New ‘Grace Benny Award’ to celebrate women in local government

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh has announced a new national award to encourage more women in local government.

“The ‘Grace Benny Award’ will be added to the national local government awards from next year to coincide with the centenary of the first woman elected to any level of government in Australia—Grace Benny who was elected to the Brighton Council in South Australia in 1919,” Dr McVeigh said.

Speaking at the National Awards for Excellence in Local Government in Canberra, Dr McVeigh said he was delighted to announce the Grace Benny Award—proposed to him by the Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA).

“Meeting with ALGWA national president Coral Ross and ALGWA NSW president Marianne Saliba we agreed to announce this award to recognise and support councils in their efforts to get more women involved in local government,” Dr McVeigh said.

“It was great to meet Cr Ross, from Boroondara Council and Cr Saliba, Mayor of Shellharbour City Council and agree on this important new award to recognise both the centenary of Grace Benny's election to Brighton Council and the efforts of councils nationally to encourage and support women in local government.”

Cr Ross said this was a great step in encouraging more women to get involved in local government and recognise the great work being done by councils.

“We welcome the support of the Minister for this important award and look forward to seeing plenty of nominations next year in this new category,” she said.

Dr McVeigh said the Grace Benny Award would be open to all councils that encouraged more female councillors and also more female staff in all areas of council services and operations.