Paid parental leave on top of the agenda
The executive meeting attracted 12 women councillors and council workers from across NSW, united in their passion to see 18 weeks paid parental leave and two weeks paid paternity leave for council staff implemented throughout the state.
Penrith councillor Nicole Campbell said there were shadowy figures within the Shire Associations (LGSA) who were keen to ‘sweep the decision aside’.
“The motion has been passed so the focus should now be on getting staff to take this seriously,” Cr Campbell said.
Her sentiments were shared by Association State Secretary of the ALGWA and Penrith City councillor Karen McKeown. “We need to retain workers in our councils and one way to do that is to establish family-friendly policies and work practices,” Cr McKeown said.
She said the all-woman meeting differed from the unisex variety.
“There was rarely any need for a vote,” she said.
The women discussed how paid parental leave was unanimously supported at the Local Government Association Conference in Broken Hill last year.
However, when the motion was put to the Shires Conference, after many delegates had left, it was lost by two votes.
The motion succeeded weeks later when put to the National Local Government Conference in Canberra.
The ALGWA aimed to support women to aspire to leadership and encourage more women to nominate for councils, Cr McKeown said.
Mayor Jenny Dowell addressed the gender imbalance within Lismore City Council.
“At the moment we have two women on council. We’d like to see that figure doubled.”
Cr Dowell said women made excellent councillors as “most tend to be very connected to the community, organised and efficient and understood the need for a work/family balance.”
The executive took in the new Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and heard plans for the proposed Olley Arts Centre.