Country women unite to make life a little better

MORE than 1000 members from 430 branches of the Country %Women's Association of NSW have descended upon Tweed Heads for their 86th annual conference.

The conference, being held at Twin Towns Service Club, has brought forward many issues regarding everyday life for women and children out west as well as in regional centres like the Tweed.

Local organising committee leader Yvonne Scarrabelotti said many of the issues being discussed affected all members, regardless of where they came from.

"We lobby the government for many things," she said.

Ideas on the table included urging the State Minister for Transport John Arthur to insist that all long trucks had illuminated signs on the rear for easier identification, and so that the length of trucks could be more accurately gauged.

Making the wearing of reflective jackets or vests for bike riders compulsory was another issue to be discussed.

"These are issues that affect% women out west but also here in Tweed," Ms Scarrabelotti said. "With the trucks there aren't many overtaking lanes out west, so it's good to know how long a truck is before overtaking it." Ms Scarrabelotti said the main aim of the association was to improve the condition of life for country women and children throughout NSW and to set up initiatives particularly for people in more isolated country areas.

Other topics to be discussed over coming days include urging the Federal Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon to fully investigate the medical prescription of Ritalin for children with ADD and ADHD, and to have all alcoholic beverages labelled with a warning against drinking during pregnancy.

But it's not all serious business. Ms Scarrabelotti also praised the Tweed as a beautiful host city.

"The conference has been all over the state, and because the drought has been so bad in most areas, we decided to bring the ladies to a lovely place," she said.

To make the best of their location, several afternoon trips have been planned for those attending.

Tours to the Tweed River Art Gallery, Mooball, Murwillumbah Shopping Centre, Condong Sugar Mill and Kingscliff, Salt Village and Casuarina are just some of the locations conference delegates will visit during their stay.

"They are all in awe. They love the area. This conference is bigger than Ben Hur," Ms Scarrabelotti said.

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