by Laura Telford
DELEGATES from throughout Queensland descended on St George for the Isolated Children's Parents' Association state conference, with connectivity issues the main priority across the two days.
Queensland Governor Paul de Jersey opened the conference by addressing delegates and guests.
"Children in regional and remote areas are fortunate the ICPA came to Queensland, whose main objective is equal justice for every isolated child,” said Governor de Jersey.
Fiona Nash, Deputy Leader of The Nationals and Minister for Regional Development and Regional Communications, said the conference was a great way for her to connect with people and understand the issues.
"Getting out on the ground to really understand the priorities is great. We can't fix everything but we can work in partnership and allow rural and regional people to have a conduit to advocate through,” she said.
A number of motions passed at the conference surrounded connectivity and internet issues, as well as rural children's ability to participate in extracurricular activities as provided to their city cousins.
Kate Scott, Roma ICPA secretary, said these days the association had a number of lobbying areas, not just issues surrounding boarding school financial assistance.
"Roma ICPA was approached by the South West School Sports board when the state carnival allocations were announced recently and neither the SW or NW region were given the opportunity to host any state sporting carnivals within either primary or secondary levels,” Mrs Scott said.
"We do have the ability to host carnivals but instead our students are expected to travel the state to attend carnivals, with virtually no financial assistance.”
Senator Pauline Hanson was also in St George for the conference and said now was the time to work with rural and remote communities.
"Personally I think that rural and remote communities are forgotten by the State and Federal governments,” she said.
"For the last 46 years in Queensland, the ICPA has been lobbying for changes to enrich and sustain communities. The people here at the conference are not asking for much but what they are asking for means so much, as they are doing it tough enough.”
State shadow education minister Tracy Davis said she had enjoyed her time in St George listening to the conversations of people who were championing for rural and remote education.
"I think it is very important to visit the south-west to get context around the communication issues facing those who live out here.
"I can read reports, but unless you come out and talk to people about the challenges they face every day, it is quite difficult to fully understand the issues,” Ms Davis said.