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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 12 December 2022


FEE-FREE TAFE


A LANDMARK 12-month skills agreement has been signed between the Australian and NSW Governments to address the current skills shortage and deliver fee-free TAFE and more vocational education places.


It will provide immediate support through approximately 120,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education and training (VET) places in 2023.


The course list will see fee-free places in the care sector, technology and digital, agriculture, construction, hospitality and tourism, sovereign capability, and other priority sectors including foundation skills.


The agreement confirms TAFE’s central role in the VET sector with all governments also agreed on a vision and guiding principles for longer-term VET reform to commence in 2024.


For more information on fee-free TAFE including eligibility criteria applies for selected certificates and diplomas visit; www.tafensw.edu.au/fee-free-short-courses.


SUBSIDENCE REVIEW


The Coal Mine Subsidence Compensation Act 2017, which covers ground movement caused by underground coal mining known as mine subsidence, is currently being reviewed by the state government.


Past and present coal mine operators, property owners and residents in mine subsidence districts, industry organisations and anyone interested in property and compensation are encouraged to provide input.


In NSW, property owners can lodge a claim for compensation if their property is damaged by mine subsidence such as damage ranging from jammed doors and cracks in walls, to structural damage.


The review covers the relevance of the objectives of the Act, compliance and enforcement of the Act, the coal mine subsidence compensation system and development regulation for mine subsidence districts to make sure the laws are still appropriate and fair for everyone.


Public consultation is open until 19 December; www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/mining-subsidence.


STAY UP TO DATE


NSW Health has issued a reminder as we head into the festive season, when more people are out and about, to check that your COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date.


The Moderna Bivalent vaccine, which specifically targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant, is available for people aged 18-plus but it can take a couple of weeks for the vaccine to start working.


For the week ended 3 December, the NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report showed that

37,088 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 including 4,387 in the Hunter New England Local Health District, which was up from 3,513 the previous week.


There were 35 COVID-19 deaths in NSW for the week with eight in Hunter New England.


If you are due for a booster find a vaccination clinic near you at; www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/vaccination.


MANUFACTURING FUND


A new Future Industries Investment Program aims to drive growth in emerging industries and ensure NSW remains at the cutting-edge of modern manufacturing.


The $30 million program will focus on attracting more investment in industries such as medical technology, digital systems, clean energy, defence and aerospace.


The program forms part of the state government’s response to the Modern Manufacturing Taskforce’s report which is available online; www.investment.nsw.gov.au/living-working-and-business/modern-manufacturing/


The Future Industries Investment Fund is an open, competitive grant program that will provide rebate support for eligible businesses that create a minimum of 20 ongoing net new full-time equivalent jobs in NSW; or invest a minimum of $3 million in capital expenditure excluding program assistance.



BASC VOUCHERS


Parents of school-aged children, including those starting Kindergarten in 2023, now have an opportunity to claim a $500 voucher for Before and After School Care (BASC).


Parents, who haven't already downloaded and redeemed a BASC voucher, are encouraged to apply before the summer holidays are over to help cover the cost of vacation care.


Every family with a child going into Kindergarten next year is able to download and redeem their voucher until 31 January if they have not yet done so.


Parents and carers can register and apply online via a MyService NSW account or by visiting their nearest Service Centre; www.service.nsw.gov.au/basc-voucher.


COVID-19 FINES


Following a legal challenge to penalty notices for contraventions of COVID-19 Public Health Orders, the Commissioner of Fines Administration has decided to exercise statutory power to withdraw two types of Public Health Order fines.


The notices withdrawn were issued to individuals and companies for ‘Fail to comply with noticed direction in relation section 7/8/9 - COVID-19'.


This decision does not mean the offences were not committed.


The remaining COVID-19 fines are not affected by this decision and will still be required to be paid if not already resolved.


For information regarding the court decision and the impact on fines, please see;


ONLINE SHOPPER WARNING


Internet shoppers are being urged by the NSW Government to stay alert and follow the steps required to keep their personal information safe this festive season.


The holiday period is a popular time for cybercriminals to target busy online shoppers, as people search the web for a Christmas bargain.


If you think a site could be fake, do a search for other web pages or profiles by that seller and compare logos, business names, URL addresses and contact details to ensure they match.


Other steps to stay safe online include not clicking directly on links, particularly from unsolicited texts and emails, and avoid saving credit card details to websites.


ID Support NSW has been established to assist customers who have had their government-issued proof of identity stolen and make it easier to access the help needed as well as tips for keeping yourself safe online.


Connect with ID Support NSW at; www.nsw.gov.au/id-support-nsw


TAP ON, TAP OFF


The Opal network has posted 4.5 billion tap-ons as the revolutionary electronic ticketing system turns 10.


The NSW Government will build on Opal’s success with the investment of $568 million over the next five years to deliver a new state-of-the-art Opal system, Opal NextGen.


More than 56 million Opal cards have been issued giving commuters easy access to the

public transport network, with the rollout of Opal NextGen to see travel from A to B on public transport and other transport services to become even more seamless.


To plan your trip on public transport download the Opal Travel app or visit transportnsw.info; https://transportnsw.info.


WATCH AT HOME


Tickets to the highly popular Seniors Christmas Concerts may be already gone, but seniors can still watch the show free from the comfort of their own home.


This year’s concerts at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre in Nowra have a line-up of featuring Rhonda Burchmore, Rob Mills, Lorenzo Rositano and Siobhan Clifford.


The concert stream is for residents of NSW only, who are over the age of 60, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples over the age of 50 and people over the age of 50 that have a lifelong disability.


Seniors can live stream the concert for free on Tuesday 13 December at 2pm by registering online at Humanitix; https://events.humanitix.com/2022-nsw-seniors-christmas-concerts-live-stream.


SENIORS DIARY


The free 2023 Legal Topics for Seniors Diary is now available featuring tips on avoiding scams, planning for retirement, making a will and getting financial help.


Produced annually by Legal Aid NSW, next year’s diary includes practical tips and information about common issues impacting seniors.


The latest edition will help seniors to understand their rights and details where they can access advice and support if experiencing discrimination, elder abuse or financial exploitation.


Seniors can collect the diary from their State Member of Parliament’s office, local Legal Aid NSW office, local Library or via the Legal Aid website; www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/publications/order-a-publication.

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