Councillor calls for more females
A long-serving Sunshine Coast councillor has encouraged more women to run for local government.
Sunshine Coast deputy mayor Chris Thompson has announced he will not contest the upcoming election for the region, and has used an outgoing address to call for greater gender representation.
He said female councillors are incredibly tenacious and passionate and achieve great results for ratepayers, and there needs to be more throughout Queensland.
“Women who have come in [have] really made an impact on their division and I think made the Sunshine Coast a better place to live,” he said.
“I would say to anyone out there if they're thinking about running then certainly we should encourage more women to put up their hand.”
Currently, Cr Jenny Mackay is the only female among the Sunshine Coast Council’s eleven members.
Cr Thompson said this was unhelpful, as some the most impressive councillors he had seen were women.
“[I believe] you tend to have a completely different set of eyes from a woman's perspective,” he said.
“It's an absolute positive.”
More broadly, Cr Thompson said there were a lot of challenges during his time in council, but the biggest hurdles were those he could not plan for.
“Quite often, that's legislation changes from other levels of government that impact local councils,” he said.
“Water reform was a classic example — we basically lost a third of our revenue and we had to respond accordingly.”
He said there are plenty of aspects that he will not miss.
“Sitting around in meetings that seem a waste of time sometimes — not the council meeting as such, but the informal discussions we have,” he said.
“When we don't spend our time as productively, I do tend to get frustrated and I won't miss that.”
Cr Thompson said he was proud to leave council in “arguably the best financial position of any council in Queensland”.
“Twelve years is a good stint for anyone and it's in the best interest of the community to get a fresh face with fresh ideas.”