The Victorian Government has commissioned a wide-ranging review into what influences culture in Victorian councils, Minister for Local Government, Shaun Leane announced today.
Minister Leane said the Local Government Culture Project would be delivered by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in partnership with two eminent academics – Professor Graham Sansom, Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney (UTS), and Professor Anona Armstrong AM, Emeritus Professor at the Victoria University College of Law and Justice.
“Local councils play a crucial role in serving their communities and are a vital part of Victoria’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” Mr Leane said.
“We are working with councils to promote best practices and behaviours, for the benefit of all.
“We’re particularly interested in supporting women in local government – those currently serving their community and those who will do so in the future – and that will be a significant focus of this work.”
He said the aim of the review was to identify the history and influences on culture in local government and provide a platform for the sector to identify and take ownership of a positive and inclusive culture that will improve governance and build public trust.
The review will aim to make local government a safer space for women and encourage more women to nominate for election as the Government aims to reach gender parity in local councils by 2025, the Minister said.
As a former chief executive of the Australian Local Government Association and a former director of the UTS Centre for Local Government, Professor Sansom brings a wealth of local government sector knowledge.
Professor Armstrong has a PhD in public policy and is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Victorian Council of the Institute of Public Administration Australia. Her research interests cover governance, evaluation and ethics.
Drawing on their experience and academic expertise, the Minister said the pair will consult with key stakeholders including the Gender Equality Advisory Committee established by the Government earlier this year and review academic research before developing a discussion paper.
He said broader engagement with the local government sector will follow in early 2022, with key themes and advice to be provided to the Minister for Local Government for consideration.