Healthcare inequality, disaster response on the agenda for CWA of NSW’s State Conference in milestone centenary year

One hundred years of advocacy will culminate in the 2022 Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW’s State Conference in Sydney next month.

As many as 1000 members from around the state are expected to come together at Royal Randwick Racecourse from May 2 to 5 to help determine future policy direction and priorities, and to celebrate the centenary of the association.

More than 25 motions proposed by branches throughout the state will be debated, encompassing education, health, the environment, transport and telecommunications. Measures to minimise the impact of flooding on vulnerable communities, improved obstetric services for country areas, the need for more affordable housing; and initiatives to help curb the rates of domestic violence in rural and regional communities are all up for discussion.

Motions this year include:
•    That adequate rainfall, real time water flow and river heights data be available for residents and communities along flood-prone river systems before and during flood events (Bonshaw Branch)
•    The need for the appointment of more counsellors and psychologists to all government schools (Wagga Wagga Evening Branch)
•    Advocating for increased funding to establish and operate women’s refuges, particularly within rural areas (Exeter Branch) and calling for the establishment of Police Hubs (stations) in domestic violence hotspots, and specialist and appropriate domestic violence training programs for all staff working in these hubs (Jervis Bay Day Branch)
•    Advocacy for an increased supply of affordable housing, specifically targeting older women, in both the metropolitan and regional areas of NSW (Woy Woy Branch)
•    The need for improved obstetric services and care in NSW, particularly rural and remote areas, and advocating for the establishment of a dedicated helpline to support rural and remote women in NSW to navigate available obstetric services (Coonamble Evening Branch)
•    Calling for the implementation of legislation to ban fossil fuel companies from making political donations (Tambar Springs Branch)  
•    Advocating for a fairer framework for landholders to alleviate potential financial burdens associated with mining exploration on their properties (White Cliffs Branch)

“There’s such a range of motions from so many different sectors this year, reflecting the concerns of our members and their commitment to bringing about meaningful change to their communities,” CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope said.

“The CWA of NSW was formed 100 years ago, in 1922, to advocate for improved services and opportunities for rural and regional NSW, and this advocacy role remains one of our top priorities today. There’s no doubt this year’s motions will be both passionately supported, and also debated, with all opinions and outlooks welcomed.

“Those that are eventually endorsed by members next month form the platform for our lobbying efforts going forward, and will help reinforce the reputation our association has forged for highlighting inequalities in country NSW and fighting hard for change on behalf of those communities.”

This year’s Conference will also include the election of a new state president, with Stephanie’s three-year term coming to an end.

“It’s passed very quickly but what a rewarding – and definitely interesting – three years it’s been. COVID-19 is certainly the biggest challenge we faced during my term, and I’m incredibly proud of the way our association and our members responded to that. They quickly adapted to the new ways we had to put in place to ensure the business of the CWA of NSW carried on and that we were still able to support both our country communities, and our members,” Stephanie said.

“It’s been a wonderful experience for me, I thank the members for their support, and I wish the new president the very best and look forward to the new perspectives and ideas she will bring to the role.”  

The conference will be officially opened at 9.30am on May 2 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 former surfing world champion Layne Beachley. 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, with the aim of improving the living conditions and welfare of women and families in rural and regional NSW.


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