TWO Orange councillors, one old and one new, have come out swinging in response to social media discontent about the number of Orange delegates at the National General Assembly in Canberra this week.
The NGA, run by the Australian Association of Local Government, is the largest local government conferences in Australia and this year was attended by over 900 mayors, councillors and CEOs for its three-day duration.
In light of the changing of the guard on Orange council, which welcomed eight new faces at last year's LGA election, it was decided in April to send six delegates to the NGA.
New councillors David Mallard, Tammy Greenhalgh and Mel McDonell attended along with Jeff Whitton, Kevin Duffy and mayor Jason Hamling.
Cost per councillor to attend in person was $989.
OCC has a budget of $60,000 per annum to enable councillors to attend various conferences. This covers travel and accommodation as well as fees.
Cr Mallard, in his first term, said the experience had been invaluable.
"The fact is we're absorbing a whole heap of information while we're down here and getting some really useful stuff," Cr Mallard said.
Cr Duffy said at some stage, there would be another changing of the guard on the 12-person Orange council.
"We've only got four experienced councillors on council so the other councillors need to go out and find their footing and understand their role in local government, and with state and federal government."
One of the ALGA goals from the last national assembly was establishing a local government voice in cabinet and it was announced Cabinet Minister Catherine King will take on the role supported by former Bega Valley Shire Mayor Minister Kristy McBain.
Cr Duffy also defended a recommendation for Thursday's council meeting to adopt a payrise for councillors, who will have their allowance set at $25,310 with the mayor's allowance $65,510 for the coming financial year.
The recommendation states this is the maximum allowance for Regional Centre Councils as determined by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal on April 20 2022.
"It's only natural. The previous council voted to give the councillors a payrise, as did every other council across virtually Australia," Dr Duffy said.
"It's only a token, if you walk up to any mayor or experienced councillors, for the amount of time you spend on council issues, it doesn't near cover your time.
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