5 November, 2021
ICPA President cites borders and connectivity among key issues at 50th anniversary
TO CELEBRATE 50 years of service, the Isolated Children’s Parents Association held this year’s Annual General Meeting in Longreach.
Due to border closures, many interstate representatives were forced to stay home opting instead to live stream the event.
Voting on the various motions put forward during the conference was done both online and in person.
President of the ICPA Alana Moller said, despite these challenges, the event had gone “swimmingly”.
“We had some concerns leading up to it [the AGM] with border closures and whatnot,” she said.
“It was a challenge getting to where we are – we were supposed to have the conference in July.
“So we were certainly behind in our organising – but it went as well as we could have possibly asked for.”
Ms Moller said Longreach was a fitting location for the 50thanniversary.
“Longreach worked beautifully for us,” she said.
“ICPA is an iconic organisation and Longreach is an iconic spot.”
Despite the event's success, Ms Moller said ICPA will not be aiming to replace face-to-face meetings into the future.
“Particularly when you live geographically isolated, it’s great to come together for a conference,” she said.
“It was not possible this year with the current set of circumstances.”
During the COVID-era, interstate boarding school students have had to face a number of unique challenges including difficulties when returning home during school holidays.
The ICPA have lobbied hard to alleviate this issue, and it was a hotly discussed topic at the conference.
“We understand [that struggle], and we’ve been working on that quite strongly up until now,” Ms Moller said.
“These students and their parents are just so frustrated, and we continue to try to find some solutions.”
Another issue that the ICPA is constantly working on, and was discussed at the AGM, is that of connectivity - both data and voice.
Ms Moller said the ICPA is constantly working with Telstra and NBN on working through those issues.
“We have good working relationships with those sorts of groups,” she said.
“Often we can come up with solutions.
“It’s just about connecting with the right people and putting our message out there.”
Ms Moller believes the struggles, she and her constituents face, are becoming more relatable for inner-city parents in a post-COVID era.
“Mainstream, urban families have had to homeschool their kids and haven’t exactly loved it,” she laughed.
“Our families have been doing that for generations, and our members feel that we’re at a stage where there is perhaps a bit more recognition out there as to how challenging it is.
“We would love to see from out of this that the role that our geographically distant families are more valued, recognised, and supported.”
There was no formal discussion on the Longreach School of Distance Education accommodation rooms which were sadly closed in 2016, but Ms Moller said it was an issue the ICPA is always looking into.