More Victorian women will be encouraged and supported to stand for local government at the 2012 local council elections through a new Brumby Labor Government project.
Minister for Women’s Affairs Maxine Morand today announced $200,000 would be provided for the three-year project which would be led by the Victorian Local Government Association (VLGA).
“If we are serious about increasing female representation in local government, we must actively encourage and support more women to run as candidates for local council elections,” Ms Morand said.
Ms Morand said statistics continued to show low levels of female councillors.
“Only 29.5 per cent of the current 620 elected council representatives are women. There are no female representatives in six councils and only one female councillor on 14 councils,” she said.
Ms Morand said that in the last council elections in 2008, 25 per cent of wards had no female candidates, an increase from 21 per cent in 2005.
“This decline exacerbated a situation in which women were already under-represented on local councils and we clearly need to do something about this before the 2012 elections,” she said.
“Our new partnership project aims to increase the number of wards where women stand from 75 per cent to 90 per cent, in an attempt to reverse the under-representation of women.
“Through this new project there will be dedicated information sessions, workshops, resources and mentoring to raise women’s awareness of local government candidacy to encourage women to stand in all wards in the lead up to the 2012 elections.”
Minister for Local Government Richard Wynne said the new funding complemented a $20,000 grant announced in July for the peak body for Local Government professionals, LGPro, to run a scholarship program to help women working in smaller councils with limited resources to participate in LG Pro’s executive leadership program.
“I am really proud Victoria is taking the lead and investing in programs to foster improved participation and representation of women working in local government as both staff and as elected representatives,” he said.
“This new project provides an important step in increasing women’s participation in local government and I encourage more women to consider running as candidates for the 2012 elections.”
For further information about the project to increase women’s representation in local government, contact Maree McPherson at VLGA - (03) 9349 7904.