Bendigo councillors split, but $10m super shortfall will be paid

THE City of Greater Bendigo Council’s proposal to cut services to pay the $10.3 million superannuation shortfall passed at council last night, despite the motion dividing councillors.

Councillors Rod Campbell,  Peter Cox and Lisa Ruffell spoke out against the motion to defer capital works and cut operational costs to help repay the liability.

“I don’t want to see this happen ever again. If you think deferring these jobs are an answer, it’s not. This is not a sustainable proposition,” Cr Campbell said.

“If we pay the money, it’s not just going to go away.”

Cr Campbell said the council should defer paying for three months to put pressure on the state and federal governments to intervene.

He said both governments should work together to remove the need for Vision Super to be fully funded so councils were not put in a similar position in the future.

Cr Cox said it was time council “took a stand” and demanded a meeting between the Municipal Association of Victoria and Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Councillor Rod Fyffe was one of six councillors to support the proposal and described it as “responsible and prudent”. It achieved the aim to dispose of the liability at the least cost to ratepayers, he said.

The council will get a $566,230 early payment discount if it pays the money in full before September 30.

City of Greater Bendigo mayor Alec Sandner has been elected to the MAV taskforce, which meets tomorrow.

He supported the motion to pay the liability in full but said he would push for reform to remove the need for the fund to be fully funded.

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