National awards for Local Government announced at General Assembly

Article image - National awards for Local Government announced at General Assembly Holly Cowdery winner of the Susan Grace Benny AwardóWomen in Local Government and Community.

City of Stirling, Western Australia, was announced the winner of the 2019 National Award for Excellence in Local Government at the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly gala dinner on Tuesday night.

The City’s Kaleidoscope Initiative was the overall winner as well as winner of the Multicultural Australia – Cohesive Communities category winner.

The initiative helps new migrants to become job-ready by matching them with mentors to break down barriers faced when seeking employment and linking them with professional immigrant associations.

Providing an online employment hub and a meeting place where migrants support other newcomers, Kaleidoscope reduces the risks social isolation, mental health issues and disconnect from the broader community.

The inaugural Susan Grace Benny Award—Women in Local Government and Community was awarded to Willoughby City Council, New South Wales, for the secondment and professional development of project manager Holly Cowdery who took the $10.5 million Gore Hill Park project from infancy to finalisation over two years.

The Award recognises local governments that have demonstrated a commitment to boost the participation of women in community decision making and management.

Cowdery, a landscape architect, was seconded to the role of project manager and mentored by Council’s planning and infrastructure director to develop her project management skills.

Willoughby City Council’s Mayor and General Manager, both women, said they were again proud of the acknowledgement of promoting women in local government and nurturing emerging talent.

Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney, said, “We have strong female leadership and a culture that encourages and builds talent, particularly in areas of Council that are traditionally male dominated.”

General Manager, Debra Just, said, “Holly took the project from its infancy to finalisation with professionalism and efficiency. She established excellent working relationships with stakeholders from local sporting groups, government departments and with contactors to deliver an amazing facility for our community.”

The award is sponsored by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities in partnership with the Australian Local Government Women's Association.