Push for more women in local government

A Joint Ministerial Council will be established to implement strategies aimed at increasing the number of women in local government in NSW.

Minister for Local Government Paul Lynch and Minister for Women Verity Firth will call for expressions of interest for the council next week (week of April 14).

Mr Lynch made the announcement at the recent Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) annual conference at Brighton-Le-Sands in Sydney. He told delegates a 2004 Local Government Elections Result Survey found more women were standing for election to a council in NSW.

“However, the increase is very gradual. Women make up about half of the population,” Mr Lynch said.

“Despite this, women remain significantly under-represented in elected representative positions in local government,” he said.

The 2004 Local Government Elections Result Survey found:
• the typical councillor elected to office in 2004 was male, aged 50 to 59 years;
• women made up just under one-third of candidates;
• women comprised just more than 25 per cent of councillors elected;
• historically women have been more likely to stand for election in Sydney councils – where there are fewer councillors — than in non-Sydney councils; and
• women are more likely to be elected in Sydney councils than non-Sydney councils.

Ms Firth said the Joint Ministerial Council would implement initiatives identified by two working groups comprising councillors, staff and other organisations, including the ALGWA.

An updated version of Hands up for women in council will be released shortly to encourage more women to stand at the NSW local government elections to be held on September  13, 2008.

The 2004 Local Government Elections Result Survey is available at www.dlg.nsw.gov.au

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