Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell last night addressed a gathering of newly elected and returning local government Councillors gathered at a function organised by the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA).
“The election of 300 new councillors to the 78 councils that went to the polls marks the beginning of a new chapter in local government in Victoria,” Mrs Powell said.
“It was encouraging that a healthy percentage of those present last night were newly elected Councillors who were eager to explore what the job entails and how they can best serve their community.
“The wide ranging discussion dealt with many of the responsibilities, obligations and challenges that local Councillors face and I encouraged the new Councillors to seek guidance from both their council officers and more experienced colleagues,” Mrs Powell said.
“Councillors take an oath to act in the best interests of the people they’re elected to represent. They are required by law to provide governance and leadership for local communities through advocacy, decision making and action.
“Pending two recounts, one in the North-East Ward of Moreland City Council and the other in the Springfield Ward of Casey City Council, the election of 631 councillors has now been confirmed,” Mrs Powell said.
“Of the 78 Mayors previously in office, 46 have been re-elected, 16 have been defeated and 16 did not renominate.
“This year saw the first direct election of a Mayor for Greater Geelong City Council and I congratulate Councillor Keith Fagg on his success in Geelong and Councillor Robert Doyle on his return as Lord Mayor of Melbourne City Council.
“In terms of Councillors, 300 of the 631 vacancies have been filled by newly-elected Councillors (47.5 per cent), down slightly from the 49 per cent at the 2008 elections,” Mrs Powell said.
“It is also pleasing to see that 214 of the total vacancies have been filled by females (33.9 per cent of the total), which compares favourably with the 29.8 per cent at the 2008 elections.
“This outcome indicates the success of the Victorian Local Governance Association’s Think Women for Local Government 2012 project.”
The Victorian Coalition Government provided $200 000 for the Think Women project, and committed $20 000 to support women participating in the Local Government Professionals Association’s Executive Leadership program.
Having launched the Think Women project in September of 2011, Mrs Powell was joined by Minister for Women's Affairs Mary Wooldridge at Parliament House as part of a campaign event in June this year to urge women to consider nominating themselves for council elections in 2012.
“Voters have now increased the number of female Councillors in 35 of the 78 councils that went to the elections,” Mrs Powell said.
“Female Councillors in Hindmarsh went from zero to three councillors while Cardinia went from zero to four out of its nine councillors.
“On top of that, ten councils now have a majority of female Councillors including Hobsons Bay, Manningham, Maroondah, Melton, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Queenscliffe and Surf Coast,” Mrs Powell said.
For more information and updates on the results of the 2012 local government elections, visit the VEC website at www.vec.vic.gov.au