Steph Cooke stands in a vineyard and smiles at the camera.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is encouraging local women to put their hand up to run for election at the September 2021 council elections.

Ms Cooke said local council service offers a rewarding career working with residents and businesses to improve the lifestyle and amenity of the community.

“There are so many women across the Cootamundra electorate who are passionate about their communities. This is a chance to make your voices heard,” Ms Cooke said.

“The NSW Government is committed to increasing female representation on councils. Help shape our communities by standing for election.”

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said women had plenty to offer the level of government closest to the community.  

“As a former councillor for 17 years, I know only too well the tremendous contribution women are making in our State’s 128 councils and their local communities,” Mrs Hancock said.

“However, women represent just 31 per cent of all NSW councillors so we must do all we can to inspire and empower more women to stand for their community and run for their local council in September.”

Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said strong, effective councils are those that reflect the diverse communities they serve and represent.

“You don’t need any formal qualifications to stand for election – all you need is a strong will and a desire to make a difference in your local community.”

Councillor Judi Smith, Cowra Shire Deputy Mayor, said she encouraged women to put themselves forward for what she described as one of the best experiences of her life.

“My first four years on council I was the only woman. I have never been treated any differently for being a female and I have been really lucky to work with such a committed group of people,” Cr Smith said.

“I would encourage any woman to give it a go. We need more diversity on our councils; more female representation, more Indigenous representation and people from all walks of life.”

The Government has partnered with Women for Election Australia to run a series of workshops to equip aspiring candidates to stand for election at the 2021 elections.

More information about the Election of Women to Local Government campaign including the videos can be found on the Office of Local Government website.

Workshop details can be found on Women for Election Australia’s website.