Promoting parity at the leadership level - Presidentís comment
As a woman councillor representing the issues of regional and rural councils, it was a great honour to accept the position of President of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA), especially now when gender parity in all areas of life is being highlighted.
For many years the VLGA has worked to increase the number of women standing for the Victorian local government elections – gender equity in leadership is a fundamental element of challenging stereotypes, a critical step in preventing violence against women.
Communities in our state are ready for more gender equity in leadership. This was demonstrated at the last Victorian local government elections where the greatest number (ever) of women councillors were elected – 38 per cent, which is the highest proportion in Australia. But, as always, we have a way to go – there are too many wards and electorates with no gender balance.
In the continuing campaign to prevent violence against women, the VLGA will provide targeted assistance to councils and communities in the lead up to the 2020 elections to ensure greater diversity and gender equity.
Seventy of Victoria’s 79 councils have adopted the Local Government Women’s Charter, which supports the principles of gender equity, civic participation, diversity and inclusion. The VLGA is currently working with interested councils to reactivate support and action around the Charter.
This project is funded under the State Government’s Community Primary Prevention Partnerships program and recognises the importance of gender equity and women in leadership roles as part of the campaign to prevent violence against women.
With many other issues facing local government, including rate capping, the review of the Local Government Act and the amendment to the Valuation and Land Tax Bill, the VLGA as an independent voice to government and industry is well placed to advocate, at any time on all issues to ensure our members and the communities they represent are heard and fully informed.
I would also like to highlight our premier forum series Leading the Agenda which is held on the third Thursday of every month, sponsored by Pitcher Partners IIE (International Institute of Entrepreneurship). These forums bring together experts and thinkers in a Q&A style program for the local government sector and broader community. Topics covered to date include integrity, gender parity, federalism and aged care reform all of which have a bearing on ourwork in local government.
Next year there will be deliberative discussions on ‘affordable housing’, regional, rural and metro partnerships and, being a Victorian State Parliament election year, we will be asking both the government and opposition to talk about their policies for local government.
I am looking forward to a new year of collaboration and strong partnerships working with my fellow directors, Kathryn Arndt our CEO and the VLGA staff to position the VLGA at the forefront of governance for our sector and the wider community, the state and nationally.