The Country Women’s Association (CWA) does an immeasurable amount of good works in the community that go far above and beyond making bloody good scones.
The results are in on the CWA of New South Wales’ key policies and priorities for the next 12 months. Action on domestic violence, food labelling and widespread defibrillator access have all received the support of members.
Debate and voting on policy motions usually take place at the association’s annual conference, which was due to be held in Newcastle in May, but owing to COVID-19 restrictions the event was cancelled and for the first time motions were mailed out to conference delegates for voting.
There were 35 motions from branches around the state, covering environmental, health, agricultural, transport, telecommunications and education issues.
There were 25 successful motions that have now been formally adopted as CWA of NSW policy by the organisation’s executive and will guide advocacy efforts into the future.
This year, among the successful motions were:
• The need for Country of Origin labelling on seafood and pork sold in Australian restaurants and cafes (proposed by Dunedoo branch);
• That the CWA of NSW take a strong stance against domestic violence and urge the state and federal governments to recognise the issue as a ‘national emergency’ (proposed by Port Macquarie branch) and for the CWA of NSW to call for governments to utilise existing research reports and relevant recommendations relating to protecting survivors of domestic violence; and
• Advocacy around implementing legislation that ensures all public places have Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) available in the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest (proposed by Goulburn Evening branch).
Two motions of urgency on fire management – the need for a review of hazard reduction plans (proposed by State Executive) and for an urgent investigation into the safety features of NSW and ACT firefighting vehicles (Southern Highlands Evening branch) – were also overwhelmingly endorsed.
A motion on medicinal cannabis and the need for a coordinated action plan to facilitate research,education of medical professionals and the provision of an affordable and reliable treatment source (Kootingal branch) received the tick of approval from members.
CWA of NSW advocacy for greater awareness in all NSW communities around first-aid treatment for snakebite and for ongoing funding of research into safer and more effective treatment for victims also received endorsement (Armidale branch).
CWA of NSW President Stephanie Stanhope said while the voting process had been a lot different this year, the mail-out process had worked well and been well-received by members.
Advocacy is at the heart of the CWA
‘Advocacy is at the heart of what the CWA of NSW has always done for its members and the communities they live in so it was important that even though we couldn’t hold our conference, the business that we conduct at the conference each year went on, and we had a clear direction for our lobbying efforts into the future,’ she said.
‘For the 25 motions that have been officially endorsed by members and our State Executive, the organisation will now commence advocacy efforts around these issues with the relevant agencies and government departments in order to effect some meaningful change for the benefit of rural and regional communities around the state.’
With the overwhelming support for more action on the issue of domestic violence, the CWA of NSW has made it the focus of its Awareness Week campaign this year, to be launched in the second week of September.
The CWA of NSW has also started planning for the 2021 state conference – dependant on government restrictions – due to be held in Bega on the NSW South Coast.