Local councils: connecting community to Government
As the peak body for the local government in Victoria, MAV has watched with interest the reaction to the Mayor and council CEO wage data, collated by the Herald Sun this week. It is right that the data is publicly available through annual reporting and the Local Government sector in Victoria is proud of our transparency to rate payers.
Every council across the state is a critical link between community and government. We are made up of passionate local representatives who, as people familiar with their region's aspiration and opportunities, have the best interests of their communities at heart.
For Mayors – a position I have been fortunate to hold in the past – there is an overwhelming sense of community service attached to the job. It is a role where many put other careers and opportunities on hold to ensure they are always committed and available to members of their community.
MAV is privileged to work with representatives from Benalla to Bayside, Colac Otway to Casey and Moorabool to Monash. We see first-hand the amount of time, effort and resources that go into the essential local infrastructure and services provided to their communities.
Accountability for all of this work to be up to community expectation falls on the shoulders of council CEOs. Each has responsibility for an increasingly complex portfolio of work, a large number of staff and upholding the processes of democracy at a community level.
Think of the activities at your local library helping to educate future generations, street festivals celebrating your local businesses, and care and guidance from maternal and child health nurses at such a pivotal time in so many peoples’ lives. And yes, we collect those kerbside bins too.
Community support from Local Government has only been heightened during the last 24 months as Victoria has tackled COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns. Many councils have provided additional financial support to communities and local business through grant programs, fee waivers, and additional or modified services.
Providing these essential services is a committed and passionate team of 55,000 council-employed workers, who are also crucial in supporting local economies.
It’s a source of great pride that Local Government can proudly say it is leading the way in providing much-needed diversity in leadership across the country. Last year’s council elections in Victoria were highlighted by an influx of multicultural, gender diverse and LGBTI+ community leadership. In 2020, 44 percent of all elected Councilors were female, a higher percentage than both the State and Federal parliaments.
The Local Government sector continues to evolve to ensure we keep up with community needs, but one thing that will never change is our enthusiasm to represent and provide for the people of every small town, regional centre, city, and suburb in the state.
Cr David Clark
For further information, contact the MAV Strategic Communications team on (03) 9667 5590.