New drive to get women to run for council welcomed

Women have a lot to offer their communities by getting involved in their councils, and NSW’s peak body for local government is encouraging them to start thinking about it in preparation for 2021 elections.

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said women made up around half the electorate, but currently represent less than a third of all councillors and mayors across the State’s 128 councils.

Cr Scott is featured with a number of councillors, mayors and Government Ministers in a series of videos as part of today’s launch of a NSW Government campaign to inspire and encourage women in NSW to run as candidates in the 2021 local government elections.

“NSW continues to lag other States in Australia when it comes to females in local government at about 31 per cent, while most other states are closer to 40 per cent,” Cr Scott said.

“Government at all levels should reflect the communities they represent, and the number of women in NSW councils tells us we have a long way to go.

“Which is why LGNSW welcomes this new State Government initiative as part of efforts to address this. We have also been working hard on behalf of councils to improve the situation.

“In March this year we hosted an International Women’s Day luncheon with legendary Australian media trailblazer Ita Buttrose, who spoke about the importance of women being involved in local leadership.

“Some women don’t get involved in council because of demanding workloads they already have and a lack of appropriate financial compensation to make it viable. LGNSW has been calling on the NSW Government to introduce reforms that would provide superannuation for councillors.”

Cr Scott, who has been a City of Sydney councillor for eight years, said the issue had to be addressed because women had a lot to offer their communities.

Plus, being a councillor could be a personally rewarding experience.

“I first ran for council because I wanted to make sure my local community continued to be a wonderful place to live. I have two sons and I wanted them to grow up in a place that had lots of facilities and parks,” Cr Scott said.

“I also wanted a council that acted on global issues like climate change as well as local issues such as ensuring people had an affordable place to live.

“It’s been rewarding to be part of council and make a difference and I hope this new campaign will encourage other women to get involved.

“There’s no doubt there is a challenging workload, but there is also a tremendous support base available and the knowledge of making a substantial difference to the community is incredibly rewarding.

“You are also joining an amazing line-up of women in local and State Government across NSW.”

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