Local Government elections are coming up in Victoria later this year and in New South Wales early next year. If you’ve ever considered running for council, now is the perfect time!
Local governments are at the forefront of responding to the impacts of climate change. Higher temperatures, sea level rise, increased frequency and intensity of severe weather events, and other natural hazards all present serious challenges to local governments and test their capacity to adapt to a changing climate.
It is also the easiest level of government to get elected to and can allow you to help shape the decisions of your community.
We are running a series of webinar trainings to educate people about the role of local government (outside the three Rs — roads, rubbish and rates), and then how to run for council, including media training.
Part 1 – Meet the Mayors
Mayor Jenny O’Connor from the rural Indigo Shire Council, and Mayor Greg Conkey from Wagga City Council outline why local government matters. Both have been at the forefront of driving climate policy from the council level.
They will outline why they ran, how they did it and what they’ve achieved, as well as answering any questions you might have.
Part 2 – How to Run
Ruth McGowan is an expert at getting people elected. As former Mayor, she helped lead her community through the 2009 Black Saturday bushfire disaster. She also helped manage Cathy McGowan’s successful election campaigns and is the author of the book ‘Get Elected’. She will walk through how to set up your campaign and tips on getting elected to council.
Part 3 – Media Training
Learn how to write a press release, how to speak to local media and about framing your policies.
RSVP to the Series
Mayor, Councillor Jenny O’Connor
Jenny is the current Mayor of the Indigo Shire Council. Jenny’s background is in nursing and counselling, and she has worked in a wide range of health and social support services.
Mayor, Councillor Greg Conkey, OAM
Greg started his career as a journalist. He has worked in many newsrooms across New South Wales, including the Cootamundra Herald, Armidale Express, Tablelands Times, RVN Television and 2WG radio. In May 1979, Greg launched his own newspaper, The Riverina Leader, and served as Managing Editor up until 2004 when he sold his interests and launched his own Public Relations and Marketing Company.
Greg has been very active in the Wagga Wagga community, holding leadership positions in the South Wagga Apex Club, Wollundry Rotary Club, Murrumbidgee Life Education and the Wagga Base Hospital Drug Advisory Committee.
For his services to Wagga Wagga, Greg received an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2012. Later that year he was elected as a Wagga Wagga City Councillor and in September 2016 elected unopposed as Mayor.
Ruth McGowan OAM
Ruth grew up on her family’s farm in northeast Victoria. She studied agriculture at uni, and spent the first twenty years of her career managing research and communication projects for the Victorian government while bringing up three wonderful children.
In the last decade, Ruth changed her career direction to local government; first as a councillor and mayor with Baw Baw Shire Council, and now managing her own consultancy business.
Ruth is active in her local community, including in her local Country Fire Authority brigade. Ruth’s service has been acknowledged with a Medal of the Order (OAM) and a National Emergency Medal. She now advocates for gender equality in the Australian Honours through Honour a Woman.