Tas leaders target women for local government

By Staff Writer

State and local leaders in Tasmania have linked up to increase the number of women represented in the third tier of government.

Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett joined Local Government Association of Tasmania President Mike Gaffney, to unveil a new program to increase the number of women standing at the 2009 Tasmanian local government elections.

The program was launched at a meeting of the Premier’s Local Government Council (PLGC) in Hobart.

Bartlett said the state needed to address the low representation of women in local government.

Only 23.7 per cent of Tasmanian councillors are women.

“I think we need to do what we can to increase that number,” Bartlett said.

LGAT President Mike Gaffney welcomed the appointment of Southern Midlands Mayor Deidre Flint and Devonport Mayor Lynn Laycock as champions for the campaign.

Cr Flint said that the campaign was vital to increase the diversity in councils, but also councils’ capacity to serve their communities.

“We need to maximise the talent that is available to local government across the State,” she said.

Bartlett said the meeting was also an opportunity to celebrate a new era in the State Government’s highly successful partnership agreements program.

“Partnerships have served this Government well over the past 10 years in forging a strong relationship with local government and delivering outcomes that meet the needs of local communities.

“New partnerships will be more flexible, more responsive and more outcome-focussed but continue to promote intergovernmental collaboration that is the norm in Tasmania, and the envy of other states.”

Bartlett said that increasing women representation and the partnership agreement program were both important to good governance in Tasmania.

“I look forward to working with local government to deliver these programs that will make an important contribution to a vibrant and truly representative local government sector.”

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