ASSOCIATION SPOTLIGHT

Coffs Harbour TA

Number of members: Approximately 600
President: Deanne Ions
Secretary: Kathy Flanagan

Where and when do you meet? We meet on the second Monday after State Council at 4.30pm at Club Coffs.

How would you describe the area and community covered by your association? The Coffs Harbour TA covers a very conservative blue ribbon National Party seat. The National Party holds the State seat of Coffs Harbour and the Federal seat of Cowper; both are typically very safe seats. The Coffs Harbour TA covers schools between Bonville PS in the south to Corindi in the north out to Glen Reagh, Nana Glen and Coramba. The Coffs region is generally regarded as a low SES with higher than average unemployment.

What issues and challenges do your association face? The main challenge is to get the message heard by teachers that every member is welcome to attend meetings.

What are the teacher demographics? The demographics of our teachers are gradually becoming broader as our more experienced teachers retire. Over the past couple of years the association has witnessed a huge change in attendees at meetings due mainly to retirement. We are seeing younger members attending TA meetings.

What is your association focusing on at the moment? Gonski continues to be the Coffs Harbour Association’s main focus as well as recruiting new members.

What is the best thing your association has done in the past five years? Our association has proudly supported Gonski, held rallies at Brelsford Park in Coffs Harbour city centre and marched to our local MP, Andrew Fraser’s office on numerous occasions. A memorable moment was the march with comrades from across the public sector to Andrew Fraser’s office over the state Public Sector Wages Policy.

What are your meetings like? Our meetings are very democratic: every member is given the opportunity to discuss issues pertinent to their own schools. Our numbers fluctuate between eight and 25 members.

How do you try to attract members to meetings? Attracting members to attend CHTA meetings is a challenge. We are slowly gaining traction in breaking down the mentality that only Fed Reps attend meetings and strongly encourage all teachers who are members to attend association meetings.

Have you held any special events lately? Over the past number of years the Coffs Harbour Teachers Association has held life membership dinners, Teachers Supporting Teachers information evenings and hosted a number of information sessions for both teachers and the community on current issues.

What does your executive structure look like? Our association structure consists of the President, two Vice Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Women’s Contact, Aboriginal Education Contact and Casual Teacher Contact.