Awards for trailblazing women in local government

City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone has been recognised as a champion of change at a local government awards ceremony.

The Minsters Awards for Women in Local Government recognise achievements in breaking down gender stereotypes, encouraging employment diversity, leadership and innovation in both regional and metropolitan categories.

Ms Barone, who is currently working with the Resilient Sydney Office to foster collaboration between metropolitan councils in facing and rebounding from crises, started working in local government after having a discussion about climate change with her young daughter.

Monica Barone

She began her career as a cultural planner before moving into a community service department and then becoming CEO.

“The most wonderful thing about working in local government is that the work is so diverse and impactful,” Ms Barone said as she accepted her award at on online ceremony on Monday.

She was among 13 nominees for the award which is open to any senior manager who has excelled in supporting women’s participation in local government.

Suzanne Richmond

Suzanne Richmond, the first general manager to be appointed at Tweed Shire Council, took out the award in the regional category.

Ms Richmond listed her proudest achievement as her contribution to the COVID-19 splinter award, which she described as a testament to the leadership and innovation of the local government sector.

Gong for longest serving female mayor

Winner of the inaugural Minister for Local Government Award and the state’s longest serving female mayor, Cobar Mayor Lilliane Brady, said she was committed to increasing the participation of women in the sector.

The award recognises a female councilor or staff member who has delivered quality outcomes in helping women in their local community.

Ms Hancock said Cr Brady’s achievements in public life over four decades in service were “too long to list”, but she was “the epitome of passionate community service, determination, commitment and strength of character”.

Cr Brady built the region’s first aged care home, established a mayoral fund for cancer support and helped the community through drought during her years in office.

 “We already have many talented and inspiring women in our 128 local councils – we need more just like them to close the gender gap and ensure our councils are representative of the communities they serve,” she said.

Recognising women in local government

Local government minister Shelley Hancock said with councils hit by bushfires, drought and COVID-19 there has never been a more important time to recognise the dedication and commitment of women in local government across the state.

“This year’s winners have shown exceptional leadership in not only serving their councils and communities but also leading the way for other women considering a rewarding career in local government,” the minister said.

Shelley Hancock

Co-presenter and former City of Sydney councilor, social advocate Kathryn Greiner said local government played an enormous role in keeping communities connected in times of crisis.

“Its’ very much the key drivers of our communities and it’s no mistake in my view that the more women who are elected to council the better council can respond to crises,” she said.

Kathryn Greiner

Full list of winners:

  • Alternative Pathways Award – Metro: Sandra Kubeka, Director of Community Assets, Camden Council
  • Alternative Pathways Award – Regional/Rural: Kim White, Local Emergency Management Officer, Shoalhaven City Council
  • Champion of Change Award – Metro: Monica Barone, Chief Executive Officer, City of Sydney
  • Champion of Change Award – Regional/Rural: Suzanne Richmond, Human Resources Manager, Tweed Shire Council
  • Elected Representative Award – Metro: Rachelle Harika, City of Canterbury Bankstown
  • Elected Representative Award – Regional/Rural: Phyllis Miller OAM, Mayor, Forbes Shire Council
  • Employment Diversity Award – Metro: City of Sydney
  • Employment Diversity Award – Regional/Rural: Wagga Wagga City Council
  • Young Achiever’s Award – Metro: Elizabeth Pirolo, Trainee, Liverpool City Council
  • Young Achiever’s Award – Regional/Rural: Annabell Hooghuis, Apprentice Nursery Officer Landcare, Lake Macquarie City Council
  • Minister for Local Government Award for Women: Lilliane Brady, Mayor, Cobar Shire Council

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