Women in Local Government – Ministerial Response

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Original adjournment matter from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

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.


Response from the Hon. Shaun Leane MP, Minister for Local Government (25th June 2021) – 

Thank you for your question Ms Addison. It is a pleasure to have yourself and Kat Theophanous MP co-chairing the Gender Equality Advisory Committee which was announced in February 2021.

The $1.8 million allocated in the 2021-22 Victorian Budget for Leadership for Women in Local Government will be used to deliver a Community Leadership Program.

The program will be developed by the Gender Equality Advisory Committee and will provide 120 women across Victoria with leadership training opportunities.  This will ensure that women are encouraged and supported to run for council and represent their communities at the next council elections in 2024.

Since 2014, the Victorian Government has partnered with a range of peak bodies and advocacy groups to advance Victoria’s position as the leading jurisdiction in local government gender equality and diversity.

This has included investment in the lead up to the 2020 council elections to support a range of programs including the Victorian Local Governance Association’s Your Community, Country and Council campaign and Local Women Leading Change program.

The Victorian Government also engaged social impact marketing firm Ellis Jones to encourage and support more women to stand for election through their It’s Our Time campaign.

This year, the Victorian Government has also provided $41,000 to the Australian Local Government Women’s Association Victorian Branch to run a mentoring program for new women councillors.

The program provides mentoring support to 60 new women councillors as well as training to experienced past and present women councillors so they can become mentors.