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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 14 March 2022


I WANT to acknowledge everyone impacted by the latest rainfall event to deluge the

Upper Hunter Electorate including our hardworking emergency services and those cleaning-up property damage.

The Singleton, Upper Hunter and Dungog local government areas endured nervous times with rising river levels whilst some Gloucester businesses were inundated by floodwater as the east coast continued to be drenched.

Disaster declarations have now been made for the latest flood covering the Dungog, MidCoast, Muswellbrook Singleton, Upper Hunter and Mid-Western council areas.

For the latest on disaster declarations and assistance available visit:


The NSW Government has issued a warning to flood victims and residents across the state to be wary of flood recovery scams.

Previous natural disasters have seen rogue scammers engage in fraudulent behaviour such as setting up fake charities or ripping off flood victims via dodgy repair work.

If you are badgered or people behave in an intimidating or threatening manner to try to get a quote accepted, they should be asked to leave and if they refuse, contact NSW Police on 131444.

NSW Fair Trading is planning to have investigators and inspectors on the ground in areas impacted by floods to ensure residents are being protected.

To check the license details of a tradesperson, visit the Service NSW website

To contact NSW Fair Trading with a complaint, call 13 32 20 or visit the Fair Trading website


Despite the weather, women of the Upper Hunter Electorate were still able to shine through during NSW Women’s Week.

It was an honour to attend the NSW Women of the Year Awards in Sydney with our Upper Hunter Local Woman of the Year, Tracey Lowrey of Dungog.

Tracey received this year’s local award which recognises her volunteer work across the Dungog community assisting with education, sport, the Dungog Film Festival and Meals on Wheels.

Congratulations also go to Aberdeen professional dog trainer Erin Williams on being one of the five finalists for the 2022 NSW/ACT AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award with the winner to be announced next month.


Another highlight of the past week was hosting a visit by Minister for the Arts, Aboriginal Affairs and Regional Youth, Ben Franklin.

Minister Franklin officially open the newly completed Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre in Townhead Park.

The NSW Government partnered with Singleton Council contributing $2.8million from Create NSW towards this important $4.08 million cultural and tourism attraction.

The Minister also visited Singleton PCYC to present Nicholas Bailey with the 2021 PCYC NSW Male Young Person of the Year Award and officially announce Nicholas’ successful application to join the NSW Regional Youth Taskforce.


Upper Hunter Electorate councils and eligible not-for-profit organisations are encouraged to apply for funding to deliver events and activities during the upcoming April school holidays.

The NSW Government’s Holiday Break program will provide of up to $10,000 funding to all regional councils and eligible not-for-profits to cover the running of further youth events or extending youth services over Youth Week and the autumn holidays.

Holiday Break allows regional youth to overcome barriers to participation by providing free or heavily subsidised holiday activities, ensuring they are given equal opportunities no matter their postcode or family income status.

A range of activities including writing workshops, wellbeing camps and song making programs are already locked in for the upcoming holidays thanks to the Office for Regional Youth’s partnerships with the Office of Sport and Create NSW.


NSW Health is building on its COVID-19 vaccination efforts with an initiative to support thousands of people with disability to get vaccinated and limit their risk of infection.

The Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) is contacting over 37,000 NDIS participants or their nominees with specific information about vaccinations for people with disability and support to find the most appropriate vaccination clinics for them.

This will be followed by proactive outreach by telephone to see if further assistance can be provided with vaccination advice, where and how to book an appointment for vaccination and booster shots, or the locations of accessible vaccination hubs or low sensory clinics.

To find out more about Vaccination Information for People with Disabilities or those who are housebound call 1800 643 787 or visit:


As the Upper Hunter Show takes centre stage in Muswellbrook from Friday - Gresford and Merriwa are the latest to also benefit from the Country Shows Support Package.

Gresford District Agricultural Society has successfully secured $30,000 for building restoration work at Gresford Showground.

Merriwa PAH&I Association Inc. receives $14,944.33 to support the delivery of the 2022 Merriwa Springtime Show being held September 16-18.

Funding of up to $15,000 is available to small shows with an audience of less than 2,000 people across all event days, while medium and large shows can apply for up to $30,000 and $45,000 respectively.

Applications are open until Friday 29 April or when funding is exhausted with further information at:


Investment NSW has appointed the Hunter Defence Cooperative as a partner for a new program set to expand defence and aerospace capabilities.

The new $1.23 million Regional Defence Networks Program aims to make it easier for local businesses to expand and supply the defence and aerospace industry.

The three-year program will boost the state’s commitment to sovereign defence industry capabilities by driving business growth across four key regions including the Hunter, Western Sydney, Shoalhaven/Illawarra and Riverina-Murray.

This program is about turning local businesses from being ‘Defence Interested/Able’ to ‘Defence Ready’ and helping businesses understand the defence supply chain and identify that their offering has value and need.

Find out more about the NSW Defence and Industry Strategy at:


WaterNSW has opened nominations for the Coastal-Hunter and Namoi-Peel Valley Customer Advisory Groups (CAGs) to serve during the 2022-2025 term.

CAGs are the primary forum for WaterNSW to regularly consult, on an area basis, with a broad cross-section of its customers on issues relevant to the performance of the department’s obligations to customers under the WaterNSW Operating Licence or WaterNSW Customer Service Charter.

If you are a member of a water user group or represent a water industry group

you can participate in discussions about matters that impact you and other members of the association and community you represent.

To submit your nomination by Thursday 14 April or for any further enquiries please email


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