Constituency Question: Local Government
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke) — My constituency question is to the Minister for Local Government. Can the minister inform me about measures the government is taking to help increase female participation in local government? Women comprise over 50 per cent of the Victorian population, yet they are significantly under‑represented in the Victorian local government sector, with less than 35 per cent of councillors and only 16 per cent of chief executive officers being female.
When I was elected to Hume City Council in 2008, three of the nine councillors were female. In 2012 that became three women out of 11 positions, dropping from 33 per cent to 27 per cent. It is important that this council and many others encourage increased female participation. I know this issue is very important to the minister, and I look forward to hearing about measures being taken to assist in increasing female participation in this important sector.
The Andrews Labor Government will champion greater gender equity and increased diversity across Victoria’s local councils.
While the number of women in leadership roles within local government is slowly growing, women are still under-represented. 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. Currently women make up 39 per cent (30) of all Mayors, 35 per cent (217) of all councillors and 18 per cent (14) of all chief executive officers.
The Labor Government will continue to encourage diversity at the next general council elections in October 2016 and to assist this, I recently 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.
In addition, I announced a $5000 contribution to a scholarship for a female Director to participate in LGPro’s Executive Leadership Program, and a further $20,000 grant for the Australian Local Government Women’s Association to assist in establishing a structured mentoring program for all women in the local government sector, training for women as mentors and a web platform to promote mentoring opportunities.
HON NATALIE HUTCHINS MP
Minister for Local Government