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Pensioner shuns salary: Vote for me, I’ll work for free

VOTE ONE: Division nine resident Gary Smith is running for the Fraser Coast Regional Council but doesn’t want to be paid for his work.
VOTE ONE: Division nine resident Gary Smith is running for the Fraser Coast Regional Council but doesn’t want to be paid for his work. Alistair Brightman

A CANDIDATE for next year's council elections has pledged to refuse the $82,000 councillor salary and work for free to represent pensioners if he's elected.

The 71-year-old Scarness man has thrown his hat in to the 2016 local government elections, taking on former Deputy Mayor Stuart Taylor in division nine.

Gary Smith, a former private investigator and finance worker, claims he couldn't "honestly be a representative" of the older members of the community if he was earning more than them and not facing the same financial pressures.

A member of the newly formed Mature Age Party, which focuses on seniors, Mr Smith has pledged to only claim out-of-pocket expenses while continuing to receive his pension.

Mr Smith decided to run because he believes he's well known in the community.

He believes shunning the salary would allow him to understand how difficult some pensioners found it to financially cope.

"How can I stand for representation for pensioners if I'm accepting $100,000 a year?" he said.

"I don't know the legal ramifications on that at the moment but I'd like to have the money put into the ward (division) fund."

COMMENT: Pay packet not so big at hourly rate

The maximum aged pension is $648.40 for couples and $860.20 for singles per fortnight.

One of Mr Smith's first policy initiatives is to abandon pet registration fees for pensioners.

He said the elderly benefited from having a pet as a companion.

Mr Smith joins the race for division nine against mother-of-two Krissie Miller and Cr Taylor.

The next council elections will be held on March 19, 2016 leaving about 9½ months until polling day.

THEIR ANNUAL PAY

From July 1, 2015

Mayor $142,769

Councillor $82,655

Deputy Mayor $93,927

Councillors also have access to a car and a mobile phone

Topics:  editors picks, election, fraser coast council, salary



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