The objectives of the Gippsland Regional Women's Conference
'Women On The Move' held at Sale on the 19th November 2003, was to bring together
local women to debate current issues, network and identify ways to work together
to lead their own communities' development. The attendance of approximately 200
women from the greater Gippsland region and beyond demonstrated the enthusiasm
that women have for learning more about issues such as water management and utilisation.
It also demonstrated that where high quality information is presented people will
attend, contribute to productive discussions, and take away great motivation towards
Participants were requested to complete a one page evaluation
form. Of the 208 participants, 87 returned completed forms. The feedback from
participants was overwhelmingly positive. They found the information presented
in the Water Workshop to be very useful and it motivated people to become more
involved at the local level. Participants quoted an increased awareness of issues,
and greater feeling of confidence to participate in local groups and decision
An outcome of the conference resulted in the Regional Women's
Advisory Council, appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson
MP, hosting a National Women & Water Forum in Armidale on the 4th & 5th
May 2004. A group of prominent women from across Australia attended, engaging
women on one of the most important issues facing both urban and regional Australia
today - the way that our nation's precious water resources are managed and used.
The Women & Water Forum also helped to build the capacity for women and communities
to continue to be engaged in water issues over time.
The Armidale conference group also committed to ongoing
advocacy for change within their own communities, and to lobby governments to
resolve this critical national issue. One objective identified was for all urban,
rural and regional communities to work in partnership with governments and industry
to ensure a sustainable future for our water resources. The National Women &
Water forum called upon State governments to follow up the Forum with water workshops
for women in each State. The intent would be to provide an important opportunity
for further engagement by women and communities on this critical issue.