We need more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders on councils
The most effective councils truly reflect the people they represent – by gender, age and ethnic identity. But in NSW, just 1.9% of the councillors elected in the most recent 2016/17 local government elections identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, compared to 2.9% of the population. Less than 13% of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillors were female. There are currently no Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillors under 30 years of age.
With a new round of NSW local government elections scheduled for September 2020, it’s time to push for a local government sector that really reflects our Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities.
Nominating for council is one way you can stand for your community.
As an elected councillor, you can:
- Give your mob a voice in government at a local level
- Educate other councilors and the wider community about issues important to your mob
- Protect and enhance your country and culture
- Develop your leadership skills and encourage other Aboriginal people – especially women and young people – to get involved
- Help your council work with Local Aboriginal Land Councils and other Aboriginal organisations
NSW councils do so much more than just roads, rates and rubbish. Council facilities and services range from caravan parks and community buses through environmental, cultural and heritage programs; disability, aged and child care services; local tourism and facilities and services for young people.
In exchange for your passion, commitment and time you will help build a stronger, safer and more cohesive community in your region, as well as giving a powerful voice to your mob.
The NSW Office of Local Government has a guide for prospective councilors.