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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 14 November 2022


COVID-19 UPTICK


NSW HEALTH advises a new wave of COVID-19 is currently being experiencing, with positive cases and hospital admissions increasing across the state.


The weekly NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ended 5 November, shows Hunter New England Local Health District had 1,280 notifications with 23 admissions to hospital, taking Hunter New England’s total COVID-19 cases for this year to 373,956.


While mask wearing is no longer mandatory in NSW, we are being urged to be cautious to protect each other from COVID-19 circulating in the community.


NSW Health suggests putting on a mask when indoors or in crowded places, such as on public transport or at social and sporting events.


For further advice on keeping COVID safe, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe


RURAL CRIME OP


Rural Crime Investigators have targeted the movement of stock, illegal hunting and the safe storage of firearms within vehicles and premises during their latest Upper Hunter operation.


Officers from Hunter Valley, Orana/Mid-Western, Manning/Great Lakes, Richmond and Chifley police districts participated in Operation Fleece.


Over three days police conducted 15 safe storage inspections and two Firearm Prohibition Order (FPO) searches within the Merriwa and Cassilis area.


Thirty traffic infringement notices and two companion animal infringement notices were issued during the operation, as well as infringement notices to people transporting sheep, cattle and pigs which were allegedly not compliant with biosecurity legislation.


Investigations under Operation Fleece are continuing.


VEP EXTENDED


The NSW Government Veterans Employment Program will be extended for another four years to help veterans transition from military service to civilian life.


The Veterans Employment Program will now continue through to the end of 2026, with a new goal of helping an additional 2,000 veterans find employment within the NSW Public Sector.


This program, instrumental in helping our veterans enjoy a smoother transition from military service to civilian life, enables the state government to retain the skills, knowledge and experience of our outstanding former service personnel.


The program has been a resounding success consistently exceeded its employment targets with the latest target of 1,000 veterans employed reached in March 2021 - 18 months ahead of schedule.


The NSW Office for Veterans Affairs administers the program with more information at; www.vep.veterans.nsw.gov.au


SERIOUS ROAD CRIME REVIEW


THE NSW Law Reform Commission has been asked to review and report on matters relating to serious road crime and the experiences of victims of serious road crime and their families.


The review will look at whether existing laws remain fit for purpose and the terms of reference will allow the Commission to consider whether new offences or stand-alone legislation is required.


As the State’s independent law reform advisory body, the NSW Law Reform Commission plays an important role in independently scrutinising the operation of our laws and justice system and advising on reform.


Attorney General Mark Speakman has asked that consideration be given to the use of the term ‘accident’ in sentencing remarks and the impact this language has on the family members of a loved one killed as a result of road crime.


BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY


Eligible businesses can now register as an approved provider for the Premier’s Back to School NSW program.


All businesses that stock school supplies are encouraged to register as a provider as soon as possible, to ensure all families can take advantage of the program before the 2023 school year begins.


Three $50 Premier’s Back to School NSW Vouchers are available for each child enrolled to attend a public or non-government school next year and can be spent on supplies at any registered business.


The Back to School vouchers will be available for parents to download and use from December with further details to be announced shortly.


For information on how business can register for the program go to; www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-a-business-for-back-to-school-vouchers


DON’T FORGET THE SENIORS


Businesses registration for the NSW Seniors Card program is now faster and more efficiently online, with the new digital process officially going live.


Until now, businesses were required to submit paper forms and wait up to four weeks to get approved to join the program with on average just fifteen new businesses added each month.


The new and improved digital registration process will save businesses time and make it easier for them to update their discounts and business details.


Since launching the Digital Seniors Card in April, an average of 24,000 seniors have joined the program every month with a customer satisfaction rate of 90 per cent.


Businesses can register by calling Service NSW on 13 77 88 for assistance or go to the Service NSW website www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-be-nsw-seniors-card-program-participating-business


LITERACY FUNDING


Literacy for Life Foundation has received $1.5 million in NSW Government funding to lift adult literacy levels in Aboriginal communities across the State.


The funding will support the Aboriginal Adult Literacy Campaign to deliver community-led outcomes in line with local community needs and issues which have been identified.


This funding will allow Literacy for Life to make a significant impact in Aboriginal communities with many adult students signing up to improve their reading and writing so they can assist their children’s education.


The NSW Government is committed to investing in outcomes for all Aboriginal people and communities to prosper and thrive across the state.


WAR MEMORIAL GRANTS


Community groups can make an application for funds to conserve the state’s community war memorials under the current round of the NSW Government’s Community War Memorials Fund.


Round two is open until 13 February 2023 with $125,000 available to support the repair, protection and conservation of community war memorials across the state.


Grants of up to $10,000 are available to help with projects like conservation assessments, honour roll restoration, and repairs to war memorial structures and halls.


To be eligible for funding, the memorial must be listed on the NSW War Memorials Register www.warmemorialsregister.nsw.gov.au


Get more information about the Community War Memorials Fund and access the application form at; www.veterans.nsw.gov.au/grants


PUBLIC LIBRARY SUPPORT


More than $165 million will be invested into NSW public libraries over the next four years with residents to benefit from improved access to books and information.


The annual funding package includes $30 million to local councils to improve collections and services, a $6 million capital grants program, $2 million in internet connectivity support and a range of targeted programs.


State Librarian John Vallance welcomed the news on behalf of NSW’s 364 public libraries.


Public library funding is administered by the State Library of NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.


RECYCLING RESULTS


Data from the latest report card on the state government’s Waste Less Recycle More program details the outcomes of more than 3,000 state government-supported projects in the waste and resource recovery sector.


It includes the 97 Community Recycling Centres collecting 16,452 tonnes of household problem waste and 17,367 tonnes of unwanted chemicals being dropped off at clean out events.


Return and Earn delivered $800 million in refunds with more than $35 million in donations to community groups and charities since commencing in 2017.


The NSW Government’s new $356 million Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy will tackle plastic waste, boosting infrastructure investment, lowering carbon emissions and protecting the community from waste pollution.


Grant funding opportunities under the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy are available at; www.epa.nsw.gov.au/working-together/grants


To view the Waste Less Recycle More report card visit; www.epa.nsw.gov.au/your-environment/recycling-and-reuse/waste-less-recycle-more

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