ONE OF the state’s most influential pressure groups will rally behind Wagga grandparents in a bid for long-awaited recognition.
Riverina’s Country Women’s Association (CWA) branch will fight for grandmothers and fathers to be acknowledged as family in what has been labelled their most “personal” motion yet.
Under current NSW legislation, senior relatives caring for children are branded as “foster carers” and are subjected to grueling Family and Community Services (FACS) scrutiny, medical assessments, criminal history checks and training.
President Ann Adams claims a number of CWA members have been disheartened by their informal carer status.
“If you’re a grandparent and you want to take your child for a holiday out of the state, you have to get permission from the appropriate departments,” she said.
“This is unfair and humiliating.
“We will advocate for all grandparents raising grandchildren to be acknowledged and recognised as family and not as foster carers or a sub group of foster carers.
“As it stands, this is a very sad predicament.”
CWA members will forward the motion during the annual NSW State Conference, running from May 22 to 25.
It comes just weeks after more than 80 of Wagga’s oldest generation and their supporters took their political fight to Baylis Street.
Struggling grandmother Joanne Crowe took custody of her grandson after his mother was admitted to a drug rehabilitation facility.
She desperately hopes the CWA’s push will deliver a “wake up call” to the state government.
“We are fighting every week to keep above water and give our grandson everything he deserves,” she said.
“We are not setting out to cause trouble or make a disturbance, we just want to be able to care for him like any other parent.
“These past few years have been so hard on us.
“Hopefully this will lead to our big break.”
CWA’s second motion will advocate for a “more envisioned” service of Australia Post.
Ms Adams said Australia Post’s decision to conduct Wagga’s sorting in Canberra was the final straw.
“The postal prices have risen but our service has gone backwards,” she said.
“These are the big issues for us.”