A series of town hall meetings that humbly began in rural NSW in 2017 will progress to the nation’s capital at Parliament House on February 13 with the health and well being of young children solely on the agenda.
Sponsored by Australian Community Media, publisher of this website, the town hall meetings were the brainchild of 95-year-old children’s charity Royal Far West, an organisation dedicated to improving access to care for children living with developmental delays in rural and regional communities.
RFW business director Jacqui Emery said the meetings were held in response to the findings contained in the organisation’s Invisible Children report, which detailed the overwhelming need of many families in the bush who struggle to navigate complex health systems.
“Based on what was in that report we felt that we also needed to wear our advocacy hat and that it was essential to better understand the lived experience of the families and communities we serve and to record the stories of the invisible children,” Ms Emery said.
Partnering in the talks – which began in Gunnedah in November 2017, before progressing to Macksville, Griffith and Parkes – was Charles Sturt University and the NSW titles of Australian Community Media.
Now the next stop is Canberra, where panelists will discuss why children in remote Australia are five times more likely to suffer developmental problems compared to city kids and that one in three country children are unable to access the health services they need.
The forum starts at 7pm in the Public Alcove of Parliament House, Canberra.