CITY OF Greater Bendigo councillors' allowances are going to climb despite ratepayer objections.
The council's nine elected officials are among the winners in a new decision handed down by the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal.
The increases are coming despite resistance to ratepayer groups and members of the public, which had hoped to see a statewide freeze.
Councillors in 28 local governments including Bendigo's will see their base allowances rise from $35,972 today to $38,047 by the end of 2023.
Mayors will get an even bigger windfall.
The base allowance for mayors in areas the size of Bendigo's will rise by more than $13,000 to $132,573 by the end of 2025, with extra payments arriving for deputy mayors too.
It is not bad for payments that are not technically meant to be wages.
State governments view allowances as recognition of the contributions councillors make in voluntary, part time roles.
The first mandatory allowances were $1500 and covered expenses incurred while carrying out their duties, according to reforms passed in 1982.
About 60 per cent of councillors now consider them a form of salary or wage, according to a tribunal questionnaire.
It acknowledged the increases were significant, but argued the rises would remain small compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue councils take in every year.
It said councillors' roles were increasingly demanding thanks to constituent expectations and the evolving nature of local government.
"The role is an incredible opportunity - but to do it well, I need to spend time investing in the work," one councillor told the tribunal.
"I could make it full time if I wanted to."
That councillor was not identified, though the tribunal noted they worked at one of 28 category three councils, including Bendigo's.
Many councillors and mayors said their workloads were increasing, along with the scopes of their role, the tribunal said.
One councillor said it was not possible to have a normal family life because of the late hours.
"I really try not to work on weekends as I need that time for my family and myself," they said.
More than half of the mayors who responded to the questionnaire said they spent 40 hours or more on their role every week.
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