rian Women on Water, Topical Water Issues Forum in Sale, Victoria Victorian Women on Water, Topical Water Issues Forum in Sale, Victoria
 

Background

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 increased understanding.

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 making processes.

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.

Gippsland Women’s Network - Mary Salce (03) 5149-8366
Wellington Shire Council - Sharon Fowler (03) 5142-3327

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Copyright © Victoria Women on Water in association with Gippsland Women's Network September 2004