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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 1 July 2024


THE NSW Liberals and Nationals have questioned the Minns Labor Government in both houses of parliament over why the Working with Children Check and the NDIS Worker Check fees are set to increase.

Budget Paper One announced the decision to quote “re-baseline from $80 to $105 in 2024-25 and then index by the consumer price index (CPI) annually thereafter.

“This measure is expected to increase revenue by $46.5 million over the four years to 2027-28 to support the activities of the Office of the Children’s Guardian.”

The most recent Office of the Children's Guardian annual report for 2022-23 states that 1.9 million people hold a Working with Children Check (WWCC).

Adults employed in child-related work in NSW must have a WWCC with the clearance lasting for five years.

The Office of the Children’s Guardian was advising late last week that the date for the increase to take effect is not yet known:



Planning approval has been granted by the NSW Government for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) transmission project.

The Central-West Orana REZ is an initiative under the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap to deliver clean, affordable and reliable energy to households and businesses across the state.

Planning approval of the transmission lines means work can begin on construction and operation of around 240 kilometres of lines and supporting infrastructure within the 20,000 km2 area bounded by Dunedoo, Mudgee and Dubbo.


In order to proceed with the planning approval, the NSW Government has assigned nearly 100 approval conditions to support the rollout of the transmission project.

Financial close for the project is scheduled for the second half of 2024 with construction work expected from later this year:


Influenza activity is now at a high level in the Hunter New England Local Health District as its spread continues across the state.

The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ending 22 June advises COVID-19, Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) all remain at high levels of activity.


Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, and pneumonia continue to be unseasonably high in school aged children with high presentations to emergency departments (ED) for children and young adults with pneumonia, particularly those aged 5-16 years.


Hunter New England data for the latest reporting week saw Influenza post 830 cases, which is up from 489 the previous week, COVID remained at similar levels with 528 infections and RSV 233.


NSW Health advice is for everyone aged 6 months and over to get a flu vaccine by making a booking at your doctor, local pharmacy or Aboriginal Medical Service.



Singleton and Muswellbook councils are among more than 80 councils statewide to share in the latest funding from the NSW Government’s Get NSW Active program.

Singleton Council has more than $5 million for construction of a 1.5-kilometre walking and bike riding connection along Combo Lane and Wilkinson Boulevard to deliver entirely new transport options for people living in Singleton Heights and Hunterview.

The construction of a bridge over the Hunter River will provide a quiet route along Combo Lane to connect people directly to the Singleton CBD.

Muswellbrook Shire Council has $100,625 to design a shared path for Thompson and Kamilaroi Streets and Cassidy Avenue, South Muswellbrook.

The shared path would join the proposed path in Ruth White Avenue and Adams Street to also provide access to Calvary Retirement Community, and the retail businesses and the retail centres and services in Rutherford Road:



I want to commend the NSW Police Force Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and the Upper Hunter Liquor Accord for their ongoing commitment to young driver education.

Year 11 students from various high schools attended an annual seminar hosted by Muswellbrook High School on Wednesday 26 June.

The event is put together by the Liquor Accord allowing Hunter Valley Highway Patrol officers to talk to students about the impact alcohol and illegal drug use and the effect it has on driving.

A mock fatal crash scene at the conclusion of the presentation demonstrated a real-life scenario where Fire and Rescue NSW and Police explained what takes place when they arrive at a crash scene through to the attendance of crash investigators.

Can I also acknowledge Fire and Rescue NSW for the brigade’s efforts in demonstrating what it takes to extract a patient from a crashed vehicle using their rescue equipment.

Our police and emergency services personnel are highly trained for their job but we, as road users, must do our bit to ensure road safety is always top of mind not an after-thought.



The next phase of the NSW Pharmacy Trial commences on 12 July for people with common skin conditions to receive treatment from their pharmacist.

Eligible people can visit a participating Upper Hunter Electorate pharmacy to be treated by an appropriately trained pharmacist for impetigo or school sores, shingles, mild to moderate eczema and mild plaque psoriasis.

Under the trial, patients will not have to pay for the consultation but pay for the cost of medicines received as part of the treatment.

The University of Newcastle is leading the trial in association with the University of Technology Sydney, University of New England, Charles Sturt University, The George Institute for Global Health, Hunter Medical Research Institute and other professional organisations.

The trial closes at the end of February next year or when the maximum number of trial-supported consultations has been reached.



A webinar will be held this week as part of the remake of the Hunter Water Regulation 2015.

The NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is seeking feedback to support Hunter Water in its role providing services for drinking water, wastewater, recycled water, stormwater and to implement water restrictions.

You are required to register to attend the webinar on Thursday 4 July, 11am to 12pm, where Department staff will provide an update on the draft regulation and answer questions.

The regulation must be remade before 1 September to provide Hunter Water with the necessary authorisations for carrying out its key functions under the Hunter Water Act 1991.

To have your say by Sunday 14 July and book for the webinar visit:



It might seem like unusual End of Financial Year advice but the local constabulary could save you an unwanted deduction.


The NSW Police Force advice is for everyone to stay vigilant against tax-themed scam emails, SMS, and calls.


Ways to protect yourself include verifying suspicious calls or messages by contacting the Australian Taxation Office or MyGov directly and never click on links in unsolicited emails or texts.


Most importantly, report scams to Scamwatch and notify your bank immediately if you think you've been scammed.


For news and alerts on the latest scam activity check-in at:



Revenue NSW is holding more than $234 million for people which needs to be returned to its rightful owners.


Revenue holds payments, refunds, unpresented cheques, dividends and other money that organisations can’t track down as unclaimed money.


Typically, unclaimed money is referred to Revenue NSW when someone has moved address, changed their name, lost the relevant paperwork, changed banks or a relative has passed away.


Searching the unclaimed money register is easy and free – but, individuals who then want to get back unclaimed money will need to check they have the right supporting documents to prove their claim.


For more information on unclaimed money and to search the register, visit the Revenue NSW website



The NSW Government is trialling the first verifiable credential to be added to the state’s new Digital Wallet.

A partnership with St John Ambulance will see a group of first responders, employees and members have access to a Digital First Aid Certificate through the Service NSW app.

In the trial, participants who complete a first aid or CPR course with St John Ambulance NSW will have their qualifications sent to the new Digital Wallet on the Service NSW mobile app.

The Digital First Aid Certificate follows the launch of the digital renewal option for the Working with Children Check (WWCC) late last year with more than 21,000 people having now renewed their WWCC digitally.

Learn more about Digital ID at:


Tocal College is preparing to roll-out the welcome mat for prospective students to attend the 2024 Open Days.

On July 12 and 19, 10am to 3pm, the fulltime agriculture and traineeship programs will be in the spotlight at the Tocal Road faculty.

Prospective students will hear about the programs and the employment opportunities, meet the trainers, have an interview if you would like, and do a tour of the farms.

Information on the program and the application process are at:


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