The Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of NSW (ICPA-NSW) held their state conference in Bourke last week.
Cobar’s branch of the ICPA-NSW folded last year due to low numbers, however former Cobar branch president Vanessa Reschke has continued to be involved as a Lone Member.
Mrs Reschke said she was keen to attend the conference to represent Cobar and network with like minded people.
“I haven’t been to conferences for a couple of years so it was good to get back in touch with what’s going on with the state,” Ms Reschke said.
Buses and travel subsidies are an important issue to Ms Reschke who lives 100km west of Cobar and has two boys who attend school.
“One of my boys has gone to boarding school now but the other still has to spend three hours on the bus to get to and from school each day,” Mrs Rescke said.
She explained that there was a lot of discussion at the conference about lowering the number of children required to catch a bus for it to keep running. An idea was put forward to have buses with a smaller number of seats run the routes with less children.
Among the guest speakers at the conference was cricketing legend Glenn McGrath.
Mr McGrath spoke about growing up in rural NSW and his experiences getting involved in cricket—how if you really want to do something that you will do everything you can to get there. He also touched briefly on the McGrath Foundation, Jane, cancer and his fundraising.
Mrs Reschke spoke about the other topics covered at the conference which included insuring viability of numbers for rural schools; having Centrelink staff trained to give the right information in regards to rural schooling allowances and youth allowances; and many early childhood learning motions were raised.
“Some of the early childhood motions were in relation to travel, three and four year olds being able to access their universal allowance.
“People living remotely cannot get their children to preschool, there is no funding to get them to school and there is no space on buses.
“They may have a five year old heading to school on the bus but no positions on the bus for younger siblings,” Ms Reschke explained.