Increase in female voices

Article image - Increase in female voices

As election results are finalised, there has been a four per cent increase in the number of female councillors elected to councils across Victoria.

Ratepayers went to the polls last Saturday and the majority of election results were confirmed today.

243 or 38.1 per cent of all councillors elected are women, up from 34 per cent in 2012.

Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) Chief Executive Officer Rob Spence said it is a good outcome for the State.

“While we’ve got a way to go to reach equal gender representation around the councillor table, this is a step in the right direction,” he said.

All of the State’s 78 councils have at least one female councillor.

Mr Spence also welcomed the large number of new councillors who have been elected.

Some council areas registered record numbers of candidates and a total of 2135 people nominated for 637 positions.

“It’s also pleasing to see some fresh faces joining council ranks with 323 new councillors elected, joining 314 re-elected councillors. A total of 152 incumbent councillors were defeated and 138 councillors retired,” said Mr Spence.

“Candidates should be proud of their efforts even if they didn’t get elected. It takes a lot of courage to put your hand up for a spot on council, and it is highly competitive.”

The MAV’s incumbent president, Bill McArthur, was not returned to his position on Golden Plains Shire Council. Mr Spence expressed his appreciation for Mr McArthur’s eight years as MAV President.

“Bill leaves a long legacy of accomplishments achieved during his time as MAV President.

“This includes the landmark signing of the Victorian State-Local Government Agreement, the establishment of MAV Procurement and Australia’s first municipal bonds, plus representing the sector at the Bushfires Royal Commission.

“Under Bill’s leadership significant funding wins for the sector were also achieved including restoration of 50:50 funding partnerships for maternal and child health services, and a fairer planning fees regime.

“Other notable wins for local government included Bill’s role working at the national level as Vice President of the Australian Local Government Association to help secure double Roads to Recovery funding from the Commonwealth over several years, plus an ongoing commitment to continue funding for local roads.”