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Survey reveals councillor election motivations

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A Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) survey of successfully elected councillors has revealed the most common reasons that motivated them to stand for council and their campaigning tips for election hopefuls.

The wide-ranging survey of more than 170 current Victorian councillors has given a unique insight into the role of a councillor which could be useful for community members who are considering joining the 22 October election race.

MAV chief executive officer, Rob Spence said the top reason councillors chose to run was to benefit the community.

"Wanting to contribute to the community is a great reason to run for council because one of the main roles of a councillor is to become a voice for the community and advocate on important issues," he said.

"The second highest reason councillors nominated was because they were recognised as community leaders by their peers and were encouraged to stand, and the third reason was to rise to new challenges."

Other motivations identified in the data included a desire to increase the diversity of elected councillors, having a general interest in politics, and to get an issue fixed.

Mr Spence said it was pleasing that the majority of councillors were motivated by broad community issues rather than wanting to achieve 'quick fixes' on single issues like ensuring the longevity of one particular council service or promising lower rates to voters.

"Some candidates run with a false hope that they can fix problems in a community overnight. This is not a reality. It takes hard work, collaboration with peers and dedication to overcome obstacles faced by the council and the community," he said.

The survey also showed the top campaigning tips used by elected councillors were letterbox drops and print advertising.

"Voters need to know who you are so getting your name out in the community through pamphlet drops and advertising is beneficial. Candidates need to inform voters of why they should vote for them," Mr Spence said.

"Another campaigning tip identified in the survey was exchanging preferences with other candidates. This is not a prerequisite, but it is a political reality and it can mean the difference between being elected and not."

Mr Spence said the MAV's Candidate Information Sessions were running at councils across the state to inform prospective candidates about the role of a councillor - to ensure they know what's involved before throwing their hat in the ring.

"We encourage anyone who is thinking of becoming a council election candidate to attend a local information session or visit our Stand for Council website. Ensuring candidates have all the information is the first step in becoming a great community advocate."

View our 2016 Stand for Council survey data (PDF - 231KB)

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For further information contact MAV CEO, Rob Spence on 0418 132 573 or MAV Communications on 03 9667 5547.