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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 13 November 2023


A WELCOME weather change across the Upper Hunter Electorate over the past week as the parched and, in some cases, scorched landscape received overdue rainfall.

With the recent grass and bush fires making way for thunderstorms and occasional downpours, the NSW Rural Assistance Authority is reminding farmers about the need to report damage.

If your property is affected by a natural disaster, it is important that you report any damage, when it is safe to do so.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries' Natural Disaster Damage Assessment is an online survey for farmers to report livestock, crop and infrastructure damage.

The data helps government agencies to understand the scale and regional distribution of a disaster on agriculture, plan for recovery activities and target resources and assistance in an area.


The Heritage Council of NSW next week discusses the heritage listing of the Ravensworth Homestead complex located in Hebden Road, Singleton.

When the council met in December last year it resolved to give notice of the intention to consider listing Ravensworth Homestead Complex and its Setting on the State Heritage Register.

The Heritage Council has advised it will now consider the matter on Tuesday 21 November using all submissions and annexures to submissions previously made on the matter.

Once it decides on whether-or-not to recommend the listing to the Minister for Heritage the decision will be published on the Heritage Council’s website.


NSW Health is stepping up public advice about ensuring NSW remains COVID-safe.

COVID-19 cases are increasing with emergency department presentations rising across most age groups, particularly young children and those aged 65-years and older.

Hunter New England Local Health District had the highest confirmed cases outside of the Sydney area with 333 reported by the NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the fortnight ended 4 November, lifting the 2023 total to 35,746.

Influenza is at moderate levels and has not returned to inter-seasonal levels with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) activity at low levels and declining.

To stay COVID-safe ensure your COVID-19 vaccination is up to date, get together where there is fresh air, stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms and wear a mask if you leave home.

For more on staying COVID-safe, visit:


National Recycling Week is here with this year’s theme - ‘What Goes Around Comes Around.’

It’s a time to educate and empower the community to do the right things when you use your yellow-lid bin or have items for Community Recycling Centres in Scone, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Gloucester, Maitland and Cessnock.

‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ has a focus on how to recycle right, reduce waste, and engage with positive sustainable actions at home, work, and in your community.

Return and Earn has now seen over 10 billion cans and bottles recycled putting money back in our pockets as well as creating space in recycling bins for additional items which are listed on your local council website.


The Rail Motor Society Incorporated, Paterson is preparing to celebrate a milestone for a member of its fleet.

Sunday 17 December marks 100 years since Railmotor CPH3 first entered service with NSW Railways with a celebratory day being held at the Paterson Depot and Museum.

The Society’s website records that the 42-foot Rail Motor emerged from plans by NSW Railways to build a self-propelled passenger vehicle for use throughout the state.

They were known colloquially as ‘Tin Hares’ due to their introduction at the same time as the tin hare into greyhound racing.

The celebration will include four returns between the depot and Telarah timed for at 10am, 11.30am, 2.15pm and 4pm.

For more on The Rail Motor Society and Railmotor CPH3 visit:


The first tranche of foreign licence holders has converted to a NSW Driver Licence over the past four months.

Almost 20,000 foreign licences were surrendered although some others were taken off the road after running up enough demerit points to lose their licence.

Overseas drivers can be stripped of their driving privileges permanently if they accrue 13 demerit points or are convicted of certain speeding, drug and alcohol or serious driving offences.

Under the current regulation only drivers moving to NSW since 1 July this year must convert their licence but the Minns Labor Government has indicated it wants all drivers on overseas licences in future to be directed to convert their licence.


Transgrid has completed a comprehensive annual bushfire prevention program in preparation for the arrival of summer next month.

The program included a 3D laser aerial survey of easements across the entire network using LiDAR technology to identify vegetation growing too close to high voltage transmission lines.

An extensive vegetation management program was also conducted by on-ground teams assessing and mitigating potential vegetation encroachments.

Transgrid says it works closely with the NSW Rural Fire Service and local Bush Fire Management Committees to ensure that any risks of bushfire are managed, thus ensuring continuity of electricity supply.

For further information on Transgrid’s bushfire prevention program go to:


Service NSW’s Mobile Service Centre visits Stroud, Clarence Town and Paterson next month.

The mobile centres provide similar services to the physical sites including Driver Licence, photo card applications and renewals, Working With Children Check applications and applying for birth, death and marriage certificates.

Service NSW stops in Cowper Street Stroud on Tuesday 12 December,10am-3pm.

Grey Street Clarence Town is the Mobile Service Centre’s location on Wednesday 20 December, 10am-3pm, then Duke Street Paterson on Thursday 21 December, 9am-12pm.

Payment can be made by personal or bank cheque, EFTPOS, credit or debit card - A merchant fee may apply when paying by credit or debit card.

Further Mobile Service Centre information is available at the Service NSW website:


Fire and Rescue NSW firefighters are encouraging Upper Hunter residents to use recycling options available to consumers to dispose of lithium-ion batteries.

Batteries can be taken to a Community Recycling Centre or dropped off at a dedicated recycling point at many retailers including Coles, Woolworths, Bunnings and Officeworks.

Station Officer Sebastian Jacobs of Muswellbrook Fire Station advises that products with batteries embedded in them like mobile phones, laptops and power tools should be disposed of at an e-waste recycling facility or e-waste drop-off event.

Signs to watch for with lithium-ion batteries are swelling or bulging, leaks, cracks or punctures and overheated batteries that may emit vapours or smoke.

For more advice visit:


A new Volunteer Charter has been launched to support and recognise the contributions of the state’s 4.3 million volunteers.

The NSW Government developed the Charter, in consultation with the volunteering sector, in response to recommendations of the NSW Volunteering Taskforce.

It sets out a clear code of conduct organisations can adopt to grow and support volunteering and contains 10 guiding principles spanning the volunteer journey that can be adapted to different needs and complements existing codes of conduct.

A companion document provides guidance on how each principle can be implemented.

More information on the NSW Volunteer Charter and the NSW Volunteering Strategy 2020 to 2030 is available at:


Singleton Public Library now has an interactive aged care resource hub to access information about aging and aged care reforms.

Singleton is one of just 25 locations in Australia selected to host the federal government’s pilot program which is sharing information until Christmas.

Pamphlets are available for people to pick up from the hub or visitors can access the hub’s website through a supplied iPad with library staff on hand to support people accessing the hub.

An important function of the hub is gathering feedback from people approaching their senior years, seniors, family members and carers about what quality aged care looks like to them.

For more information about the Ageing and Aged Care Engagement Hub visit:


Aussie Ark has a fundraising target of $46,529 for the continuation of critical insurance populations, protecting and restoring habitat and rewilding lost species.

Twenty-three businesses are being sought to commit $2,023 each towards the conservation effort in the Barrington Tops.

Funds raised will be used to help Aussie Ark protect wild spaces, monitor and feed endangered and threatened wildlife, reforest and build habitats and manage threats including noxious weeds, fire and feral predators.

Businesses that can answer the call and take a stand for wildlife in Australia should go to:


The NSW Department of Primary Industries is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the NSW Aboriginal Fishing Advisory Council (AFAC).

Four coastal and inland regional membership positions are available with the EOI process also creating a talent pool for other regional vacancies that may arise.

NSW DPI also wants input on the Draft Trout Cod Action Plan with comment required by this Friday, 17 November.

Threatened Species staff and Fisheries Scientists are visiting Wagga Wagga, Barooga, Bathurst and Queanbeyan this week for information sessions with the latest available science and population status.


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