LGPro Victoria Panel: Evolution in Local Government – no going back.
Fisher Leadership was fortunate to sponsor a brilliant conversation as part of the 2021 LG Pro Conference for the Victorian Local Government sector. With the theme of “Evolution – no going back”, the conference tackled evolving workplaces, equality, sexual harassment, LGBTQI+ community participation, governance and leadership across the sector.
If Fisher Leadership had to name the panel discussion, it would be “The Work Behind the Face of Change”. You may not expect a three-commissioner panel to be so utterly riveting, as sometimes it’s the bureaucracy that surrounds their role that can wrap a conversation in red tape.
However, participants were treated to a look behind the scenes. We heard about the depth of work, cooperation and people power that go towards bringing about change.
“Sometimes the wheels of government can move slowly, but I really believe government are genuine in this space,” said Ro Allen, Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality. Reflecting on her time as Commissioner, she said: “We have done a lot, we have definitely made life easier for transgender and LGBTQI+ people, but we still have a long way to go.
“We still see overrepresentation of this community in domestic violence, sexual harassment and discrimination.”
The sentiment of needing real and actionable change was echoed by Dr Niki Vincent, Gender Equity Commissioner. Facilitator Chris Eddy, LGPro’s interim CEO, introduced her as, “coming with an Act”, referring to last year’s Gender Equality Act. This saw Commissioner Vincent and her team curate a highly valuable and accessible set of resources.
Dr Vincent said every organisation should back up their stance on equality with training, systems change and evaluation. She also made the excellent point that “equality is no longer voluntary”.
Councils have the tools — such as policies, complaint procedures and training — to prevent and respond to inequality in the workplace, however many don’t use these tools to their full advantage. As with workplaces more broadly, councils rarely engage staff in meaningful conversations about inequality, bullying, racism or sexual harassment. And without clear acknowledgement of the culture that an organisation embraces and what behaviour will not be tolerated, victims lack confidence to report their experiences.
David Baber, Public Sector Partner of Fisher Leadership commented; “The discussion was impressive in the way the commissioners went straight to the heart of the issues. I liked their approach – really pragmatic, collaborative and a balanced view of changes that have been achieved and changes still needed to enable an equal and inclusive future.”
Fisher Leadership specialises in placing the highest calibre leaders at decision-making tables – with a difference. As challenges grow more complex, the difference leaders bring will ensure well rounded solutions, less bias, and more robust questions.
The panel discussed the culture, systems and leadership required to provide a safe environment for difference to be valued, and therefore add value.
Thank you to the three panellists, and to everyone at LGPro Victoria who made the panel so successful.