CWA wishlist from the next NSW Government: Dams, jobs and transport

CWA Orange secretary Deborah Marr inside the Mothers' Room at the CWA Hall in Robertson Park. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 1118cfcwa4
CWA Orange secretary Deborah Marr inside the Mothers' Room at the CWA Hall in Robertson Park. Photo: CARLA FREEDMAN 1118cfcwa4

A cardiac bus service to rural areas, new regional jobs and new dams in the Central West are among some of the priority policies identified by the Country Women's Association ahead of the NSW election on March 23.

The CWA says it has been pleased with the political parties' responses to its lobbying, but wants the state leaders to do more no matter the election outcome.

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CWA Orange secretary Deborah Marr said Orange has begun to experience more effects of the drought.

"Our branch is interested in commitment to the development of policies and associated actions to assist older women who are facing homelessness and housing crisis," Ms Marr said. 

"We would like to see more being done there."

She said the association is concerned about local transport as it's difficult to get to Sydney and neighbouring towns.

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CWA NSW president Annette Turner. Photo: FILE

CWA NSW president Annette Turner. Photo: FILE

CWA NSW president Annette Turner said her organisation's top demand was equitable funding for rural areas and improved access to drought support.

"We are seeking more than a token 'tick-and-flick' attitude for the bush," Ms Turner said. 

"We want transformative infrastructure projects that link Sydney to the west of the state; we need the construction of new dams; and we need innovative policies that establish new regional jobs and encourage decentralisation.

"There's an urgent need for significant and equitable funding into health, education and social issues."

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The CWA is asking NSW politicians to lobby for the Q-Fever vaccination to be placed onto the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, improved blood storages for country hospitals and a commitment to better nurse-to-patient ratios in these hospitals. 

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The CWA provided the response it received from the various political parties:

1. Funding for regional areas, including infrastructure, road projects and new dams

NSW Liberals and Nationals: Our $1.6 billion Regional Growth Fund was set up ... we have committed to over 1,300 community infrastructure projects. (We) have undertaken a road safety blitz resulting in a reduced road toll and thousands of kilometres of country roads being sealed or upgraded ... we have already committed $1 billion to invest in water infrastructure projects which will secure town water for regional communities as well as improve large scale water infrastructure for industries in regional NSW.

NSW Labor: Establishment of a Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs, complementing Labor's Shadow Minister for Regional Development.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers: Our MPs have, and will continue to champion many of these objectives. We are in a position to be able to lobby, negotiate and force the Government both state and federal for their mismanagement of the issues that matter in Country NSW.

The Greens: We agree on the need for more equitable and significant funding for regional areas. We are cautious about supporting new dams and would only do so in accordance with our policies.

2. Stimulating regional job creation, and decentralisation

NSW Liberals and Nationals: We delivered legacy projects such as the Broken Hill pipeline ... water security is prioritised under the $4.2 billion Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

NSW Labor: Organisations such as RDAs and joint organisations of councils can be better engaged and brought together to pursue targeted development and economic opportunities in the regions, and Labor will work to achieve this.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers: Support.

The Greens: Creation of four renewable energy infrastructure hubs in regional areas. ​

3. Drought support and recovery - same level or above current initiatives, including capturing a larger pool of rate/fee relief and water infrastructure grant eligibility

NSW Liberals and Nationals: We have made more than a billion dollars in drought support available to help farmers ... including long-term low interest loans for farmers to invest in efficiency-improving infrastructure through the Farm Innovation Fund, as well as Freight Assistance Subsidies and more funding into Mental Health.

NSW Labor: Continuation of drought relief and monitor associated challenges, such as the adequacy of mental health strategies in the regions. Labor will also work with the Federal Government to better prepare for drought through the updating of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Drought Reform 2013.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers: Support

The Greens: Agree

This story Dams, jobs, transport on CWA wishlist from next NSW Government first appeared on Western Advocate.