Sunday, 7 May 2017

International Women’s Day: Women and Local Government

National Council of Women of Victoria welcomes the recent election of women
Councillors to lead both the local government peak bodies in Victoria.

The election on 6 March of Cr Mary Lalios as first woman President of the Municipal
Association of Victoria (MAV) - following the February election of Cr Marg Attley as
President of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) - is an important step in
the recognition of the principle of equality of representation.

NCW Victoria has worked for the principle of equal right to vote and to stand for public office for more than a hundred years, and we helped create the Local Government Women’s Association more than fifty years ago.

Since August 2000 when 26. % of councillors were women, there has been a gradual increase with women elected October 2016 reaching 38%.

An important element in this progress had been the setting of targets and the increased availability of good training for prospective and new councillors. We congratulate Cr Helen Coleman, President of Australian Local Government Women’s Association (Victorian Branch) (ALGWA Vic) and her colleagues including former ALGWA President Cr Coral Ross for their outstanding work to encourage equal involvement of women and men in local government.

Janene Blanchfield Brown, President, Wednesday 8 March 2017

NCW Victoria encourages all candidates for public office to access training and supports the use of material GoWomenLG  website for potential candidates, Now You’re a Councillor  website for newly elected women councillors, the Victorian Local Government Women's Charter (supported by the MAV and the VLGA)and A Gender Agenda – kit for women who want to stand for local government and thosewho want to assist others to stand’ (5th edition)

Children's Matters

The Commission for Children and Young People will soon begin an inquiry into the permanency changes arising from the Children, Youth and Families Amendment (Permanent Care and Other Matters) Act 2014. The changes took effect in March 2016, and the inquiry will examine the evidence available after the first six months of their operation to consider whether the amendments are meeting their objectives of improving permanency for children and young people and whether they have lead to unintended consequences. 

At the 17 August Children's Matters Forum, Commissioner Liana Buchanan said: "In just four months as Commissioner I have heard many different views about the impact of the permanency amendments, including some very strong concerns. I am in no doubt this is an important inquiry, and I look forward to reviewing the evidence and hearing from people about their experiences over the past six months. I encourage people who are interested to make a contribution to the process - the more information we have to rely on, the stronger our findings will be." 

The inquiry will consider whether the amendments have had any direct impact on outcomes for vulnerable children and families; whether the permanency amendments are leading to timelier permanent outcomes, including family preservation and family reunification for vulnerable children and for children for whom it is unsafe to return to the care of a parent; whether the permanency amendments have strengthened cultural supports and planning for Aboriginal children in out of home care; what impact, if any, have the permanency amendments had on child protection and other services; whether there have been any unintended consequences directly attributable to the permanency amendments; barriers that prevent permanent care orders being made.

The inquiry will be informed by evidence and data and will involve a number of components including consultations and a submission process. The Commission wants to hear from a range of interested stakeholders about their experience of these amendments. This inquiry will be guided by the best interest principles in section 10 of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The inquiry will commence in September 2016 and be finalised in March 2017. Submissions will be sought in the near future and updates on the inquiry will be available on the Commission's website

(Extract from a NCW Victoria report supplied by Anne McLeish OAM, Executive Director, Grandparents Victoria Inc)