Leadership in Local Government Research

Local Government NSW commissioned new research into the barriers and incentives for councillors entering and remaining in Local Government in NSW. The research, by Jo Manion in conjunction with Marketinfo, used a survey to canvas the views of NSW councillors before and after the 2012 Local Government elections.

38% of responses came from women, making this the largest survey of female councillors in NSW. It’s also the first study to compare the views of both genders and identify where there are significant differences.


The findings show that the most challenging issue for the majority of women is balancing their role as a councillor with the demands of employment. This imbalance between employment and council commitments was also a key reason why women decided to leave Local Government, making it a significant barrier to their participation in local politics.

The survey also looked at:

  • Influences in the decision to run for council.
  • Training needs.
  • Challenges faced as councillors.
  • Views on Local Government in NSW.

438 current and former councillors responded from 121 of the 152 Local Government areas across NSW. The size and diversity of the sample group means that we can explore challenges faced in urban and regional areas.

Full research results are set out in the following reports: