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Census sheds light on profile of Victorian local leaders

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The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has released the results of the 2017 MAV Councillor Census.

The survey was previously conducted in 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2013 following local government elections.

Anonymous data was collected on gender, age, country of origin and ancestry, marital status, caring responsibilities, employment, working hours, education and qualifications, income, disability, years of councillor service and political party membership from 336 councillors across 79 councils.

MAV President, Cr Mary Lalios said that the MAV’s fifth councillor census helped to shed light on profiling the elected membership of Victorian councils.

“According to the census, the average councillor is male and aged over 46 years, married or living in a de facto relationship and self-employed or working in paid employment.

“Despite this, male and female councillors are equally represented in manager, director, teaching, business owner and CEO employment roles.

“Two-thirds of councillors are either working in paid employment or self-employed with the majority earning above $52,000 per year (excluding councillor allowances).

“Almost 60% have completed a university degree or postgraduate qualifications, which continues to rise over time.

“Women have higher levels of postgraduate qualifications than male councillors, despite almost 50% of them have caring responsibilities compared to less than 30% of male councillors.

“And cultural diversity continues to flourish, despite having 86 per cent of councillors born in Australia. More than 30 per cent of councillors had one or more parents born overseas. This figure remains unchanged since our last census.

“2017 also saw the most representation of councillors with a disability since 2006, 2009 and 2013.

“Forty-four per cent of councillors are in their first term of office, remaining relatively stable to 2013 figures. The 2017 numbers decreased slightly for males and increased slightly for females.

“The number of councillors that have served four to six years in local government decreased since 2013, however the number of longer-serving women councillors with over 10 years’ experience has increased.

“Sixty per cent of councillors spend 11 to 30 hours a week on councillor duties, in addition to other employment responsibilities. This is unchanged since our last two rounds of the census.

“More than 30 per cent of councillors identify with no political party, compared to 12 per cent in 2009.

“In 2013 we had 28 per cent identify as Liberal, up from 23 per cent in 2009; and 21 per cent identify as Labor, down from 26 per cent in 2009.

“This year also had 10 per cent of councillors identifying with the Greens, compared to 5 per cent in 2013,” she concluded.

The full results of the 2017 MAV Councillor Census are available on the Vic Councils website.

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Contact: Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.