration threshold increase will cease to be relevant.
If you would like us to assist you with issues relating to your senior officer contracts, please contact a member of our Employment, Safety and People team.
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