Domestic violence, health inequities and crime rates on radar of CWA of NSW at annual conference in Coffs Harbour

As its annual State Conference comes to a close in Coffs Harbour, members of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW have endorsed more than 25 motions across sectors such as health, law and order, education, transport and the environment.

The motions - including a motion of urgency – have been discussed and debated over three days at this year’s CWA of NSW State Conference in Coffs Harbour, with successful motions to inform the association’s advocacy efforts over the next year.

The motion of urgency on the need for more action on rates of domestic and family violence was the first item of business considered by conference delegates and was passed unanimously. The motion includes a call for an amendment to the NSW Bail Act to change the presumption of bail provisions to a default against bail for domestic and family violence offences; prioritisation of sustainable funding models for frontline victim support services – and services that target perpetrator risk factors - to ensure stability and continuity in funding for these services; and the expediting of the establishment of a real-time system to record, track, and share information on perpetrators across systems and jurisdictions.

"This was the first issue we dealt with when the business sessions began on Monday, recognising just how important this motion was to members who want to see immediate and meaningful action around current rates of domestic and family violence and we'll be strongly advocating for the measures we endorsed at the conference," Joy said.

Some of the other motions carried at this year’s conference include advocacy on:
•    Urgent action around bush fire mitigation and management of government-controlled land – State Executive Committee
•    A transparent, publicly-available water ownership register and the mandating of the registration of elected Members’ interest and foreign investment in water – State Executive Committee
•    The provision of adequate funding for licensed teachers to provide swimming and water safety skills lessons to primary school students – Jindera Branch
•    Funding support or rental subsidies for educators working in early childhood centres in remote, rural and regional locations – Hillston Branch
•    The continuation and extension of the Preschool Drive Subsidy Pilot Program for remote families – Hillston Branch
•    A review of Triple Zero call centre procedures/tools to help with the determination of the locations of callers – Scone and District Branch
•    The banning of heading of the football by children under the age of 16 when training or playing football, and promoting education around the effects of concussion and sub-concussion in sport – Millthorpe Branch
•    The addition or retrofitting of public toilets with adult disabled changing facilities – Barellan Branch
•    Federal Government adoption of the recommendations made by the Senate Inquiry into the barriers to consistent, timely and best practice assessment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and support services for children, adolescents and adults with ADHD and/or autism – Kootingal and Tamworth Evening branches
•    A reduction in the minimum eligible age to take part in the free National Bowel Cancer Screening Program to at least 45 – Kyogle Evening Branch
•    Ways of supporting providers of affordable accommodation in NSW for the growing number of homeless older women, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas – Jindabyne Branch
•    The mandatory regulation of sporting broadcasts to prohibit any form of marketing, advertising or sponsorship promotion of alcohol – Orange Branch
•    Additional funding for local councils for the maintenance, repair and upgrade of school bus routes – Weemelah Branch
•    Urgent and immediate action to establish 24-hour policing in all larger regional, rural and remote shires – Emerald Hill Branch

About 700 members are attending this year’s conference and State President Joy Beames said the diversity in the motions once again highlighted the variety of concerns from communities across NSW.

“Health has remained a big focus for branches, with numerous motions endorsed by delegates that seek to improve access to services for regional, rural and remote residents and enhance the recruitment of health professionals to these communities,” Joy said.

“The increasing rates of crime in rural and regional locations has also been of enormous concern to the association and our members and this is reflected in several motions that came before the conference this year. We also hosted a rural and regional crime panel where members heard a number of different perspectives on the issue and which reinforced the need for ongoing advocacy for country communities that are experiencing a real crisis when it comes to crime rates and impacts on victims.”

The motions endorsed this week will now be taken forward and form the basis of CWA of NSW lobbying efforts in the immediate future.

The conference also voted to make pancreatic cancer the Health Research Fund Annual Project for 2023/24. The previous Health Research Fund focus was ovarian cancer and earlier in the conference, the association presented a cheque for $52,087 to the University of Newcastle for research into ovarian cancer by Professor Pradeep Tanwar.


For media inquiries, please contact Kylie Galbraith on 0411 480 208.

Photo for use by media: CWA Conference Opening 2024