Skip to main content
Mayor's Message - 13 September

Mayor's Message - 13 September

Tuesday 13 September 2022
Mayor's Message
Cr Michael Whelan

A key focus of the recent Jobs and Skills Summit was the role of women, the opportunities that could come from enabling women to participate fully in the workforce and the need to provide respectful and safe workplaces for all. Grattan Institute CEO Danielle Wood’s opening speech at the Summit highlighted that there was a “huge opportunity for women’s participation - and promotion - within the workforce”. She went on to say, “I can’t help reflect that if untapped women’s workforce participation was a massive iron ore deposit, we would have governments falling over themselves to give subsidies to get it out of the ground”.

This line feels incredibly significant, considering that there is estimated to be around 125,000 Australian women who would work, but are unable to, due to childcare shortages and unpaid caring commitments. We need to work harder at addressing the challenges that face women and the barriers that stop them from having equal opportunities in the workforce.

I was pleased to attend the Advancing Women’s Leadership Summit last Thursday, held by the State Government's Gender Equality Advisory Committee. The Summit provided a fantastic opportunity to be a part of the conversation around driving gender equality and diversity in local government elected representatives by 2025. At Bass Coast, we have been working hard to promote and encourage gender equality both within our organisation and within the community. I came away from the Summit with a renewed commitment to push for greater equity. It was also really wonderful to hear a keynote address from the Hon Julia Gillard AC, former Prime Minister of Australia – an inspiring and trailblazing woman who gave an engaging speech and welcomed the role of men in pushing for this change.

To help continue the conversation around equal representation in local government, Council is hosting a free Bass Coast Women Leading Locally Forum to inspire women to become successful leaders in the community. The Forum will be held on Thursday, 6 October from 10.00am to 11.30am at the old Wonthaggi Post Office. Deputy Mayor, Cr Leticia Laing, Cr Clare Le Serve and former Mayor and Councillor Pam Rothfield will share their experiences as councillors, why they got involved and the benefits of having more women on Council. Mornington Peninsula Shire Councillor and member of the Local Government Gender Equality Advisory Committee Sarah Race will also be speaking at the event. Attendees will also learn about the Women Leading Locally Fellowship Program, which aims to increase the representation of women councillors and mayors in Victoria. For more information, or to register for the forum, visit