CWA Centenary AGM and Conference

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Last week four members of the Yass Branch of the CWA participated in the CWA of NSW’s 100th Annual General Meeting and Conference. Active delegates were Vice President and Handicrafts Officer, Karen Smith, and Agricultural and Environment Officer, Megan McIntyre. President Brenda Phillips and member Pauline Dunk participated as observers.

There was much debate about proposed motions during the four-day AGM, with successful motions including:

  • That the CWA of NSW demand that the state and federal governments take immediate action on the current crisis in the provision of primary medical services in rural NSW (motion of urgency)
  • Calling for the NSW Government to rescind its decision to grant an extension to three Petroleum Exploration Licences (PEL) on the Liverpool Plains and for an overhaul of the Petroleum Act to remove the conditions that enable the existence of ‘zombie’ PELs (carried unanimously)
  • Opposition to any increase in the annual and ongoing financial burden on farm businesses through a proposed new State Property Tax on farmland
  • Advocating for the implementation of legislation to ban fossil fuel companies from making political donations
  • Advocacy for increase financial protection for landholders dealing with mining exploration, including increasing the minimum-security deposit paid by companies for exploration and creation of a security deposit system to cover landholder costs in mediation and arbitration
  • Greater support for sufferers of endometriosis around diagnosis and treatment costs (carried unanimously)
  • Advocacy around cut flowers being included in relevant country of origin labelling laws
  • The need for adequate rainfall and river heights data to be available to communities along flood-prone river systems
  • Advocacy for the mandatory establishment of specialist domestic violence operative teams in all police area districts
  • An increased supply of affordable housing, specifically targeting older women, in both city and country areas of NSW
  • Support for Transplant Australia’s program to encourage live kidney donations
  • Increased funding to establish and operate women’s refuges, particularly in rural areas
  • Advocating for improved obstetric services and care in rural and remote areas of NSW
  • Advocating for more counsellors and psychologists in the state’s schools.

“The diversity in our motions this year – and every year – reflects the diversity in our membership and the concerns of the communities they represent,” said outgoing CWA State President Stephanie Stanhope.

“Access to and quality of health services in rural and regional NSW remains a real concern for our association and is reflected in the fact numerous motions around the issue – including a motion of urgency where we are demanding action on health care equality – were put to the conference and enthusiastically-endorsed by delegates.

“The inadequacy of government regulation around mining exploration on our prime agricultural land and the lack of adequate protections for landholders is unfortunately still a major issue and members continue to call for a fairer and more common-sense approach to some of our nation’s most valuable agricultural land.

“The NSW Government’s refusal to act on damaging ‘zombie’ PELs in farming communities and the need for greater financial protection for landholders who must endure long-term mining exploration on their properties has been highlighted by several motions, and we will also be calling for a ban on political donations from fossil fuel companies. Rural communities deserve transparency on this sensitive issue and need to know external sources are not unduly influencing the political process when it comes to mining approvals.

“The motions endorsed at this year’s conference will now be taken forward and form the basis of our lobbying efforts for the next 12 months, supported by the strength of more than 8,000 voices who not only expect, but demand, better outcomes for regional NSW communities,” Ms Stanhope said.

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