22 April 2021

CWA prepares to push for cannabis change in Australia at Bega state conference

| Albert McKnight
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CWA State Conference committee members

CWA State Conference committee members Lynn Lawson, Nelleke Gorton, Alison Jenkins, Vicki Hummel, Robyn Wright, Annette Kennewell and Helen Galton on the steps of CWA in Bega. Photo: Supplied.

Including medicinal cannabis on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) will be one of the key debates at this year’s Country Women’s Association (CWA) State Conference to be held in Bega.

The Cobargo branch will raise a motion at the conference asking for the CWA to campaign for the reform – just one of many issues to be debated during the meeting.

“The problem is that although cannabis can be obtained by prescription, it’s not available under the PBS and it’s exorbitantly expensive,” said Far South Coast Group secretary Lynn Lawson, who is based in Cobargo.

While some might know the CWA as lovers of crafts and cooking, in fact its members are at the forefront of creating change in the country.

This is the first time the State Conference will be held in Bega and will attract more than 400 delegates and observers from May 2 to 6.

As part of the conference, motions from branches across the state will be discussed which, according to Mrs Lawson, is an important part of the event.

“Everybody thinks it’s just about tea and scones, but the CWA is one of the biggest lobby groups in the country. It’s certainly the biggest women’s lobby group in the country,” she said.

“We’re one of the organisations which caters to women who just want to come and make friends, as well as some who want to do handicrafts or cooking, or people who actually want to make a difference – and everyone in between.”

She said the CWA is driven from the bottom up in the way that if a member believed something was important they could raise it with their branch and if passed as a motion, it would go to the conference then could become the organisation’s policy.

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Far South Coast Group president and chair of the conference’s organising committee Helen Galton agreed about the importance of presenting motions, saying it was good to get input from everybody who attended and wished to speak.

“It’s a chance for us all to get together and have a really good discussion,” she said.

Rhonda Byrnes

CWA Far South Coast Group handicraft officer Rhonda Byrnes awards Marion Cullen of Narooma CWA the Best Individual Handcraft Shield in March. Her award-winning handicraft will be on display at the CWA State Conference Handicraft Exhibition. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Galton said the Far South Coast’s CWA members were “absolutely chuffed” they had the chance to bring visitors to the Bega Valley for the conference and to showcase the Sapphire Coast.

She said the conference will boost the region’s economy by attracting CWA members from across the state to the area.

“It’s also highlighting to all our wonderful community people the CWA is alive – we’re out and about and we can contribute to the Far South Coast,” she said.

“Everybody is excited.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most of the conference will not be open to the public but everyone can attend the CWA Country Market at the Bega Showgrounds on 2 May from 1-5 pm.

The market will also continue at lunch times from 3 to 5 May.

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Stall holders include Mystery Bay Kelp, Johanna Weiss with her artwork on linen, Jody Vassallo with her cookbook Farmer and Brave-Bottomed Wombat children’s book, Three Fat Ladies with their delicious regional food, Eden Preserves, Tilba Real Dairy, Paul West with his cookbook and growing guide The Edible Garden, Za’s Coffee Van, Bega Girl Guides with their hand-made jewellery, plus loads more.

There will also be a ‘cow’ cake decorating competition on display plus local school sculptures of cows decorating the Bega Showground.

Everyone is also invited to visit the CWA State Land Cookery and CWA State Handicraft competition exhibitions.

You can see prize-winning cakes, biscuits, jams and preserves, while the handicraft exhibition includes the best of the best in needlework, knitting and crocheting and these displays are free to enter.

Land Cookery is on display at the Seventh-day Adventist Church at 31 Upper Street, Bega from 9 am to 5 pm on 4 to 5 May.

Handicraft is on display at the Uniting Church and Hall at 125 Gipps Street, Bega on 3 May from 11:30 am to 5 pm, and 4 to 5 May from 9 am to 5 pm.

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Carol Holden6:13 pm 29 Apr 21

Go you good things! Go!

The only reason the stuff is exorbitantly expensive is because it’s only big companies who are allowed to produce it, forming a virtual monopoly, and charging accordingly (like wounded bulls).
If people/healers were allowed to grow their own, it would basically be free.
Cannabis is as easy to grow as tomatoes. If you can turn tomatoes into sauce you can turn cannabis into medicine. Would you then ask your friends to pay you $5000 a bottle for sauce? That’s the deal our governments have set up for us.
It’s basically extortion, demanding money with menaces: Pay Up or Suffer.
And if it’s on the PBS, the taxpayer will end up shovelling hundred$ of million$ to multinationals …
… when it could basically be FREE!

Sadly, the PBS process in its nature, excludes cannabis being able to be listed under PBS. In order to be listed, a company needs to spend millions to apply and fulfil criteria and the application is for one product for one disease, with no guarantee of success. Sativex is a classic example of this.
Cannabis is a herbal medicine and can never fit into a pharmaceutical based system, hence the need for a federal inquiry into the failed cannabis delivery system. Government however dismissed all of the recommendations which would give Australians affordable access.
One question – While Australian patients are forced to home grown or source illicit cannabis medicine, due to lack of supply, affordability or because they can’t access a prescription. How much has the federal government reaped in import and export taxes? Considering almost ALL Australian Grown product is exported and the vast majority of prescribed cannabis being supplied in Australia is imported?


Michelle Bellamy1:58 pm 28 Apr 21

Great work bringing the topic of medicinal cannibis to the forefront.
It would be equally important to discuss the driving laws around Cannabis and how easy it is to lose your licence even with a prescription.

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