As your PPSEAWA representatives Luisa Latukefu and I attended the February planning meeting in Sydney where the AWC major consultation project for 2008 “Planning for Ageing in the Future” was discussed. The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, our new Minister for the Status of Women addressed the meeting and joined members for morning tea. It was decided to include social inclusion in our major project and subsequently a survey on Ageing and Social inclusion was circulated widely in April and formed the basis of our first Hot Issues Report to the Office for Women in May. Thank you to those PPSEAWA members who helped provide the information.
On 14-15 June I attended the 2008 National Women’s Secretariats (NWS) Meeting in Broken Hill. This was hosted by the National Rural Women’s Coalition and attended by over 68 women from 38 different organisations. AWC met before and after the NWS meeting.
Minister Plibersek was unable to attend and Senator Claire Moore attended as her delegate. She was an outstanding keynote speaker at the meeting. Two members of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Gathering (NATSIWG) working group also attended. During the two days attendees explored important issues of collaboration and leadership between indigenous and non-indigenous women. The need to support the funding of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s secretariat was recognised and strongly supported by the women present.
The Productivity Commissioner Mr Robert Fitzgerald made a very interesting presentation re inquiring into paid parental leave and answered many questions.
A valuable workshop was held to identify programs that are working successfully in the area of prevention of domestic violence and information gathered will be given to the National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and Children
The announcement of successful applicants for the Australian Government Women’s Leadership and Development Grants was welcomed by many, including UNIFEM, NCWA, YWCA and AWLGA who were among recipients of up to $100 000 for projects.
Caroline Lambert from WomenSpeak gave an interesting presentation on CEDAW and its importance as a mechanism for protection of women’s rights. Attendees discussed how to deliver a strong response to the Australian Government review on accession to the Optional Protocol to CEDAW and agreed to develop a joint letter. PPSEAWA agreed to be a signatory to the letter supporting Australia’s signing of the optional protocol to CEDAW
On the 25th anniversary of CEDAW on 27 July 2008, Minister Plibersek announced that two representatives would be funded to join the Australian government delegation to CSW53 in March 2009-one expert in the area of the priority theme from the community sector and one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander woman. This is a small but important step to strengthen the voice and capacity of indigenous women in Australia and the funding of the two non government delegates for CSW53 is welcomed at last.
At our AWC meeting in Broken Hill I presented complimentary copies of “Platters for Peace” to each member organisation present, in recognition of the small grant which helped fund the printing. Members agreed to fund an AWLGA project “Gender Matters in Local Government” to encourage and assist Councils to promote gender equity in this sector with a grant of $15 000 and a UNIFEM project to extend IWD events to regional centres was later granted $14 820.
It was decided that there would be no AWC calendar this year and the Annual Report would be a smaller document.
Dr Anna Howe, a consultant with expertise in the area has been appointed to complete our major consultation in the time frame required by our contract with OFW. She has recently circulated a short survey on post acute care for the elderly to members as part of her research. We expect to be involved in further consultations in September.
The current model of national women’s secretariats will be evaluated in the later part of this year. The evaluation process will involve consultations with the secretariats in September-October and be completed by December2008 as funding arrangements for the NWS expire on 30 June 2009. The evaluation will inform the government’s future model for consultation with women and may include continuation of the existing secretariat model or be a refinement or an entirely new model for consultation and policy advice.
The Annual General Meeting of the AWC will be held in Sydney on 8-9 November 2008.
I will be stepping down as the representative of PPSEAWA in the Australian Women’s Coalition after five years as delegate and I have asked Luisa Latukefu to become our representative after the Annual General Meeting. I’m sure she will represent us very well in the future.