Deputy Mayor's Message - 26 July
I am excited to be bringing you the Deputy Mayor’s message this week while Mayor Cr Michael Whelan is away.
In June I attended the Australian Local Government Association conference and National General Assembly in Canberra. As a first time attendee, it was a fantastic and eye-opening experience. It was inspiring to meet so many councillors and council staff from across the 537 local governments in Australia, who all have a deep care for their respective communities. As a regional council with a small population, Bass Coast Shire is heavily reliant on state and federal financial assistance to get even the most basic of infrastructure and services for the community. One speaker we heard from was National Planning Institute of Australia president Dr Marcus Spiller who said Australian local councils do more with less and continue to do so, despite cost shifting, inadequate fiscal equalisation and rate capping across the country.
It was also wonderful to see that there are some very talented and professional women leading the way in the local government space. I had the pleasure of meeting the new Federal Minister for Local Government, Kristy McBain, a former New South Wales councillor.
I am passionate about encouraging women to become involved with local government. The Women Leading Locally fellowship program is an initiative of the Victorian Government, delivered by the Institute of Community Directors in partnership with Women for Election. The program aims to increase the representation of women councillors and mayors in Victoria. Applications for the 2023 program are scheduled to open in March next year, with the 12-month fellowship to begin on 24 May 2023. Running for council and now being a Councillor, has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me. That’s why Bass Coast will be hosting a local event to encourage local women to learn about the benefits of running for council. Myself, along with Crs Clare Le Serve and Rochelle Halstead hope to connect with as many women as possible, to encourage a more diverse representative group on our council board. At the event, will be sharing loads of information and some insights about our experiences.
The details of the event are still being finalised, once we have everything locked in, we will let the community know.
Unfortunately, COVID is still dictating many aspects of our lives, with an expected increase in cases over the next few months. A fourth dose of the COVID booster is now available and if you are eligible, please don’t hesitate to get it. Here at Council, we have taken precautions including having virtual meetings and mask wearing at our offices. This virus is continuing to spread throughout the country, so maintaining good hygiene, wearing a mask in busy areas and physical distancing are all still good ways to keep safe. Many of you may have been hit hard with the virus and some are in hospital so please stay safe and well.