SA Represented at Federal Conference in Canberra

Posted on August 9, 2018

All of the conference documentation can be found on the dedicated conference website


But a quick snapshot

-       Day One saw the conference opened by Fiona Nash, the former Minister for Regional Telecommunications who is now the Strategic Advisor, Regional Development for Charles Sturt University. She had some great statistics and stressed that positive messages need to get out as many people underestimate the contribution that the regions make to the economy. It is important that those responsible for making policy are aware of the challenges faced by those that live in the country.


-       Minister Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training sent a video message as he was unable to be in Canberra.


-       This was followed by the Federal Presidents report where Wendy updated us on the busy year that Federal Council have had.


-       There was a Memorial and a minute’s silence held for Mr. Eric (Bunny) Powne MBE, one of the founding members of ICPA and an instigator of the AIC allowance


-       On day one there were reports from NSW, SA and Tasmania. Mija did a great job of reading Kerry’s presidents report.


-       Early Childhood, Distance Education, Boarding School and School Term Hostels and Rural Schools/ School Travel portfolio reports and agenda motions were discussed and voted on


-       There were some very inspiring guest speakers including Ms Lindsay Cane, CEO of Royal Far West. An organisiation that offers health and education services for country children and their families.


-       The keynote speaker was Mr David Faulkner, CEO and Co- Founder of Education changemakers “Are Robots coming to steal our children’s jobs?” 50% of current jobs will not exist in 20 years!!!


-       There was a presentation from Dr William Newman, middle years leader at Alice Springs School of the Air over REACT


-       And ICPA child Nathan Kitto spoke about growing up in isolation and the difficulty of access.


-       Sue Shotton, ICPA Web Manager was presented with a Certificate of Merit for her hard work


-       Australian Boarding Schools Association were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation



The conference dinner was held at the Australian War Memorial. We were bused to the venue where we were treated to a short tour of the War Memorial prior to the most wonderful dinner in the Anzac Hall. Dr Brendan Nelson, AO the Director had everyone enthralled by his speech over dinner. It was a very memorable evening.


The second day of conference started with the AGM. Our very own Lisa Slade presented her Treasurer’s Report and did a wonderful job. We’re all so very proud of Lisa.
All AGM motions were carried.


The Federal Council for 2018/19 is as follows:
President: Wendy Hick. Vice President: Sally Sullivan. Secretary: Susan Wilson. Assistant Secretary: Jane Morton. Treasurer: Lisa Slade. Publicity Officer: Nikki Macqueen. Councillors: Kate Thompson, Di Skene, Caroline Robinson, Alana Moller, Jane O’Brien. Two new Councillors were elected to join the Federal Council: Kristen Coggan and Kristy Goddard.


Katrina Morris presented a fantastic video staring delegate and councillor Lynly Kerin’s daughter Elke to invite members and guests to the 2019 ICPA Federal Conference in Adelaide to be held at the Adelaide Oval. Well done Kat, Lynly and Elke! The video was very well received as were the Fruchocs that were given to delegates and guests. I’m excited about next year’s conference and think our State will be an amazing host.


Sue Shotton presented her Federal Webmaster Report. I take my hat off to Sue. She is dedicated and does a great job of an undesirable but necessary role within the Association. One of the main exciting challenges Sue has faced this year has been the introduction and implementation of the online payment system, which is an enhancement of the current manual renewal system. Many members have taken advantage of this new method of payment.
All state Treasurers now have dedicated email boxes as part of the security measures ICPA has implemented for the transmission of member’s information.

Raelene Hall presented her Pedals Report. Raelene made the comment that there has been a significant drop off in content being sent from State Councils. I fully admit and acknowledge that as State Publicity Officer I am one of the main culprits of this. I tend to direct all my time to Pipeline when it comes to ICPA publications. I will be making a determined effort to change this habit and start sourcing and writing content for Pedals on a more regular basis.

Wendy Hick thanked Carmel Elliott for five years of compiling the Federal Conference minutes. That, I imagine would not be any easy job! Congratulations and thank you to Carmel. Her dedication is very much appreciated by all I’m sure.

From here the AGM was closed and we continued Boarding Schools motions from the previous day.
SA State Council decided to vote against the motion A11 from the Tambo Branch QLD regarding the Federal Council lobbying the banks for a change in legislation to decrease the legal age of 12 years to 11 years for children to open their own bank account. Many children are now going away to boarding school at age 11 and do not have access to their own money via a bank account legally.
I was the main driver behind the vote against this motion as a form of this motion has continued to be presented at Federal Conference for at least the last three years. At the Perth Conference (2016) this motion was lost and many people were cranky about it as they felt the Federal Council had more relevant and pressing issues to focus on and it really only affected a very small sum of children and there were ways around this issue to resolve it without the help of Federal Council.
However, this year motion A11 received a lot of support. I was surprised. I spoke against this motion and offered a solution to the issue: Spriggy. Spriggy is a debit card available to 8-18 year old’s and is managed via an app. There are instant transfers and the app is a platform to help educate kids about money with the parent’s help. The card has a $30 fee per annum, but that’s it. Unlike banks with interest charges and product value adding costs etc. (more info about Spriggy can be found at
I spoke after Richard Stokes from ABSA (Australian Boarding Schools Association) and he supported the motion but was also looking to implement an education component into boarding schools to help teach kids how to manage their money as their parents are not easily able to teach them from a distance. I made him aware that Spriggy can do this via the parents even with the distance through the app.
The motion was carried, but SA State council were not the only ones to vote against this motion.
I had many people who spoke in support of this motion come up to me in the break and say “Spriggy is the solution”.
At the post Conference drinks, Thomas Dunsmore of ABSA approached me and wanted me to know that ABSA believed that Spriggy was the solution to the issue and that he had contacted the founder of Spriggy and organised a meeting to discuss getting the cards and app into as many Australian Boarding schools as possible around the country. Thomas will be trying to have the fee either waived or greatly reduced for boarders. I was very pleased to hear this news and also that the founder of Spriggy was also excited and keen to make something happen. I have asked Thomas to keep me posted on the outcome of his meeting.


QLD, WA and NT Presidents presented their reports. Tiani Cook (NT) presented her report via video and I think it blew everyone away! Tiani did a cracking job and comments were made that we should get Kerry to do hers in the same format for next year’s conference.

The Tertiary portfolio report and motions were followed by presentation – Year 12 – what’s next? Kellie McInnes and Wendy Walker spoke about studying in year 12 and beyond. Some useful links: and has the Beyond School Guide on it.

Wendy Hick presented the Communications Portfolio report followed by Lalla MacKenzie, Senior National Stakeholder Relations Manager nbn, who did a presentation on The nbn effect.
Jenny West from Telstra Country Wide also did a presentation.
Communications motions followed with much discussion in most of the motions. I was particularly pleased to hear Rural Schools be included access to the Education Port in motion A17. The telephone motions also had lots of questions and comments. Telstra was well represented by Chris Taylor who did a good job fielding all of the queries.


Later in the afternoon the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee held a consultation forum within the conference. They have been around the country conducting the consultation and took the opportunity to hold the special consultation with ICPA members and guests. The consultation was very well received. I expected lots of people to stand up and make their complaints known about their communication issues, but found that there were no crazy, irate people “going off”. Many stood up and said thank you and spoke of the good experiences they have had. I thought this was an extremely valuable consultation and I believe most would agree with me.

Conference motions continued so we could tie up loose ends and have them completed before the end of conference. All up, 89 motions crossed the floor. The majority were carried with only one or two being lost and a couple were withdrawn. We withdrew our SA State Council motion (A15) regarding lobbying the nbn to include all children studying via a recognised Distance Education port. It has now been confirmed that students studying kindy via RICE are eligible to receive the education port. Families need to provide their education ID number when applying to the service provider and it will then be signed off by nbn and the Department of Education.



At the very end of the conference we were treated to an advocacy forum – Building Bridges run by Kirsty Sparrow from Better Internet for Regional, Rural and Remote Australia (BIRRR). This forum was great! It was interactive and Kirsty gave us a phone number to text to be included in the forum’s interactive part. A question would be asked of us – kind of like a survey – and we would have to text A or B or a specific answer to the number. Our answers appeared on the big screen and we could see survey results almost instantly.  Kirsty spoke about lobbying, respect and shared an advocacy toolbox she has created and uses with BIRRR.

I thoroughly enjoyed this conference and it was fantastic to catch up with so many South Australian delegates in Canberra. Post Conference drinks were held on the top floor of QT with beautiful views of Canberra lights.
New friendships were made and we all had a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company after two pretty full on days. A few of us heard from home that it had been raining with a range of falls from .6mm to 15mm while we were away.

On Friday morning Emilee Warnest and I had breakfast in New Acton just across the road from QT and then walked some way around Lake Burley Griffin and headed over to Questacon, the National Library and MacArthur’s Rose Garden at Old Parliament House which was planted in 1937 to commemorate John MacArthur as the founder of the Australian merino wool industry. In 1938 Rosa Sibella MacArthur-Onslow donated a further fifty “Shot Silk” roses to honour her great-grandmother Elizabeth MacArthur and her pivotal role in the growth of the wool industry. Mrs MacArthur was responsible for managing the merino stock at the family estates in Camden and Paramatta during her husband’s long absences from NSW.

Our last stop was Parliament house before our evening flight back to Adelaide. Emilee and I were joined by my best friend Amy, who I met at boarding school in Adelaide. Amy had previously worked in Parliament as a media advisor and in communications. We were treated to a bit of different tour with our own private guide. Emilee said it was great to get some of the insider knowledge of Parliament house from Amy.

So that’s a wrap from me. I’m really looking forward to Federal Conference next year in Adelaide. I know we’re going to do a fantastic job!



Mija Reynolds                                                                      Joanna           Gibson                                              
SA Publicity Officer                                                  SA State Secretary   

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ICPA (Aust) Post Conference Media release