AN URGENT investigation into the safety features on firefighting vehicles will be a hot topic for members of the Country Women's Association (CWA) of NSW.
COVID-19 restrictions have forced the cancellation of this year's State Conference - the first time it has been scuppered in 98 years, but that won't stop members from having their say.
Conference agenda items and motions have been mailed out to conference delegates for them to record their vote before sending the results back to state office for counting.
Two motions of urgency on fire management have been put forward - with a call for a review of hazard reduction plans and for an urgent investigation into the safety features of NSW and ACT firefighting vehicles.
The NSW Rural Fire Service is also reviewing the design of its fire appliances given the unprecedented circumstances of last fire season, in particular the tragic loss of members and the number of vehicles badly damaged.
Among a list of priorities outlined by new RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers is the need to ensure the design of fire appliances is fit-for-purpose for the future. In particular, the RFS wants to evaluate cabin ability to withstand tree strikes, high pressure low volume pumps, tanker protection systems, and the viability and feasibility of lighter material.
The CWA meanwhile will assess more than 30 policy motions from branches around the State, covering environmental, health, agricultural, transport, telecommunications and education issues. Successful motions will be ratified at the next AGM and adopted as formal CWA of NSW policy to guide advocacy efforts into the future. This year, motions include:
- Two motions around the need for Country of Origin labelling on seafood and pork sold in Australian restaurants and cafes;
- Two motions calling for more urgent action on preventing domestic violence, and for stronger protections for domestic violence survivors;
- A call for legislation that ensures all public places have Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) available in the event of someone suffering a cardiac arrest; and
- The urgent need for a review of the cost of sending mail and mail delivery times.
CWA of NSW president Stephanie Stanhope said members were obviously disappointed the conference had to be cancelled in 2020, as the week-long event - which was planned for Newcastle this year - is always eagerly anticipated with a packed schedule of policy discussions, displays, social events and guest speakers.
"Our branches, through their conference delegates, retain the important role of voting on more than 30 motions this year, and while we won't have the robust discussion and debate we have around so many of the motions that go before our annual conference, we have ensured through this year's postal voting that member voices are still heard," Stephanie said.
The results of the voting are expected to be known by the end of the month.
The CWA is the largest women's organisation in Australia, and since 1922 has been working to improve the living conditions and welfare of women and families. The CWA of NSW has more than 370 branches across NSW and the ACT, with more than 8000 members.