Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Agriculture advocate shares spirited advice with isolated parents

[May 2015]

The 43rd annual Isolated Children’s Parents Association (ICPA) WA Conference was held at the Ocean Beach Hotel Cottesloe on the 19 March 2015. Catherine Marriott was keynote speaker and workshop host, sponsored by Rangelands NRM.

Catherine Marriot addresses ICPA conferenceAround 90 people from across the state attended the conference, including pastoralists, farmers, education and agricultural industry representatives, sponsor representatives and Members of Parliament: the Hon. Sue Ellery MLC, Shadow Minister for Education, Children’s Interests, the Hon. Brian Ellis MLC, Member for the Agriculture Region, the Hon. Jacqui Boydell MLC, Member for Mining and Pastoral Region, and the Hon. Wendy Duncan MLC, Member for Kalgoorlie.

The conference theme was Sparkle, Passion, Imagination, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity (SPIRIT), chosen for consistency with promotions of the hosting Gascoyne Branch.

A passionate advocate for rural Australia and recently appointed as an ambassador for ICPA Australia, Ms Marriot was well equipped to talk on this theme.

Ms Marriot has worked in Australia and internationally in agriculture, and spoke of her passion for the role of Australian agriculture in feeding the world, caring for our country and providing opportunities for future generations.

An experienced and articulate presenter, her enthusiasm, common sense and good humour shone through in her presentation on the SPIRIT acronym, with a focus on using positive language and being conscious of the outcome you are seeking.

Ms Marriot reminded delegates of the importance of looking after yourself and others to keep your sparkle and build personal and community resilience.

You don’t have to do it on your own. To be resilient, it takes a community.

She said people can be passionate about a lot of things and become overwhelmed with it all but those who are most successful, stick to what they are passionate about.

On using imagination, Ms Marriot provided some practical advice on how to approach issues with politicians and others in negotiation to frame things not as problems, but areas of common interest to be addressed, and by always aiming to be solution oriented.

You have to be resourceful in the bush, to use your imagination to come up with creative ways to deal with the challenges you face.

“Pastoralists and farmers are very resilient people who live through all manner of economic, political and ecological changes and natural events,” she said.

You have always got people facing the same challenges. Days like these bring like-minded people together, helping to build resilience.

Ms Marriot thanked Rangelands NRM for a productive and informative afternoon and welcomed efforts to support pastoralists, farmers and other custodians of the country to build environmental resilience and sustainability.

It was a great to share ideas this afternoon and think about finding positive solutions to issues facing both ICPA and rural people generally.

The ICPA plan to implement some of the suggestions from the workshop, such as establishing a metro branch to continue links with members who have moved back to the city and working with education providers to cross promote services.

Catherine’s presentation to the 2015 ICPA WA Conference is available on the Rangelands NRM YouTube Channel.

Thanks to Alys McKeough, Carey Downs Station for this report.

Image and video:
Catherine Marriot addressing the 43rd annual ICPA WA Conference, courtesy of Alys McKeough.