Growing diversity in regional Australia on display for upcoming NSW local elections
A growing number of candidates from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds are raising their hands to represent their communities in local government.
- More and more people from diverse backgrounds are applying for adviser positions
- NSW local government elections are in September
- Candidates want their boards to better meet the changing needs of the community
In Dubbo, in west-central New South Wales, indigenous candidates nominate candidates to represent their community, including the mother of three and Wiradjuri, Yorta Yorta and Barkindji wife Tatum Moore.
“I grew up in domestic violence, surrounded by drugs and alcohol abuse, which are some of the problems our people face,” she said.
Ms Moore is the great-granddaughter of William Ferguson, an Indigenous activist who founded the Aboriginal Progressive Association and led protests on the National Day of Mourning in 1938.
“Politics is in my blood. He was a leader, a role model, an inspiration,” she said.
“He was an indigenous activist for us to have the right to vote.
Lewis Burns, a well-respected man from Tubba-Gah Wiradjuri, is also running for a board post.
Brewarrina Shire Council has one of the highest Aboriginal populations of any local government area in the state.
Its only current Indigenous advisor, Donna Jeffries, said five First Nations people ran for municipal elections in September.
“Great turnout so far,” she said.
It is not just native candidates who are running for councilor positions.
Bangladesh-born finance specialist Shibli Chowdhury also represents the Dubbo Regional Council, citing the need for more diversity in local government.
He moved to Australia in 2009 and served on the Migration Settlement Committee of Multicultural Group Dubbo and Regional Development Australia Orana.
“My story is similar to that of many people who came here and had to find their way into the community,” he said.
“I can give a voice to the growing number of people from multicultural backgrounds who now live in the Dubbo area.”
Eunice Adetifa left Nigeria for Australia 11 years ago and is now a candidate for the Orange board.
Lawyer and mother of two, she wants to be part of a more diverse board.
“It’s not diverse enough,” she said.
“It’s limited to a particular group of people who retrain over and over again.
Ms. Adetifa said she was “very impressed” by the response to her candidacy.
“I didn’t have too much discrimination, nor too many negative reactions,” she said.