Mayor backs cam­paign to boost coun­cil di­ver­sity

Mansfield Courier - - NEWS -

MANS­FIELD Shire mayor and Vic­to­rian Lo­cal Gov­er­nance As­so­ci­a­tion vice pres­i­dent, Marg At­t­ley, is de­lighted with a State Gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tive to cham­pion greater gen­der eq­uity and in­creased di­ver­sity across Vic­to­ria’s lo­cal coun­cils.

Last week, Min­is­ter for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Natalie Hutchins an­nounced $50,000 in fund­ing for the Vic­to­rian Lo­cal Gov­er­nance As­so­ci­a­tion’s (VLGA) GoWomenLG 2016 pro­ject, which aims to in­crease the num­ber of fe­male can­di­dates across the state.

The fund­ing will build on ex­ist­ing work and fo­cuses on en­cour­ag­ing women from Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­land and cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally di­verse (CALD) back­grounds to con­sider nom­i­nat­ing as can­di­dates at the next elec­tion.

The 2012 coun­cil elec­tions saw a record num­ber of women can­di­dates and a fe­male coun­cil­lor on ev­ery one of Vic­to­ria’s 79 coun­cils for the first time.

Ms Hutchins con­firmed that while the num­ber of women in lead­er­ship roles within lo­cal gov­ern­ment was slowly grow­ing, women were still un­der­rep­re­sented.

Cur­rently 39 per cent (30) of all may­ors are women, 35 per cent (217) are coun­cil­lors and 18 per cent are chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cers (14).

“Our coun­cils are most ef­fec­tive when they re­flect the com­mu­ni­ties they serve,” Ms Hutchins said.

“That’s why we are in­vest­ing in men­tor­ing women, and those of Abo­rig­i­nal and cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally di­verse back­grounds.

“The cur­rent co­hort of fe­male coun­cil­lors have paved the way.

“We want coun­cils to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mu­ni­ties they rep­re­sent, so we need more women from all types of back­grounds to stand up in Oc­to­ber 2016,” she added.

“Our lo­cal democ­racy is en­riched by the par­tic­i­pa­tion of peo­ple from won­der­fully di­verse cul­tures and back­grounds,” Cr At­t­ley said.

“It’s im­por­tant that women, par­tic­u­larly those from Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­land and cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally di­verse back­grounds, are en­cour­aged and sup­ported to put their hand up to rep­re­sent their com­mu­nity.

“This ad­di­tional fund­ing will al­low the VLGA to build on its suc­cess­ful history of sup­port­ing women in lo­cal gov­ern­ment.”

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