Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller OAM has been honoured in this year's Minister's Awards for Women in Local Government.
Mayor Miller received a highly commended in the Elected Representative from a Rural or Regional Council award, one of several categories of awards presented by Minister Shelley Hancock in Sydney late last week.
The Ministers' Awards for Women in Local Government celebrate the contribution of women to local government in NSW.
The also aim to encourage more women to take on leadership roles in local government in NSW.
That's something Mayor Miller is passionate about, while acknowledging family commitments mean many women do not stand for representative roles.
She has decades of experience in board rooms and serving on committees from local to national level - and as she advocates for the community and regional areas she believes men and women need to have a voice.
"We need both genders to get balanced decisions," she said on Friday from Sydney, where she was attending Local Government board meetings and preparing to give a keynote address at a black tie ball for Rural Aid.
Forbes' current elected representatives include four women and five men, giving Forbes significantly higher female representation than the NSW-wide figure of 27 per cent (Local Government NSW figures from 2012).
"We all think so differently, we learn so much from each other," Mayor Miller said.
Mayor Miller has served in local government for 24 years now, and said receiving the Minister's Award was an honour.
While more women have taken on leadership roles since she started, Mayor Miller says women's representation seemed to peak between 2008 and 2012, and the most recent elections have actually seen a drop in the number of women standing for election.
In 2007 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to local government.
Mayor Miller was the only woman to hold the role of President of the NSW Shires Association in the organisation's 100-year history.
She is currently a board member of Local Government NSW and also a member of the Australian Local Government Board.