Women leading the way at Moonee Valley

In December, Moonee Valley City Council in Melbourne’s northwest made local history when it elected two women as Mayor and Deputy Mayor – the first time two women will lead the Council.

Businesswoman and mother of three Councillor Shirley Cornish is the new Mayor. Mother of one Councillor Narelle Sharpe will support her as Deputy. Both women were unanimously elected by fellow councillors, with Councillor Cornish the third female Mayor in the past 12 years.

Councillor Cornish said she was proud to represent Moonee Valley as Mayor during 2010 – ‘The Year of Women in Local Government’ – and hopes that her appointment will inspire other females to take on a more active role in their community.

“As Mayor, my focus will be governed by three key words – economy, environment and culture,” she said. “These key words form an integral emphasis of our Council’s commitment and the vision we will collectively deliver to our community.”

Currently only 20 per cent of women hold senior management roles in the Local Government workforce nationally, and just seven per cent of chief executives or general managers are women. In a recent review, it was identified that women account for less than 30 per cent of elected officials.

Since her time with Moonee Valley City Council, Councillor Cornish has seen enormous progress.

“Since 2003 the calibre of councillors and their individual talents and commitment to public work are second to none,” she said. “Culturally, the cohesion of this Council has raised the bar for other councils to follow.”