CWA of NSW conference calls for urgent action on health care, farmland protection and housing security
The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW is calling for greater financial protection for landholders from mining exploration, urgent action on the quality of health services for rural and regional communities and an increased supply of social and affordable housing for older women in both metropolitan and regional areas of NSW.
The issues are among more than 30 motions – including three motions of urgency - being discussed and debated at this year’s CWA of NSW state conference in Sydney, with successful motions to spearhead the association’s advocacy efforts over the next 12 months.
A call for a ban on political donations from fossil fuel companies, Country of Origin labelling laws, the need for more women’s refuges, improved monitoring of river heights in flood-prone areas, and the need for more school counsellors were also on the agenda.
Successful motions include:
• That the CWA of NSW demand that the state and federal governments take immediate action on the current crisis in the provision of primary medical services in rural NSW (motion of urgency) - Inverell Sunrise branch;
• Calling for the NSW Government to rescind its decision to grant an extension to three Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) on the Liverpool Plains and for an overhaul of the Petroleum Act to remove the conditions that enable the existence of ‘zombie’ PELs (motion of urgency – carried unanimously) – State Executive;
• Opposition to any increase in the annual and ongoing financial burden on farm businesses through a proposed new State Property Tax on farmland (motion of urgency) – State Executive;
• Advocating for the implementation of legislation to ban fossil fuel companies from making political donations – Tambar Springs branch;
• Advocacy for increase financial protection for landholders dealing with mining exploration, including increasing the minimum-security deposit paid by companies for exploration and creation of a security deposit system to cover landholder costs in mediation and arbitration – White Cliffs branch;
• Greater support for sufferers of endometriosis around diagnosis and treatment costs – Terrigal Evening branch;
• Advocacy around cut flowers being included in relevant Country of Origin Labelling laws – Bundarra branch;
• The need for adequate rainfall and river heights data to be available to communities along flood-prone river systems – Bonshaw branch;
• Advocacy for the mandatory establishment of specialist domestic violence operative teams in all police area districts – Jervis Bay Day branch;
• An increased supply of affordable housing, specifically targeting older women, in both city and country areas of NSW – Woy Woy branch;
• Support for Transplant Australia’s program to encourage live kidney donations – Berry branch;
• Increased funding to establish and operate women’s refuges, particularly in rural areas – Exeter branch;
• Advocating for improved obstetric services and care in rural and remote areas of NSW – Coonamble Evening branch; and
• More counsellors and psychologists in the state’s schools – Wagga Wagga Evening branch
“The diversity in our motions this year – and every year – reflects the diversity in our membership and the concerns of the communities they represent,” said outgoing state president Stephanie Stanhope.
“Access to and quality of health services in rural and regional NSW remains a real concern for our association and is reflected in the fact numerous motions around the issue – including a motion of urgency where we are demanding action on health care equality – were put to the conference and enthusiastically-endorsed by delegates.
“The inadequacy of government regulation around mining exploration on our prime agricultural land and the lack of adequate protections for landholders is unfortunately still a major issue and members continue to call for a fairer and more common-sense approach to some of our nation’s most valuable agricultural land.
“The NSW Government’s refusal to act on damaging ‘zombie’ PELs in farming communities and the need for greater financial protection for landholders who must endure long-term mining exploration on their properties has been highlighted by several motions, and we will also be calling for a ban on political donations from fossil fuel companies. Rural communities deserve transparency on this sensitive issue and need to know external sources are not unduly influencing the political process when it comes to mining approvals.
“The motions endorsed at this year’s conference will now be taken forward and form the basis of our lobbying efforts for the next 12 months, supported by the strength of more than 8000 voices who not only expect, but demand, better outcomes for regional NSW communities.”
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