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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 11 December 2023


NSW HEALTH and NSW Ambulance are asking us to ‘take it easy’ as scorching summer heat makes its presence felt.


Health’s advice for neighbours, family members or mates of older people and those living alone, who can be more vulnerable to the impacts of heat on their health, is to ensure they stay cool this summer.


Paramedics want everyone to avoid the outdoors in the hottest part of the day, use air-conditioning or electric fans and close your home before it gets hot and if you can’t be kept cool, seek out cool places or air-conditioned public facilities.


Two more important tips are stay hydrated by drinking water regularly before you are thirsty and when outdoors use sunscreen and wear a wide brim hat.


For Beat the Heat tips visit:



Expressions of Interest for new members to join the Tocal Advisory Council close next week.


The Council provides advice and input on Tocal College’s education programs, emerging industry needs and employment opportunities for graduates.


The voluntary role requires people passionate about agricultural education and training, and the future of agriculture, skills and experience in agriculture, land management or agribusiness and are available to participate in three meetings a year.


For further information see the Tocal College Advisory Council Terms of Reference and Operational Guidelines at


Expressions of Interest are to be emailed to by 20 December.



A public expression of interest process will also be conducted by the NSW Government for the appointment of a new Racing NSW chair and a member to replace outgoing Chairman Russell Balding AO, whose term ends on 18 December.


Racing NSW continues to make decisions and function as normal with a quorum still in place and the deputy chair, Dr Saranne Cooke, to preside at Racing NSW meetings.


Legislation provides that Racing NSW consists of the Chief Executive and seven other members appointed by the Racing minister from time to time.


The selection process to fill the chair’s role, as well as the member vacancy created by the end of Mr Balding’s tenure will begin this month.


Details about the EOI process will be available on the Office of Racing website



If you are currently unwell latest NSW Health data shows Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) activity are at low levels – but, COVID-19 is at moderate to high levels.


The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the fortnight ending 2 December says COVID-19 activity was stable across most indicators except for gene detections in sewage which continue to increase.


Hunter New England Local Health District data shows 367 reported COVID-19 cases for the two weeks taking the Year-to-Date total to 36,523 - with 84 reported Influenza and 55 RSV cases.


Health advice is to please stay home if you have any cold or flu symptoms, however, if you need to leave home wear a mask and do not visit high risk settings like hospitals, aged and disability care facilities or people at higher risk of severe illness.




The NSW Food Authority is advising most food businesses now have until 8 December 2024 to comply with new industry rules.


The new requirements mean most outlets that prepare and serve food need to have a qualified Food Safety Supervisor (FSS) and ensure their food handlers are trained and able to demonstrate safe food practices.


Existing food supervisors need to ensure other staff who handle unpackaged, potentially hazardous food have appropriate skills and knowledge in food safety and hygiene, with higher-risk businesses also required to show they are managing key food safety risks.  


The requirements do not apply to the handling or sale of food for fundraising solely for community or charitable causes, providing food free to the community, or to businesses licensed with the Food Authority.


Learn more at the NSW Food Authority website:



The NSW Heritage Strategy is now out for feedback allowing Heritage NSW to hear community aspirations on delivering a better future for our heritage.


Heritage includes the places, objects and stories we have inherited from the past and want to protect for generations to come.


It includes the tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal culture and landscapes, natural heritage, historic buildings and structures, gardens, precincts and cultural landscapes, archaeological sites, shipwrecks and intangible heritage.


A survey is being undertaken to gather insights and ideas on what is important to the community, key challenges facing heritage and opportunities to address.


You can complete the survey until 31 March 2024 at:



Comment closes next week on the design of the final route for the Hunter Transmission Project.


It is important the community seek information and have their say on the design of the proposed route being publicly exhibited until Monday 18 December.


The Hunter Transmission Project will transport electricity from the New England and Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zones to homes and businesses in the Hunter, Sydney and the Illawarra, as more clean, affordable energy comes online.


The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) has identified a 115- kilometre proposed corridor between Bayswater and Eraring which maximises use of government land and co-location with industrial and existing infrastructure.


For details about the project and to provide feedback, visit:



People aged 16 to 24 years, who live in the Singleton local government area, can now express their interest in participating in their local innovative emergency services internship.

The program designed to provide young people with basic emergency preparedness skills runs once a week, with four-hour sessions every Wednesday evening over eight weeks.


From 7 February next year participants will complete their first aid certificate and receive practical hands-on training with NSW Police, NSW Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance.


Limited places are available with expressions of interest closing on 31 January 2024, so visit:



Teachers are invited to book ahead for next year for the NSW Parliament’s fun and popular ‘Visit us at our House’ one-hour interactive Zoom videoconference program.


Every school in NSW can now participate and learn about Australia’s oldest Parliament and our system of government, from the comfort of their very own classroom.


The program is based on the History K–10 NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship.


The free, live program is specifically designed to engage Years 5 and 6 (Stage 3) primary school students and employs the skills of a professional actor and educator to bring to life the story of how Parliament works and how laws are made.


For bookings and available dates and times call 9230 2047 or email:



An all-new nationally significant exhibition is providing a colourful kaleidoscope of contemporary artworks at the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre.


52 Actions features physical and digital artworks by 52 leading Australian artists and collectives from across generations, geographies and cultural backgrounds which explore a range of social, environmental and cultural contemporary issues.


Showing alongside 52 Actions will be works by Singleton’s young emerging artists titled Upper Arts 23, which features Singleton High School students from years 10, 11 and 12.


52 Actions and Upper Arts 23 at Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre is free and everyone is welcome until 11 February 2024.



Opportunities to volunteer in our Upper Hunter Electorate communities are many and varied.


One you may not have considered is the NSW Ambulance Clinical Volunteer program which is only established in locations where NSW Ambulance has identified a definite need for a response capability.


Across 62 targeted areas including Upper Hunter these helpers can be first on the scene with medical equipment including defibrillators, attending to patients before registered paramedics arrive to continue the clinical care.


Fire and Rescue NSW has 5,000 volunteers serving in 512 Community Fire Units around the state.


For more on NSW Ambulance Clinical Volunteers go to: and the Community Fire Units by visiting the Fire and Rescue NSW website and click on Careers and volunteering:


Additional information on emergency volunteering in NSW is available at:


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