why is this important?

Councils that reflect their community’s diversity are most responsive to the needs of their entire community. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership in councils is important at all levels: councillors, CEOs, mayors, managers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples may become more engaged in council and council elections if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples choose to stand as candidates in an election. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors have an opportunity to represent the needs and views of their community, and to provide a First Peoples perspective on issues that come before council. This strengthens the council and the community. This is also true by ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are represented across all areas of council’s work in leadership and management positions. For self-determination to be reflected across councils, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples must play a leading role in the decision-making that affects themselves and their communities.

Recommended Strategies

  • Circulating upcoming council election and participation information to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations
  • Inviting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to participate in information sessions about standing for local council elections
  • Holding information sessions with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations about local council elections
  • Ensure there are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified leadership positions throughout your entire organisational chart
  • Actively provide professional development opportunities to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
  • Encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to apply for promotions within council
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Case Studies

Yorta Yorta man Greg James became the first Aboriginal councillor elected to the City of Greater Shepparton at the 2020 local council elections. Cr James has said that what he most enjoys about the role is “the opportunity to become an effective and informed councillor who can act as a positive role model for all of the Aboriginal community and create a positive pathway for our future young Indigenous leaders.”

Key Contacts

Your Community, Country and Council | Victorian Local Governance Association

Pathway to Politics | University of Melbourne

Fellowship for Indigenous Leadership

Links and Resources

Victorian Local Government Election Videos (2020)
VEC and Reconciliation Victoria

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