Victoria has hit a new milestone after the recent 2020 council elections saw women represent a total of 43.8% of all councillors in the state, according to the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
MAV on Friday said it was “thrilled” that the elections have led to an increase in the diversity of councillors across the state.
It noted that this year six elected councillors identify as having Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, and at least 28 openly LGBTIQ+ candidates have been elected to 20 local councils across the state — up from just 11 candidates at the 2016 elections. According to Star Observer, Moreland and Yarra city councils alone elected four LGBTQI+ councillors each.
In Yarra City Council, Anab Mohamud became the very first Sub-Saharan African to be elected in Victorian local government, while Greg James became the first Indigenous person to be elected to the Greater Shepparton City Council.
Victoria currently leads the country in terms of the proportion of female councillors, representing a total of 43.8% of councillors. The state’s previous high was 38%. And, as ABC News recently reported, both Alpine Shire Council and Strathbogie Shire Council have elected a female majority for the first time.
MAV CEO Kerry Thompson said the election results show that Victorians recognise the importance of having representatives who reflect the diversity of their communities.
“In a challenging year, it is a credit to all Victorians that there is such a significant increase in the diversity of successful candidates. Local government will be at the forefront of the social and economic recovery from COVID-19 so it is important that we have councillors who understand the different challenges and opportunities within their municipalities,” she said.
“With around 50% of successful candidates new councillors and the other 50% re-elected, we should see a good balance of fresh ideas and steady hands. As the peak body for local government in Victoria, we look forward to working with and supporting our 79 member councils in what is sure to be a big four years ahead.”
The positive election results follow a state government campaign which encouraged more women to stand for the elections.