Local Government Gender Equality – Adjournment
Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (19:07): My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Local Government, and the action that I seek is for the minister to provide me with an update on how the Andrews Labor government is working towards increasing the number of women in local government across Victoria.
I would like to thank the minister for today’s important budget announcement of the creation of a new women’s community leadership program and the investment of $1.8 million to fund 120 places in the program to support women aspiring to leadership positions in local government.
I was honoured to be appointed co-chair of the Gender Equality Advisory Committee with the member for Northcote, who is in the house today. GEAC brings together women from across the local government sector, and it is inspiring to see the breadth of knowledge and experiences of the members appointed.
I look forward to working with the member for Northcote towards the goal of 50 per cent women councillors and mayors in Victoria by 2025. I look forward to GEAC being an integral part in the development of the new community leadership program and seeing firsthand how the program will provide pathways and opportunities for women to become leaders, particularly in under-represented local government areas, often in the most rural and regional areas of our state.
Another goal of GEAC is the implementation of Australia’s first ever gender equality act across local government. I am very proud that the Andrews Labor government has taken this practical step towards achieving gender-equal workplaces in the public sector. The new act requires 300 public sector employers, including local councils and universities, to report on and improve gender equality in the workplace.
In the October 2020 local government elections Victoria set a national record for the number of female councillors, with 272 women elected to councils, accounting for more than 43 per cent of all councillors. I am delighted that the program’s applicants who identify as potential candidates for the November 2024 local government elections will have priority for training places in 2023–24. I am sure this program and the support and confidence it will provide women will make a significant impact on gender equality in the local government sector.
I look forward to hearing more about the excellent work of the Andrews Labor government and what we are doing to further gender equality and make our local governments fairer and more representative of our community.