Be the voice of your community
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is encouraging community-minded citizens to put up their hand to influence the future of their community, with the opening of nominations for the 22 October council elections only four weeks away.
A recent MAV survey of more than 170 successfully elected councillors showed that prior involvement in community groups was a common trait among those elected.
MAV chief executive officer, Rob Spence encouraged anyone eligible to run who had a passion for their community to put their hat in the ring.
"According to our survey community group participation was highest in local sporting clubs, rotary, the Country Women’s Association, scouts, guides and school councils," Mr Spence said.
"Having community group experience is not a requirement of becoming a councillor but it’s important that candidates have a passion for their community, because representing residents is a major part of the role.
"There is also a common misconception that previous council or political experience is required to become a councillor, however our survey showed about half of respondents did not have any political experience. Only 18 per cent were involved in a political party, and 17 per cent had been a councillor before."
Councillor census data from the MAV showed that following the 2012 council elections, the average councillor was male, aged over 46 years, married or living in a de facto relationship, and self-employed or working in a managerial position.
Mr Spence said a broader range of people and views around the council table would better reflect the culturally rich and diverse communities in Victoria.
"Communities are best represented when the makeup of elected councillors is reflective of the people they are representing. This is why we are encouraging people of all ages, occupations, and cultural backgrounds to nominate," he said.
"Women make up 51 per cent of the population but only 34 per cent of councillors in Victoria are female and we would like to see our councils have equal gender representation.
"With one month until nominations open, there is still time for potential candidates to learn more about the role of a councillor.
"By the end of August we will have facilitated more than 80 Candidate Information Sessions hosted by councils across Victoria. There are still some sessions scheduled and I would encourage potential candidates to attend, or visit www.standforcouncil.com.au to learn more about running in the election."
To find out more about the nomination process, visit www.vec.vic.gov.au
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For further information contact MAV CEO, Rob Spence on 0418 132 573 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.