CWA of NSW conference draws 700 delegates in Coffs Harbour

Members of the organising committee for the 2024 state conference: Leonie Saunders (Yamba branch), Jodie Williams (Coffs Harbour branch), Sharron Davison (Grafton branch) and Trish Stabback (Woolgoolga branch).

THE CWA of NSW annual State Conference began in Coffs Harbour on May 6 at C.ex Coffs, with the four-day event attracting more than 700 members and delegates from across the state.

The conference was opened by the Patron of the CWA of NSW and Governor of NSW, Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC.

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Over 25 motions proposed by branches throughout the state were debated – covering education, health, the environment, law and order, transport and telecommunications – all helping to determine the association’s future policy direction and priorities.

This year’s keynote address was given by Samuel Johnson, founder of Love Your Sister and a Gold Logie-winning actor.

NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Jenny Atchison also welcomed members.

President of CWA Coffs Harbour Branch Jodie Williams, speaking on the second day of the conference, told News Of The Area, “So far, the conference attendees have had nothing but positive feedback about their welcome to Coffs Harbour and, despite the wet weather, are having a fabulous time.

“From the point of view of the organising committee of local CWA members, everything has fallen into place, and we are very happy with how it is going.”

Beginning business on day one was an urgent motion on measures to help counter rising rates of domestic and family violence, which was unanimously passed by conference delegates.

“This was the first issue we dealt with when the business sessions began on Monday, recognising just how important this motion was to members,” Joy Beames, President of the CWA of NSW told NOTA.

“Members want to see immediate and meaningful action around current rates of domestic and family violence and we’ll be strongly advocating for the measures we unanimously endorsed.”

The motion included a call for amendments to the bail act, a prioritisation of sustainable funding models for frontline support services and for the establishment of a real-time system to record, track and share domestic and family violence perpetrators across systems and jurisdictions.

On Tuesday the conference hosted a panel discussion on rural crime, with speakers Cr Jamie Chaffey, Chairman of the Country Mayors Association of NSW and Mayor of Gunnedah Shire Council; Peter Price, CEO, Crime Stoppers NSW; and Adam DeMamiel, Co-Founder, CEO and Director of Boys to the Bush.

Lisa Millar, the host of ABC News Breakfast and narrator of the hit TV series, Muster Dogs, was guest speaker on Wednesday.

“Our association had its beginnings on the platform of advocacy for better services for remote, rural and regional NSW, and it remains our biggest focus today,” said Joy.

“The annual conference brings us together to highlight the issues that are impacting members’ communities and once again there’s such a diverse range of motions to be discussed.

“It’s a pleasure to be in Coffs Harbour for this year’s conference, a great backdrop for what was another interesting and thought-provoking event, paving the way for a new set of priorities for the coming year.”


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