The Local Government Act 1989 (LGA) contains specific provisions regarding the engagement of Senior Officers by Victorian local government. A Senior Officer is an employee who:
- Is the CEO; or
- Has management responsibilities and reports directly to the CEO; or
- Is a member of Council staff who earns total remuneration exceeding the Senior Officer remuneration threshold.
Following the lapse of the Local Government Bill 2018, the Victorian government has reintroduced the Local Government Bill 2019 (2019 Bill). The 2019 Bill, like the previous 2018 Bill, reveals an intention on the part of the Victorian government to modernise the LGA and relevantly to remove the complexity around the engagement of Senior Officers in local government.
For now local government employers must still comply with the restrictions/requirements concerning Senior Officers, and also take note that the Senior Officer remuneration threshold was increased in January 2020.
Senior Officer Remuneration Threshold
Each year, the Senior Officer remuneration threshold is reviewed and increased by the relevant Minister which is then published in the Victorian Government Gazette.
This year, the threshold has increased to $151,000 per annum (from $148,000). This change took effect on 1 January 2020.
Progress of the Local Government Bill 2019
The 2019 Bill has been introduced and passed second reading in November 2019. The Bill will be tabled before Parliament again in March 2020. If passed, the Bill will be gradually phased in by a date to be proclaimed, but no later than 1 July 2020 through to December 2021.
As such, local government employers should continue to meet the existing obligations around the engagement of Senior Officers until such a time as the Bill is passed.