Country Women's Association of NSW conference in Albury concludes

 Iris Willoughby-Reynolds

Iris Willoughby-Reynolds

Armidale CWA delegates Emmie Forge, Ruth Blanch and Pam Hulme at the CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury.

Armidale CWA delegates Emmie Forge, Ruth Blanch and Pam Hulme at the CWA of NSW State Conference in Albury.

The annual NSW Country Women's Association (CWA) conference hosted by the Murray group in Albury ended last week after five days of business sessions, workshops, displays and social events involving the 460 delegates and other visitors, and an embarrassing incident involving the guest of honour.

CWA Glen Innes day branch secretary Mrs Iris Willoughby-Reynolds attended along with nine other delegates from the CWA Northern Tablelands region. Armidale, Ben Lomond, Glen Innes, Guyra, Kelly's Plains and Tenterfield branches were all represented.

This was Mrs Willoughby-Reynolds thirteenth conference, and she said this one was up there with the best of them.

"They're all different, this was a very good conference and quite busy," she said.

"I discussed all motions with my branch members before I attended, so I was able to express their view during the meetings.

"I think apart from the motions we addressed one of the most important things I can take back is the update on medical research the CWA has funded for endometriosis ( a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus).

"Some of the research doctors presented to us during the conference, and they showed some very positive results and hope that in maybe five or six years they will have a dip stick test rather than women having to submit to surgery."

A big focus of the CWA Conference was attracting younger members, and the Glen Innes group have had an evening meeting branch to cater to younger members for the last 18 months that is going well.

It was also announced at the conference that the Country Women's Association of NSW has gone virtual with women given the option to join an online branch.

"About 50 years ago a lot of isolated women formed a branch where they contacted each other by phone or radio, and now we have a 'virtual branch' of the CWA where members join and interact online," Mrs Willoughby-Reynolds said.

"For the first time, we had a member of the virtual branch attend the conference which was wonderful."

Murray group president Genevieve Knobel said the focus on the egging of Prime Minister Scott Morrison by a woman who was not a CWA member on Tuesday soon dissipated.

"I don't think it had a major effect on the conference, it was just more of a disappointment," she said.

STATE GATHERING: Henty branch's Margaret Singe, of Henty branch, Leola Hull, of Cartwrights Hill (Wagga), and Henty Evening branch's Heather Edwards join CWA delegates at Albury Entertainment Centre. Picture: MARK JESSER

STATE GATHERING: Henty branch's Margaret Singe, of Henty branch, Leola Hull, of Cartwrights Hill (Wagga), and Henty Evening branch's Heather Edwards join CWA delegates at Albury Entertainment Centre. Picture: MARK JESSER

A face-to-face invitation eight months ago helped bring Mr Morrison to Albury for last week's event.

Mrs Knobel broached the subject when Mr Morrison visited the Border last September.

"I asked him boldly then would he come and he said he'd love to," she said.

"Once the election date was fixed, I didn't think any more about it, I didn't think he would be able to come, so it was a big surprise."

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New state president Stephanie Stanhope, of Bega, who was elected on Wednesday, said the CWA needed to maintain its links with state and federal governments.

"We are seen by political parties as being an influential and a powerful lobby group," she said.

"What we are lobbying for, to me, just makes sense.

"And as I've got to know more and more people, members around the state, I'm just realising all the time what an absolutely marvellous group of women belong to the organisation."

Ms Stanhope said many of the motions put up by individual branches resonated among members, for example seeking clarity about drought assistance schemes.

"Basically in a rural area, if the farmers aren't supporting a local business, businesses fail as well, one is dependent on the other," she said.

Another motion called for tighter regulations on the use of drones, which could be sent over farms by others.

"Yes, there are legitimate uses for drones, but there also can be a quite invasive effect on everyone's privacy," Ms Stanhope said.

"People need to know what the rules are and what the limits are and stick to them."

The conference voted to request the federal government hold an independent inquiry into the green field routes and funding for the inland rail project.

Mrs Knobel said the CWA wished to contribute to an ongoing discussion on proposed routes.

"They really need to revisit that in as much as the topography and geography, because there are areas where it's going to be going through very flat areas, which are subject to flooding," she said.

"If they're going to build up for a rail line, that water will be coming back into properties and causing quite a bit of destruction."