The members of CWA of NSW are, as I write, celebrating our annual Awareness Week with activities designed to increase your knowledge of the diverse range of deeds we apply our collective efforts to addressing and how we go about achieving results for our communities.
This year we are concentrating our efforts on two issues:
- To raise awareness of the existence of Lyme disease in Australia and advocate for more research, have it recognised as a legitimate medical condition by government and the medical fraternity and that more definitive diagnostic testing and treatment be made available in Australia as soon as possible
- To promote our support for and involvement with the WorkCover Alive and Well Campaign.
Lyme disease (borreliosis) is an infection caused by bacteria that infects humans from the bite of ticks that are infected with the bacteria. Because the disease is not recognised as being present in Australia it is often misdiagnosed as other serious conditions like Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Chronic Fatigue, Arthritis and Fibromyalgia.
The more I read about this debilitating and sometimes fatal disease the more convinced I am that CWA of NSW has made the right decision to support sufferers of the disease, many of whom have written to express not only their gratitude but also their frustration at a system that continues to fail them.
If you would like to read a little more or even offer support then have a look at Lyme Disease Association of Australia http://www.lymedisease.org.au/ and the Karl McManus Foundation http://www.karlmcmanusfoundation.org.au/
This year we are also raising awareness of the health and safety risks associated with working and living on a farm and have partnered with WorkCover NSW to support and promote their Alive and Well Campaign.
Country women spend a lot of time thinking, worrying and voicing their concerns about safety and many of us have been touched by safety incidents on our farms. For many of our members, farms are not only workplaces, they are our homes and children’s adventure lands.
Unfortunately, country people are sometimes averse to being given advice by those who do not work in the industry, so we are excited about the new approach being taken by WorkCover NSW to address safety on farms.
This campaign focuses on farmers (real farmers!) telling their stories about actual incidents on their properties that could have been avoided. The website http://www.aliveandwell.net.au also provides the opportunity for others to contribute their tales as well as advice and support and we hope that hearing from their peers will encourage our farmers to take their safety and their future, more seriously.
If anyone can tell a good story it’s a country woman and one of our State Vice Presidents, Annette Turner, will feature in media this week telling her story about some close calls on farm and when you live near White Cliffs (Google map it!) assistance is a long way off!
I encourage all women on the land to get behind the Alive and Well campaign by sharing their stories and encouraging their partners, husbands and children to do the same.
With over 10,000 active members across NSW, CWA of NSW will continue to raise awareness and drive change around issues important to our communities across the state.
CWA of NSW President, Tanya Cameron, was part of the regional launch of the Alive and Well campaign at Agquip (middle) with Peter Dunphy, WorkCover NSW; Fiona Simpson, President NSW Farmers; Mark Walters, Tamworth farmer who features in the campaign; and Kevin Anderson MP, Member for Tamworth