2016 – 2017 – ICPA Federal Council
The 45th annual Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA) Federal Conference was held in Western Australia’s capital city Perth and saw guests and delegates travel from all corners of our nation on August 10 and 11, 2016. The message coming from the bush through members is that a tsunami of change is needed to ensure oceans of opportunity are available for the education of country kids.
At the Annual General Meeting, Mrs Wendy Hick, Thorntonia Station, Camooweal, Qld was re-elected unopposed for a second year as President of ICPA Australia. Mrs Hick welcomed representation of the newly elected Coalition Government with Senator Bridget McKenzie (Vic), Mr Scott Buchholz MP (Qld) and Melissa Price MP (WA) in attendance throughout the conference. Deputy Leader of the National Party, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government and Territories and Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash offered her support via a video message. Minister Nash is looking forward to continuing her relationship with ICPA and highlighted the importance of debate and discussion on issues affecting rural and remote families and keenly awaits conference outcomes, which will inform Government decision makers in this area.
ICPA Australia welcomes the high regard that our association is held in with the current Government and look forward to working with them on the pre-election promises that were announced by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce on June 22, 2016 at the National Press Club. Federal councilors met with Wright MP Scott Buccholz recently in Canberra to discuss the LNP election promise of an additional $44.7 million towards isolated children. Read more.
A highlight of this year’s conference was the launch of the Distance Education Teaching Allowance (DETA) video which raises awareness of the challenges families face in the education of their children in isolated locations. The interest in the short clip has been phenomenal with the film going viral in hours of its release with it having 24,000 views in 4 days.
Roxanne Morrissey, Yalgoo Branch, was awarded with Federal Life Membership at the 45th Annual Federal Conference in Perth. Roxanne has had a long association with ICPA at branch, state and federal level having been a past Federal President and 4 years as an Immediate Past Federal President. She has a wealth of knowledge of ICPA and the challenges faced by rural and remote children and is a worthy recipient of this award.
ICPA proudly endorses the Australian Boarder Parent Handbook. This book is essential for all those new to boarding as it covers everything that you could imagine that will crop up throughout this journey. Author Dr Kate Hadwen, who was a presenter at this year’s conference, has donated 100% of the books proceeds to ICPA and we thank Dr Hadwen for her generosity and support of our organisation. To order please click here.
Issues that were presented during the two days of Conference include the failure of the Assistance for Isolated Children (AIC) allowance to keep pace with the cost of boarding; the immense impact inadequate internet access has on families and distance education including the difficulties during the nbn rollout and telephone outages; access to early childhood learning and care needs; the call for extension of the AIC to include four year olds beginning their formal education; the pursuit of the Distance Education Teaching Allowance (DETA), to recognise distance education tutors for providing what the government cannot and the provision of a Tertiary Access Allowance (TAA), to improve rural university participation.
The agenda motions and supplementary motions outline what our ICPA member’s feel are the real issues in trying to educate our rural and remote children. If you have any further comment on these issues please leave a comment at the end of this blog. All the information received by ICPA will be used as part of their lobbying for an equitable outcome for our children.
You can also access all the reports presented at conference by clicking on the following: Federal President’s Report, State Council Reports and Portfolio Reports. Over the next few months new webpages will be released for each policy area with the first one being Distance Education.