POLITICS | DI BARTOK
EIGHT Labor women tuned into the community are ready to serve across the wards of Cumberland Council in the new council to be elected on December 4.
And, while not wanting to sound sexist, Greystanes ward candidate Diane Colman think it is time that more women served on local councils, which has long been male-dominated.
“We have a team of women, a range of ages and professions, with children of varying ages, and with connections in the community,” Dr Colman, whose mother Pam served on the pre-amalgamation Holroyd Council.
Two of the women, Lisa Lake in Wentworthville and Ola Hamad in Granville, are already on council and look forward to having more Labor women serve beside them.
The male Labor councillors, veteran Glenn Elmore and Suman Saha, being in a Party that promotes women for pre-selections, also welcome the women candidates.
The new candidates are Diane Colman and Sandra Doumit in Greystanes, Joshika Naidu in Wentworthville, Melissa Seymour in South Granville and Sabrin Farooqui and Hope Atkins in Regents Park.
Dr Colman, an academic from University of Western Sydney, who has raised her two children in the area, feels that women are ideally placed to be in tune with the community’s needs, above other vested business interests.
“Women do listen to people at the grassroots level and already have community connections,” Dr Colman, who grew up in a strong Labor family, said.
Appalled by some of the decisions of the current council, including controversial plans to privatise council’s childcare centres – later reversed after public backlash – showed that the community needed to be involved more from the beginning of council discussions, Dr Colman said.
“With the harsh lockdown this area endured during Covid restrictions, people were paying more attention to their community facilities, such as parks, bushland, playgrounds and other amenities and there are things people want upgraded.
“One example is the need for a splash park in Greystanes. And people want more trees because of the rising heat.”
But lockdown and Covid restrictions that have led to job losses and family stress has also resulted in an increase in domestic violence, with women and children the main victims.
“Women need a place to go to escape violence and there needs to be an increase overall in women’s services,” Dr Colman said.
Overall, whether working for better facilities for women, children or the general population, Dr Colman feels that more women in local government is needed to turn the tide on “old style of leadership” that did not always have the community’s best interests at heart.
“During my talks to people in the area, they are pleased that more women are running for council,” she said.
With the Liberal Party not endorsing candidates because of factional fighting in this election, Labor and Our Local Community are the main organised parties running candidates in all wards.
Both are running a strong field of women- Labor 8 and OLC 7, so with both parties likely to gain a few seats, there are bound to be more women on Cumberland Council after December 4.
Pictured: Seven of the eight women running for Cumberland Council, Joshika Naidu, Clr Ola Hamed, Clr Lisa Lake, Diane Colman, Sandra Doumit, Melissa Seymour and Sabrin Farooqui.