Women showing leadership and breaking down barriers in local government have been congratulated by the sector following their recognition at the 12th annual NSW Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government, held in Sydney.
NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock handed out 22 awards and commendations to high-achieving women in local government, which included elected officials as well as council staff.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott, who served on the Government’s judging panel, said 29.5 per cent of all elected councillors in NSW were women, a slight increase on the 2012 figure of 27 per cent.
“Women have always made a massive contribution to their communities, and more and more are taking up the challenge in the local government sphere,” she said.
“Currently, only 14 per cent of NSW’s 128 councils have female general managers, and just 29 per cent are represented by female mayors.
“The number of women contesting the most recent NSW local government elections actually declined, and that’s not good enough.
“While the gender balance for local government staff is better, there is still a way to go in many areas before the local government sector reflects the broader population.”
Clr Scott said Minister Hancock had made it clear that she was strongly committed to the encouragement, empowerment and support of women in local government.
“I welcome the Local Government Minister’s commitment to work with local governments to help dismantle entrenched barriers, stereotypes and assumptions that impede women’s ability to play a central role in public life,” she said.
“The 2019 theme for International Women’s Day was Balance for Better, and those three simple words really encapsulate the goal both the Minister and I share.
“I am very much looking forward to working with her to examine ways to increase the number of women standing for, and elected to, local councils, or taking up staff leadership positions in local government.”
Local government women recognised in the State Government awards included elected representatives Clr Susan Price OAM (Moree Plains Shire Council), and Clr Phyllis Miller OAM (Forbes Shire Council), Clr Wendy Waller (Liverpool City Council), Clr Roslyn Harrison (Northern Beaches Council), and Clr Reena Jethi (The Hills Shire Council).
General Managers and Senior Staff included Morven Cameron (Lake Macquarie City Council), Melissa Boxall (Shellharbour City Council), Simone Plummer (Sutherland Shire Council), and Therese Manns (Randwick City Council).