CWA of NSW members Bega-bound for week of debate around future policy direction

Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW members from around the state will come together in Bega next month for the organisation’s annual conference, to discuss and debate motions from voluntary assisted dying to climate change and large-scale solar plants.

After the forced postponement of last year’s conference, anticipation is high for this year’s event, to be held at the Bega Showground from May 3-6, but with reduced numbers that recognise the ongoing COVID-19 challenges. Those who won’t be able to attend though will - for the first time -have the chance to view the conference via a livestream link.

Four hundred members and observers will be in Bega for the conference, to debate and discuss the organisation’s policy platform through a list of 26 motions proposed by branches throughout the state that encompass education, health, the environment, transport and telecommunications.

Motions this year include:
-    The declaration of a climate emergency in recognition of the need for urgent action on climate change (Bangalow branch)
-    Advocate for a just transition from coal and gas, which are in terminal decline, to low carbon-intensive industries (Tambar Springs branch)
-    Call for immediate action with regard to the failure of age care service delivery in NSW (Jerilderie branch)
-    Advocate for a review of organ and tissue donation policies with consideration of an opt-out policy in preference to an opt-in policy (Pambula-Merimbula branch)
-    Support for Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in NSW and the ACT (Bowral branch)
-    Advocate for the placement of prescribed cannabis medication on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (Cobargo branch)
-    Call for a single co-ordinated mental health service information and referral resource in towns as part of the overall measures for suicide prevention in communities (Kiama branch)
-    Opposition to large-scale solar plants on prime agricultural land to protect food and fibre productivity (Jindera branch)
-    To actively support and accept the ‘Uluru Statement From The Heart’ (Keiraville Branch)

“The range of motions, across so many different areas, reflects the diversity of our membership and the issues of concern to their communities. The CWA of NSW takes its advocacy role very seriously and once motions are formally endorsed by the membership, they will become part of our lobbying platform for the next 12 months,” said Stephanie Stanhope, President of the CWA of NSW.

“There are some interesting motions this year that will no doubt inspire some robust debate, but that is one of the strengths of our association: all points of view are welcome and can be discussed openly and honestly.

“There are a number of motions around climate change, which the CWA of NSW already has policy on, with the motions this year seeking to broaden the scope of our advocacy efforts, while the call for support for Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in NSW and the ACT is likely to encourage some impassioned discussion. It will certainly be interesting to see how the vote goes on a number of this year’s submissions.”

The conference will be officially opened on May 3 – via a recorded message – by the Patron of the CWA of NSW and Governor of NSW, Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC. This year’s keynote address will be presented by prominent author and speaker Lucy Bloom, former CEO of children’s charity Sunrise Cambodia and the former CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.

The program commences with a church service on Sunday afternoon (May 2), with the official opening from 9.30am on the Monday at the Bega Showground. The remainder of the program comprises business sessions, workshops, meetings and award ceremonies.

The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia, with more than 400 branches and almost 8000 members, and next year celebrates the centenary of its formation in 1922, with the aim of improving the living conditions and welfare of women and families in rural and regional NSW.


State President Stephanie Stanhope will be available for interviews from Sunday, May 2, to Thursday, May 6, prior to 9.00 am and after 5.30 pm.

Media may be accommodated within the venue, and for media inquiries, please contact Kylie Galbraith on 0411 480 208.

CAPTION: The 2019 CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury attracted almost 800 delegates and observers from around the state, and while numbers have been scaled back this year due to ongoing COVID-19 considerations, the Bega event is just as highly anticipated as previous years