Communities across NSW can look forward to better, more representative local government following a dramatic rise in the number of women elected to councils, the sector’s peak body said today.

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Darriea Turley said women now make up 39.5% of all councillors in NSW – an 8.5% jump on the proportion of women elected in 2016/17.

“Councils are the closest level of government to their communities, so to ensure everyone has a voice it is important that they reflect the communities they represent.

“The proportion of women on council was stuck between 27 and 31 per cent for nearly a decade, so to make such great progress in a single election is really worth celebrating.”

“It’s a great outcome from the 4 December local government elections, and it’s gratifying to see the result of the hard work put in by LGNSW, the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) and the NSW Government.

“Some 69 of 124 councils that held elections in NSW now have more women on council than in previous terms.

“An impressive 27 councils actually have a female majority, nearly three times the number we saw in the last council term.”

Cr Turley said the result follows a focused effort to boost council diversity, with LGNSW and ALGWA offering mentoring services and a range of development programs providing practical information on leadership and the tools and techniques of successful political campaigns.

“Lack of superannuation for councillors has been a real disincentive to stand for council, particularly for women, and I’m proud that LGNSW helped put our elected representatives on an equal footing to other workers.

“Similarly, our advocacy helped secure childcare for women councillors, as announced by the former Minister at LGNSW’s International Women’s Day lunch last year.

“These reforms are all about breaking down the barriers to community service, so NSW communities benefit from councils that truly represent them and their needs.”

Cr Turley said 2022 would be a challenging year for NSW, as councils sought to help drive a locally-led recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic.

“I would like to congratulate all those councillors who have been elected this term.”

“It is a huge honour to serve your community, and I thank you all for your commitment to making a real and positive difference.”

Photo: Newly elected Yass Valley Mayor Allan McGrath and Deputy Mayor Jasmin Jones