Flashback -- Inaugural Tasmania ICPA State Conference

Posted on August 25, 2015

Our inaugural state conference was successfully held on 22nd March, 2012 at Oatlands. For our first attempt we were quite proud to see 50 attendees with an entertaining agenda set.

The day was opened by Judy Terry, past Federal Member, which was followed by some students from Oatlands District School, who entertained us with two well-rehearsed songs. We were then very pleased to have Margaret Headlam, Jo Fenn-Smith and Pat Greenhill, who were founding members of ICPA in Tasmania, present a talk on their experiences and trials of setting up ICPA in Tasmania. This was well received and comment was made that we all seem to still be experiencing the same issues today, although we have come a long way it is obvious we need to continue lobbying for our children’s equal opportunity for education.

We were disappointed to be advised that Nick McKim, Minister for Education would not be attending, however, his report was read out on the day. We were fortunate enough to have Mr Michael Fergusson, Shadow Minister for Education, who was understanding of our issues and discussed Liberal ideas on extending our high schools to include years 11 and 12.

Our Federal Secretary, Jane Gloster, then gave us an insight into what a federal member is required to do and the work that is done on behalf of lobbying Federal politicians.

Mr Bob Gilmor, Manager of Springvale Hostel Accommodation, addressed the conference and gave us his version of running a student hostel in 2012. This was very enlightening and was well received with many not being aware of some of the issues and finance associated with running a boarding facility for our out of area children.

During the lunch break, Sally Dakis, from ABC Radio Country Hour, interviewed our State President, Kate Thomson, Federal Member, Jane Gloster and a number of attendees and discussed both the conference and the concerns we deal with in rearing children in rural areas in Australia.

Rachael Treasure, well renowned author, spoke of the positives of living in isolation. Rachael’s vivacious speech urged us all to be innovative and rid ourselves of negativity to make our communities more viable and encourage people in our areas.

Motions were then put to the floor regarding what we are wanting to achieve in the next year. These issues mostly involved our State Committee lobbying politicians regarding school closures, subject specific teachers for rural schools, student accommodation to remain available and maintained, accommodation allowance for tertiary students (AATS) to be reinstated and to ensure our rural areas are not disadvantaged any further.

Our final guest speaker for the day was Mike Bennett from the Department of Human Services, who provided information on allowances that are available for our children who need to live away from home for their education.

We wish to thank our sponsors Singleton Consulting & Training, Casaveen, Kelvedon Estate, Southern Midlands Council, Oatlands School, Richard & Emily Gardner, Roberts Ltd, Springvale Vineyard, Bishops Rock Vineyard, Heritage Highway Tourism Centre, Milton Vineyard, Gala Vineyard, Companion Bakery, Swansea Primary School who made the day possible.

The day was deemed a great success and with the added bonus of us signing up a number of new members. The main concern for most attending was school closures in Tasmania and the distress this will have on our rural areas. Not only will this disadvantage our children but this would affect the social wellbeing of small townships together with the disadvantage of not being able to attract families to live in these areas if there is no school available.

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