Becoming a councillor

As a councillor, you will take on an important leadership role in your community. Your professional and life skills and experience will help shape policy and decision making for your council. Your connections to your local community will help ensure council is working in the best interests of your local area.

Councillors are sometimes elected on a platform to achieve or oppose particular issues or projects. It is important to understand that councillors do not make decisions on their own. Decisions are made by the majority of councillors at properly constituted council meetings.

What skills and experience do I need?

Councils are complex organisations. They develop strategy; manage budgets; deliver infrastructure and services; run community and local business programs; and influence policy so your formal business skills and education are also highly relevant and valuable.

While there are no specific qualifications needed to be a councillor, you may be asking yourself if you have the right skills and experience to stand for council. The most important skills you need in council are the same ones that hold you in good stead across all areas of your life. The ability to communicate effectively and to listen; to build relationships with people from all walks of life; to weigh up the pros and cons of any given decision; and to balance competing priorities are all key.

Councillors need to work effectively with one another, and as a group, to make decisions so inter-personal skills are important.

Councils are expected to support councillors by offering professional development programs through a combination of on-the-job experience and professional development programs. This can be for budgeting, strategic planning, meeting procedures, advocacy, negotiation and media.

Why be a councillor?

Being able to have a positive and tangible impact your community’s future is a highly motivating driver for councillors. As a councillor, you directly participate in council’s decision making and have the capacity to shape the immediate, medium- and longer-term future of your local area.