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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 15 January 2024


WHAT A WAY to start 2024 with the Aussie Hay Runners (AHR) returning to the Upper Hunter Shire this weekend.


Storms over the Christmas-New Year period delivered a welcome improvement to the countryside but the rainfall to provide run-off for farm dams remains elusive.


A convoy of 56 trucks loaded with 1,792 bales of premium hay to assist struggling farmers

rolls into Aberdeen early Friday afternoon for the third run to the Upper Hunter Shire.


On Friday night and Saturday morning, Aberdeen Lions Club will provide dinner and breakfast for the AHR volunteers and drivers ahead of Saturday’s deliveries to drop-off locations.


Again, the Upper Hunter thanks the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, Scott Stevens and Heyfield Lions Club, Ray Akers of Gippsland Hay Relief, Steve Carter and Denman’s Lions Club, Linda Widdup and her team of volunteers and the AHR’s large team of drivers.


Farmers who can assist AHR with donations of hay are encouraged to visit the Hay Runners



NSW Health Infrastructure has advised that the Muswellbrook Hospital Stage Three redevelopment team plans to release the construction tender early this year whilst the design is being finalising.


Construction timeframes will be confirmed once the tender for a builder and the design are completed.

The Stage Three scope of works includes a new operating theatre suite, a new sterilising department and relocation of community health into the existing hospital.


Plans are also being made to engage staff, the Aboriginal community and local residents to share more about the project including the hospital’s arts strategy.



One of Australia’s largest conservation facilities, which is located is the Barrington Tops between Scone and Gloucester, is welcoming the general public during the summer school holidays.


Aussie Ark has been prompted by popular demand to open its doors to showcase the largest population of both the endangered Tasmanian Devil and Eastern Quolls in the world, as well as Parma Wallabies, Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies, Rufous Bettongs and Long-nosed Potoroos.


Until January 31st Aussie Ark is open 10.30am–2pm and conducts tours at 11am and 12.30pm.


To find out more about the opportunity to meet some of Australia’s most endangered species at Aussie Ark, set high in the spectacular Barrington Tops visit:


Upper Hunter Shire will be the first recipient of a visit by the Service NSW Mobile Service Centre for 2024.


Murrurundi receives a Service stopover at 113 Mayne Street on Wednesday 31 January, 9am-3pm.


Driver testing appointments are planned when Service NSW returns to the Upper Hunter Shire Council at 135 Liverpool Street, Scone on Thursday, 1 February 9am-3pm.


For more on Mobile Centre services including applying for birth, death and marriage certificates, Working With Children Check applications and photo card applications and renewals, go to:



Prospective TAFE NSW students are encouraged to register for course information sessions being held over the next few weeks.

During the sessions you will learn more about the course, can speak with teachers and get the help you need to finalise your enrolment.


Information sessions are scheduled for Muswellbrook TAFE Thursday 18 January 5pm, Maitland TAFE Tuesday 23 January and Monday January 29, Scone CLC Tuesday 23 January, Singleton CLC Wednesday 24 January, Cessnock TAFE Wednesday 24 January and Thursday 1 February and Great Lakes TAFE, Tuncurry on Tuesday 30 January.


To secure your seat at your nearest participating campus or connect online got to:



The star-studded Premier's Gala Concerts are back in 2024 and bring together some of Australia’s finest artists to celebrate NSW seniors.


Free tickets are available from 9am Tuesday 23 January for the four concerts at the ICC Sydney Theatre (formerly Aware Super Theatre), Darling Harbour which will have a ‘purple’ dress code.


This year’s shows on Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 March at 11:00am and 2:45pm will see audiences enjoy performances by Damien Leith, Paulini, Darren Coggan and Julie Lea Goodwin.

The Premier's Gala Concerts are a highlight of the Seniors Festival during March 11-24 with hundreds of events state-wide including art classes, fitness and live music:



The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has launched a new map to improve heavy vehicle access, efficiency and decision making.


The new National Network Map is now available on the NHVR website providing a single authoritative map to enable the heavy vehicle industry to route their journeys on approved networks.


It also has real time changes to road networks to ensure the availability of the most accurate network access information.


The regulator has a webinar recording on its website to provide a demonstration of the National Network Map and you can ask your questions directly of the mapping team or by contacted the NHVR Contact Centre on 13 NHVR (13 64 87) or email



Planned works to upgrade the Telstra mobile network at Denman are being carried out during the second half of January.


The mobile base station providing coverage to Denman township and surrounds, including the Mangoola coal mine, will receive additional infrastructure to improve 4G services and prepare for 5G, once the 3G network closes in June this year.


The first phase of disruptions occurs from Wednesday January 16 until Sunday 21 January between 7am and 5pm.


The network will be available on the Australia Day public holiday before the second phase of disruptions between Saturday 27 January and Wednesday 31 January.


Telstra says there is no impact on landline services, NBN internet service or the mobile coverage of other providers.



Expressions of interest are open for Farm Safety Training Week with Tocal College, Paterson offering 15 courses over five days.


Accredited courses available include machinery hygiene, chainsaw trim and cut, confined spaces, working safely at heights, tractors with attachments, side-by-side utility vehicles and quad bikes.


Limited positions are available for the courses being held at Paterson and Dungog over April 8-12 with funding available to eligible participants with the support of AgSkilled 3.0.


To check eligibility, contact Karen Stevenson at, with more course information at:


Australian Red Cross Lifeblood will have its Mobile Donor Centre on the road in the Upper Hunter electorate during the next month.


From Saturday 17 to Tuesday 20 February, the donor centre will be at Terrace Central on the corner of Sturgeon Street and Glenelg Street, Raymond Terrace.


Gloucester hosts the mobile centre for donations on Thursday 29 February at Billabong Lane with Dungog Memorial Bowling Club the location on Friday 1 March.


Further information on being donor is available by calling Lifeblood on 131495 or visit:


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