Australian Local Government Women’s Association State Conference

Published on 11 July 2022

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Hindmarsh Shire Councillor Wendy Bywaters recently attended the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) State conference in Shepparton.

Cr Wendy Bywaters said, "I take every opportunity, to attend training, personal development, and relevant conferences to expand my local government knowledge, improve skills and network with councillors and local government officers from all over Victoria. I love meeting, listening to, and learning from, inspiring Keynote speakers. I welcome the occasions to chat with state and federal government ministers about our beautiful patch of Australia, our abundant farming lands, and our challenges."

ALGWA (Vic) is the strong collective voice for local democracy. It is the pre-eminent leader in a community of dynamic and passionate women in Local Government. It is committed to the intent of advancing leadership to enhance democracy of all Australians. ALGWA membership, events, and promotions, enable women at all levels to stay informed, connected and inspired. The association is excited to lead change and create a strong, collective voice for Victorian communities by the bringing together of extraordinary women from across the state.

Membership of the Association is open to all persons interested in local government and membership includes councillors, local government officers, former councillors, councils and intending local government candidates.

Individual membership fees enable the Association to offer multiple programs. ALGWA mentoring program, online forums, conferences and events and general support. Membership also assists in administering the day-to-day operations throughout the state.

Council membership is for council officers to access the annual bursary award to assist them financially in their studies to further their career and local government.

The ALGWA Conference started with a fantastic opening Sunday night at the new Shepparton Art Museum (SAM). A wonderful night filled with musical entertainment, fabulous food, and the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who share a passion for local government!

Monday started early at Riverlinks, Eastbank, with a full day of inspirational and thought-provoking speakers. These included:

  • Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair Epidemiology Deakin University
  • Dr Tasneem Chopra OAM, broadcaster and cross-cultural consultant
  • Nartarsha Bamblett, outgoing member of the First People’s Assembly, North East Region
  • Dr Niki Vincent, Public Sector Gender Equality Commissioner
  • Padmini Sebastian OAM Director Engagement and Partnerships, University of Melbourne
  • Laura Majewski, Senior Investigator Local Government Inspectorate, Jane Gillard, Communications Advisor and Michael Stefanovic, Chief Local Government Inspector

"We learnt how to talk about 'the elephant in the room' have the hard, and uncomfortable conversations. Learn to sit uncomfortable until we feel comfortable with it, and to action; put our money where our mouth is!" Cr Bywaters continued.

"Many discussions were around the advantages for all our communities of gender equality in local government, and the role men and women can play in supporting women in leadership roles."

The Victorian Government’s, Gender Equality Strategy sets a target of 50/50 gender representation in Local Government by 2025. To do this we ALL need to encourage and support more women to nominate for council in 2024.

The conference concluded with a gala dinner on Monday night at Riverlinks where Dr Tasneem Chopra OAM delivered an inspirational keynote address.

Thank you, Greater Shepparton, for hosting this year's ALGWA conference! Next year's conference will be hosted by Mornington Peninsula Shire.

For more information, please contact Cr Wendy Bywaters, on 0437 920 869 or email

Greg Wood
Chief Executive Officer

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