State Matters - 11 July 2022
AN ALREADY damp landscape and an East Coast Low weather system have combined for a further flood event which has impacted the Upper Hunter electorate.
The latest flood to saturate the Hunter region has received a prompt response from the NSW and Australia Governments with a state of natural disaster declared for the Singleton, Dungog, Muswellbrook and MidCoast council areas.
I urge any local homeowner, business owner or primary producer that suffered direct damage from the floods to apply for funding and support which is now on offer.
Affected landholders can access support through the Agriculture and Animal Emergency Services hotline on 1800 814 647.
The Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are working together to assist landholders and communities with animal welfare and agriculture related issues arising from the latest inundation.
ATAGI, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, has updated eligibility for additional (second) COVID-19 winter booster doses to help reduce serious illness from COVID-19.
People aged 50 years and over are now recommended to get an additional winter booster with people aged 30 years and over also eligible if they want it.
The interval between booster doses or following a recent COVID-19 infection is now three months.
Vaccine providers, including GPs and pharmacists, continue to provide free COVID-19
vaccinations to the broader community.
The Belmont mass vaccination hub is now closed with COVID-19 vaccinations and booster doses available at the Wallsend vaccination clinic, operating Monday-Saturday.
To book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment visit: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/vaccination/get-vaccinated/boosters
BUILDING INSURANCE REVIEW
Public submissions are being sought to help shape NSW Government reforms to improve the compulsory home building compensation insurance scheme for homeowners and builders.
The State Insurance Regulatory Authority (SIRA) discussion paper proposes a range of reforms that offer clear steps to strengthening the scheme’s support for homeowners when their dreams don’t go to plan.
Key proposals being considered include changing the amount of insurance cover offered by the scheme, allowing homeowners to claim earlier in the dispute process and changes to types of work that may be exempt from insurance, such as in high rise residential buildings.
Public consultation is open until 16 August with the discussion paper available at:
PLASTIC FREE JULY
The NSW Environment Protection Authority is delivering funding to community champions to inspire others to mark Plastic Free July.
The NSW government is partnering with 17 organisations to help communities around the state stop using single-use plastic.
Almost $900,000 in funding support for organisations including Girl Guides NSW, Kindergarten Union, Meals on Wheels NSW, Men’s Shed Association, University of Newcastle and the University of New England to educate communities to decrease the amount of plastic entering the environment as litter or landfill.
Lightweight single-use plastic bags were banned in NSW from last month with additional single-use items banned from November.
For ideas on how to stop it and swap it during Plastic Free July visit:
ESTABLISH THE CASE
The $24 million Regional NSW Business Case and Strategy Development Fund is helping to build a pipeline of investment-ready projects for future funding opportunities.
Local councils, joint organisations of councils, not-for-profit, industry and Aboriginal community groups can receive support with funding to develop business cases or strategies for regionally significant projects and initiatives.
There are two funding streams with up to $19 million for projects of Regional Significance and up to $5 million for Aboriginal Prosperity projects.
Applications must be submitted online via SmartyGrants before 24 August and include a quote from a suitably qualified third-party provider:
CLAIM THE DATE
Grab your diary and reserve February 1-12, 2023 for the NSW Seniors Festival.
Upper Hunter electorate organisations and community groups are currently being encouraged to apply for grant funding to host events and activities as part of the 65th annual Seniors Festival.
Local councils, community groups and not-for-profit organisations can apply for up to $10,000 to celebrate our state’s older people in recognition of the contributions they have made and continue to make to our great state.
Grants applications close 1 August with more details at www.nsw.gov.au/seniors-festival/about-contact
It will now be easier and more affordable for suppliers to do business with the NSW Government with an electronic signature mandate now in effect.
All NSW agencies will need to adopt electronic signatures for supplier contracts which is expected to deliver average savings of $36 per agreement.
The electronic signature capability will increase speed and efficiency by providing the option to automatically disclose digitally signed contracts.
These measures will eliminate manual processes and reduce the reporting workload improving compliance with contract reporting.
For more information on buy.nsw and electronic signatures visit https://buy.nsw.gov.au
Real estate and property service companies can now check and manage licences to easily stay on top of compliance obligations by using their Service NSW Business Profile.
The licence manager tool uses data from the public register of licence holders to notify a business owner when an employee’s licence is cancelled, surrendered, suspended, expiring soon or expired.
Businesses can also stay on top of construction and trade licences through the Service NSW Business Profile, making it easier than ever to track the accreditation of sub-contractors and employees.
Learn more or sign up for a Business Profile www.service.nsw.gov.au/business/business-profile or businesses can call 13 77 88 to speak with a Business Concierge 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday or book a call: https://mybusiness.service.nsw.gov.au/concierge
Community Housing providers will receive relief from rent rises in the private market with an immediate $7.5 million funding boost to keep properties available for social housing tenants.
The NSW Government’s additional investment will be used to retain rental properties that are home to families in social housing who have not been affected by the rising private market rents.
Around 500 properties in regional NSW including the Hunter, Mid North Coast and New England will be retained ensuring providers can continue to provide stable accommodation for those who need it most.
Currently, more than 5,900 leases are managed by Community Housing providers and an additional 1,750 properties leased by providers to deliver short-term crisis and transitional housing for people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
BURIAL AND CREMATION REVIEW
To ensure the people of NSW can access clearly defined, respectful and affordable burial and cremation services, the state government proposes to introduce licences for the interment industry.
Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW (CCNSW) is seeking feedback on the proposed Interment Industry Scheme.
Clearer industry standards aim to assure families that the cemetery or crematorium operator they deal with is licensed and abides by certain requirements as well as giving operators certainty around requirements they must comply with.
There are five ways to provide feedback by the end of July including participation in a community information webinar on 19 July 5.30-6.30pm, online consultation, survey, email and formal submission: www.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say/proposed-interment-industry-scheme