Women's conference difficult to balance against other commitments: council

ORANGE City Council is unlikely to bid to hold an Australian Local Government Women’s Association conference, but it is adamant the decision does not reflect a lack of support for women.

The report to councillors said the council last hosted a conference in 2004 and was only possible with seven people working on it part-time, with costs unable to be recouped after the event. 

The report said a bid for another conference would require $50,000 across two years, plus a dedicated staff member. 

Councillor Stephen Nugent said he had concerns given the council only had one female councillor.

“My concern is what signal it sends to the community if we’re saying, yes we want greater representation of women in council and then we’re saying it’s too hard and too risky to bid for this particular conference,” he said. 

Corporate services director Mark Burdack told councillors there were 18 conferences scheduled in the next year.

Five of those will be from outside the region, including the Regional Tourism Awards in July, the Planning Institute of Australia Town Planners NSW state conference in September, the NSW Blue Star Awards and the NSW/ACT Regional Achievement and Community Awards in November and the Water Industry Operators Association conference in April. 

“We have one events officer who is responsible for managing all that activity… and the time and commitment [of the ALGWA conference] is probably a bit difficult to manage at the same time,” Mr Burdack said. 

He said policies on female, Indigenous and culturally-diverse employment were due later in the year.

Councillor Jeff Whitton said there could be an opportunity for the council to hold its own event.