Wagga Wagga City Council and community work together on grassroots project to promote respect and equity

Published: 20 Feb 2019 3:21pm

Wagga Wagga City Council has established a steering committee for a grassroots project that aims to highlight the link between inequity, disrespect and domestic violence.

High profile local influencers will lead the project to change community norms, attitudes and behaviours towards women through Wagga Wagga City Council’s Equity and Respect Team and the project.

With Wagga’s domestic violence rates sitting around 29 per cent higher than the NSW average, the development of the project and steering committee has come at a critical time.

The steering committee draws on people with strong community networks who can be an influence for change in the community.

“Our committee members, which includes the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr, will play a central role in the way we work in the prevention space,” Council’s Director Community Janice Summerhayes said.

“The committee will look for opportunities to challenge the norms, attitudes and behaviours that exist in our community, such as those rigid stereotypes and gender roles.

“As leaders in their workplaces and significant influencers in the community, they can model appropriate attitudes and behaviours to foster respect.

“We need a community-wide approach and we are all part of the process of change.”

As a large employer in Wagga Wagga, Council is looking to set an example of how businesses can lead change and influence attitudes and behaviours for a respectful and equitable workplace and community.

“Our staff live and work in Wagga, and if they can be an influence for change, that gives us a strong position to address this serious issue,” Council’s Manager People and Culture Fiona Piltz said.

The project and Wagga City Council’s Equity and Respect team are made possible through NSW Government funding received by Wagga Women’s Health Centre in 2018 and is delivered by Wagga Wagga City Council.

Equity steering committee members

  • Michael McCormack, Federal Member for Wagga Wagga
  • Dr Joe McGirr, State Member for Wagga Wagga
  • Mayor of the City of Wagga Wagga Councillor Greg Conkey OAM
  • Jenny Rolfe, Wagga Women’s Health Centre
  • Gail Meyer, Wagga Women’s Health Centre
  • Phil Malligan, Local Area Command
  • Melissa Neal, Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network
  • Andrew Crakanthorp, Riverina Water General Manager
  • Stacey Jenkins, Charles Sturt University
  • Kerrie Gale, NSW Department of Education
  • Belinda Crain, Multicultural Council
  • James Bolton, Riverina Murray Department of Premier and Cabinet
  • Mark Calverley, CEO Southern Sports Academy
  • Janice Summerhayes, Wagga Wagga City Council Director Community
  • Fiona Piltz, Wagga Wagga City Council Manager People and Culture