COATES, Belinda

DegreeBelinda Coates

Graduate Diploma of Advanced Counselling

Graduation year

2002

Current position

Councillor, City of Ballarat Council,  also self employed Consultant/Trainer

What are some of your career highlights?

Working as Senior Counsellor/Advocate at Ballarat Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) for 8 years was both rewarding and challenging.

Being elected as a City of Ballarat Councillor has also been rewarding and challenging. Some highlights as an elected representative include being Deputy Mayor twice (2016 and 2019).

I was extremely humbled to be invited in 2016 as Deputy Mayor to support Ballarat survivors of institutional child sexual abuse in Rome to hear Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearings.

Another recent highlight as Deputy Mayor has been receiving a “Highly Commended” Award as a Climate Ambassador from the Cities Power Partnership (Climate Council).

Overall highlights relate to gaining significant policy support for measures that make Ballarat a fairer, more inclusive and compassionate city. I also spearheaded the City of Ballarat ambitious Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan and target to be achieved by 2025.

Describe the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your job

The most enjoyable aspects definitely relate to working with and for the community and continual learning about the diversity of our community. I also find it incredibly rewarding to contribute towards long term positive changes that benefit the community long into the future. Contributing to things like an ambitious ten year tree planting program, an inclusive play space for all abilities, support for being a compassionate, intercultural or creative city and an ambitious climate action plan really inspire me.

There are many challenges involved in being an elected representative. It can be difficult to balance a huge range of diverse interests and influences in deciding priorities for the city. Working with a diverse range of elected Councillors with competing interests and values can also be challenging at times. The role can also involve long hours and long processes to work towards bigger picture change.

What are your strongest memories while you were studying at the University?

My strongest memories relate to the friendships formed with fellow students, the camaraderie and the strong positive influences of some of my earliest lecturers. On reflection my University studies have strongly influenced my values and commitment to give back to our community.

Do you have any advice about life after study to pass on to current students?

I strongly believe that no matter which field of study students undertake, or where their career paths take them, there are immense opportunities to lead and make a positive difference to the world around us. I’ve learnt that leadership isn’t about what type of degree we have or what career path we take. It’s much more about the values that we bring to any role or position and a positive intention to ‘give back’ and contribute to positive change.

As a City of Ballarat Councillor, what are your highest priorities or what are you most hoping to achieve during this term?

Action on climate change is one of my highest priorities. I’d like to see the ambitious Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan delivered, as well as commitment to a whole of city zero emissions target for 2030. I will prioritise policies and resource advocacy for measures that improve social equity and inclusion. I’m also committed to measures that demonstrate genuine commitment to being a ‘Compassionate City’ and a ‘Creative City’.