THE WILL was never in question. This year there's a way - as Country Women's Association (CWA) members from across the Mid North Coast head south for the NSW State Conference at Bega.
Among those hitting the road is Margaret Breust, president of the Eungai/Stuarts Point branch and secretary of NSW CWA.
Last year's physical State Conference was scuttled by COVID-19, with postal votes on business being the only viable alternative.
The pandemic will still have an affect on this year's gathering on the South Coast next week.
"Normally we would have two delegates per branch, but this year it will be one. So instead of the 800 people we would traditionally have at conference this time there will be 290-odd voting members," Margaret told the Macleay Argus.
"But it's very pleasing to again have that face-to-face contact, especially for the little branches in remote areas as it provides great connectivity and friendships."
Margaret is already on her way and will spend a couple of days at CWA HQ in Sydney before heading to Bega.
The Eungai/Stuarts Point branch will be represented by delegate Barbara Veness, while Jenny Clemetson will be an observer.
The three-day conference at the Bega Showground will have a full program - and for the first time, members will have the chance to view the meeting via a livestream link.
Some 26 motions proposed by branches will be debated - in the fields of education, health, the environment, transport and telecommunications.
Motions this year include:
- The declaration of a climate emergency in recognition of the need for urgent action on climate change (Bangalow branch)
- Advocate for a just transition from coal and gas, which are in terminal decline, to low carbon-intensive industries (Tambar Springs branch)
- Call for immediate action with regard to the failure of age care service delivery in NSW (Jerilderie branch)
- Advocate for a review of organ and tissue donation policies with consideration of an opt-out policy in preference to an opt-in policy (Pambula-Merimbula branch)
- Support for Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in NSW and the ACT (Bowral branch)
- Advocate for the placement of prescribed cannabis medication on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (Cobargo branch)
- Call for a single coordinated mental health service information and referral resource in towns as part of the overall measures for suicide prevention in communities (Kiama branch)
- Opposition to large-scale solar plants on prime agricultural land to protect food and fibre productivity (Jindera branch)
- To actively support and accept the 'Uluru Statement From The Heart' (Keiraville Branch).
"The range of motions, across so many different areas, reflects the diversity of our membership and the issues of concern to their communities. The CWA of NSW takes its advocacy role very seriously and once motions are formally endorsed by the membership, they will become part of our lobbying platform for the next 12 months," Stephanie Stanhope, president of the CWA of NSW, said.
"There are some interesting motions this year that will no doubt inspire some robust debate, but that is one of the strengths of our association: all points of view are welcome and can be discussed openly and honestly.
"There are a number of motions around climate change, which the CWA of NSW already has policy on, with the motions this year seeking to broaden the scope of our advocacy efforts, while the call for support for Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation in NSW and the ACT is likely to encourage some impassioned discussion."
This year's keynote address will be presented by prominent author and speaker Lucy Bloom, former CEO of children's charity Sunrise Cambodia and the former CEO of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.
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