Call for Aboriginal peoples to have a say in NSW local government

An Aboriginal Elder has backed the call by Local Government NSW and the Office of Local Government for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to get involved in local councils and nominate to become councillors in the upcoming elections.

Elder Robert (Uncle Bob) Webb, former Leichhardt councillor and executive member of the Local Government Aboriginal Network, has urged Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders to take up the opportunity to have a greater say in the decisions that affect their community.

“There are two important things you can do: make sure you’re on the electoral roll, especially people living in regional areas; and if you think you’ve got what it takes, run for election as a local councillor,” Mr Webb said.

“It’s a big job being a councillor but very rewarding. You get to be an Aboriginal voice on council about local transport, building development, the environment and services for the community,” Mr Webb said.

To support decisions about nominating to become a councillor, LGNSW has launched Collaborate NSW, a one-stop information hub aimed to support local government to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples.

The candidate support section of Collaborate NSW includes information for potential candidates to consider in order to make an informed decision about standing for election.

The site steps out the process required to nominate and includes campaign tips, useful information on working with local media, advertising, important campaign finance rules, links to training opportunities and other support resources.

Many of the 46 NSW councils going to election on 9 September 2017 are also running candidate briefings in the lead up to nominations opening on 31 July 2017 (closing midday 9 August 2017).

Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Keith Rhoades said the very short nomination period kicks off in ten days, so now is the time for future community leaders to put their hands up.

“Local government is the voice of local communities, so it is critical that our elected councillors reflect the demographics of our State,” Cr Rhoades said.

At present, the proportion of Aboriginal councillors falls well s

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