17 May 2021

Two workshops to encourage Snowy women to run for council

| Katrina Condie
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More women are being encouraged to stand for Local Government

More women are being encouraged to stand for local government at the September election. Photo: Office of Local Government.

Two of the region’s former and current councillors are encouraging more women to stand for their community at the next local government election.

Federal Member for Eden-Monaro and Bega Valley Councillor Kristy McBain and former Cooma-Monaro Councillor and now Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor, have been enlisted as ambassadors for Australian Local Government Women’s Association NSW, revealing how they overcame real-life challenges such as balancing family and work commitments.

The association and both the Snowy Monaro Regional Council and Snowy Valleys Council will host free forums to encourage and help guide local women through the process of nominating and running for election to council, and to support them if they choose to run.

With the next local government elections in NSW scheduled for Saturday 4 September 2021, the ALGWA’s “Getting Women Elected Forum” to be held at The Snow Mountains Traveller’s Rest, Cooma on Saturday 29 May and the Batlow RSL Club on 30 May, provides an opportunity for local women who want to make a difference in their community to learn how to get involved.

Snowy Monaro Mayor Peter Beer said female representation is important in politics.

“Councils in our region have lagged behind much of the rest of the country in electing, or even running, female candidates in our local government elections,” Cr Beer said.

“To any women in the Snowy Monaro who have ever considered politics, I strongly encourage them to attend this important forum.”

Less than a third of councillors across NSW are women which means the state has the second lowest female representation in local government in Australia.

READ ALSO Cooma’s new Recovery Hub helping community get back on its feet

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock is encouraging women to put their hands up and says the NSW Government is set to scrap a number of outdated meeting practice policies as part of a plan to increase diversity including female representation.

She said under the proposed changes, councillors with carer and work responsibilities will be permitted to attend council meetings virtually as well as have carer costs covered.

“For too long we have had a local government system whereby women have faced a number of barriers from participating,” Mrs Hancock said.

“I have heard loud and clear that we need to bring a number of meeting practices into the 21st century, which is why we’re looking to extend the use of remote meeting attendance and mandating the reimbursement of carer expenses, including childcare.

“By making these changes, funding a campaign to encourage more women to stand for election and rolling out statewide candidate workshops, it’s my hope we shift the dial towards a more diverse local government sector at this September’s council elections.”

Under the plan, a council could permit a councillor to participate in council or committee meetings by audio-visual link if they can’t attend in person because of carer responsibilities, ill health, disability or natural disaster.

Both Australian Local Government Women’s Association NSW forums will be held from 9 am until noon, with more information and bookings via the Snowy Monaro Council website or the Snowy Valleys Council website.

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