MS TIERNEY (Minister for Training and Skills) (10:10:04) — I recognise that tomorrow is International Women’s Day and use this opportunity to congratulate the women in my electorate on their outstanding achievements, past and present, and note the positive encouragement of this government’s policies in encouraging the community participation of our women.
Local government is one of the areas where the gender gap is narrowing, although there needs to be a lot more work. In 2016 elections in 23 of the 24 councils chose women in nearly 36 per cent of positions. Right now in western Victoria there are 11 women serving as mayor, up from eight last year. They are leading many rural communities and regional towns. In Geelong, the 24th council, which elected councillors in 2017 after a period with administrators, a very important role was played by WILD, Women in Local Democracy, in mentoring and training women who considered standing as candidates. This government is pleased to support the leadership offered by WILD. This sort of leadership by women of women will lead to greater gender equality. One of WILD’s leaders, Jenny Wills, inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2008, continues to provide an example of strong women in our contemporary community. Jenny’s citation notes her role in pioneering social planning in local government and sustainable communities. It reads:
Jenny Wills has pushed the boundaries for change in local government and the community to make services more accessible for women and increasing opportunities for women’s participation.
More than 60 inspirational women with links to western Victoria have been inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll for Women, initiated by the Bracks Labor government. These women were born in, lived in or worked in western Victoria in fields as broad as farming, Indigenous and disability advocacy, science and community service administration. I value all of their contributions and wish them the very best for International Women’s Day tomorrow.