ICPA conference set to tackle key issues

ICPA conference set to tackle key issues


Events
GET READY: Petie Rankin, with son Lawson, pictured near Port Augusta. Ms Rankin is part of a committee planning for the federal ICPA conference to be held in Adelaide midway through this year.

GET READY: Petie Rankin, with son Lawson, pictured near Port Augusta. Ms Rankin is part of a committee planning for the federal ICPA conference to be held in Adelaide midway through this year.

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Innamincka. Mount Sarah. Billa Kalina. The Twins. North Well. Thurlga. Yudnapinna.

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Innamincka. Mount Sarah. Billa Kalina. The Twins. North Well. Thurlga. Yudnapinna.

These might not mean anything to you but a bunch of odd-sounding words but to us, they are home.

To us, they are the places that link us together as a convening committee.

All up, our combined distance to Adelaide is about 5500 kilometres so between us all, pulling off a Federal Isolated Children Parents' Association conference in our capital city - without actually being anywhere near it - is quite an art.

Of course, it wouldn't be ICPA if we all lived in and about the city, now would it?

And if we left it up to event planners and organisers to do for us, it wouldn't come together with quite as much meaning and thought, which is certainly what we bring to it.

As a convening committee, we are truly immersed in rural, remote and isolated living with outback SA as our home and ICPA our passion.

We are wives, mums, supervisors, cooks, cattle counters and sheep spotters.

So, who better to organise a Federal ICPA Conference than those with children in kindy, School of the Air, boarding school and uni and with a combined knowledge on all these areas? Exactly.

Speaking of kilometres travelled, the regulars that attend the annual conference are no strangers to travel.

Most states send branch observers and delegates, plus our federal members that make the trip each year, with them all spending thousands of kilometres on the road and in the air, to congregate together to advocate for our kids and rural living.

On July 31 and August 1, we will see motions covered, issues debated, speakers inspire, and evenings relaxed.

Returning ICPA members will catch up with long-distant friends and the new faces will look around in wonder at the buzz and vibe of a room full of like-minded people.

I must make mention of the husbands here too though, as it's a great chance for them to come and support their wives of an evening and jump on the partners' tour during the day.

The blokes get a chance to attend the best of what Adelaide can offer for a pastoralist feeling like a fish out of water, with some amazing outings to soak up the atmosphere.

Our theme for this year's Federal ICPA Conference is 'Sustain our future, invest in our children'.

With a world desperately trying to reverse the effects that our growing population is having, sustaining our future by investing our time and education on our children is a no-brainer.

The world is theirs and it will be up to them to fight for its ecology and wellbeing, so we want to focus on teaching them the right way to achieve this.

With this is mind, we have some amazing speakers attending the conference, including Kate Gunn, who has a passion for rural health and well-being and its vital place in the world.

We really urge anyone, regardless of where you live, to think about attending this wonderful conference to see what rural South Australians have put together and hear the voices of national ICPA members speak passionately on education.

You will walk away feeling ready to join up to your local branch and lend a hand, especially in the current climate.

And if you are part of a branch that is financially unable to help you get there but you'd love to attend, jump online to icpa.com.au and apply for the financial assistance that Federal Council is offering.

There is also childcare on offer so if the worry of leaving the young ones behind is a concern for you, email our childcare co-ordinator and let us see if we can help.

The wonderful team at RICE (Remote and Isolated Children's Exercise) will be on site to make sure the little ones are entertained and busy but still close at hand.

And while I'm on the topic of all the brilliant people helping us out, I'd like to make mention that the ICPA Federal Conferences would not run if it wasn't for the remarkable support we receive to put this event on.

This year, our platinum sponsors are S. Kidman and Co/Hancock Agriculture, BHP, Oz Minerals, Telstra and the Department of Education and Training along with the numerous other sponsors that have made this conference possible.

I think I could almost guarantee you have never seen, in the one room, a more passionate, inspirational, dedicated and committed group of people than the ICPA members.

Witnessing shaky voices stand up and give an emotional recount of how their child can't access a speech therapist, how another family goes without reliable internet, listening to a mum of a kindy age child ask for financial help, it will pull at your heart strings and remind you of how those outside of the suburbs really live.

Please jump online and see what's in store on July 31 and August 1, then clear your diary and book that flight.

Petie Rankin is a member of the SA ICPA state council.

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