NSW Government launches Diversity Counts campaign
Published: 15 Jul 2021 4:30pm
People from all walks of life are being encouraged to stand for their community and run for election to their local council as part of a new campaign to increase diversity in local government.
The NSW Government’s Stand for Your Community – Diversity Counts campaign aims to increase the number of candidates from under-represented groups at the September 4 council elections.
The social media campaign, which is being promoted by Wagga Wagga City Council, is targeting women, younger people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, and members of culturally-diverse communities.
Council’s Manager Corporate Governance & Risk Ingrid Hensley said the campaign neatly ties in with Council’s own push to inspire potential candidates and address the declining number of women standing for election through a series of workshops held earlier in the year.
“Part of our own campaign really focused on addressing the gender imbalance on Council,” Ms Hensley said.
“In almost 150 years of local government, Wagga Wagga has only had 17 women councillors.
“It’s not only women, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, younger people, and people from diverse backgrounds have all been historically under-represented in local councils, right across NSW.
“When you consider that residents from the Wagga Wagga Local Government Area come from 112 countries of origin, speak 107 languages and practise 62 faiths – there are so many new voices who can be part of the debate and decision-making process.
“That’s why we’re encouraging everyone who is passionate about this community, and who isn’t necessarily seeing themselves reflected on Council, to consider standing for election this September.”
The Stand for Your Community – Diversity Counts social media campaign includes inspiring videos of current councillors from under-represented groups sharing their positive experiences.
Councillors Rachelle Harika (City of Canterbury Bankstown), Reena Jethi (The Hills Shire Council), Ben Mitchell (Maitland City Council) and Alfie Walker (Goulburn Mulwaree Council) feature in the campaign as ambassadors from their respective demographic groups.
The Office of Local Government NSW has launched a comprehensive online training tool and guides for candidates, providing them with detailed information about running for election and the role and responsibilities of a councillor.
The NSW Electoral Commission is also promoting ‘six steps to being a candidate’ and are holding candidate information webinars, supported by the release of their 2021 Candidate Information Handbook.
For information about the elections in Wagga Wagga, visit wagga.nsw.gov.au/elections