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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 16 October 2023


IF DRY WEATHER is impacting your farm then Local Land Services NSW (LLS) this week starts a series of webinars which could help you navigate the challenging times.

The opening program on Wednesday 18 October, 7pm-8.30pm, is Planning for dry times with Simon Quilty to provide a livestock market update.

The following three Wednesday nights cover navigating feeding and selling in a falling market, feeding sheep in dry times and feeding cattle in dry times.

Head to the LLS website or social media

for more information and to register.

In a temporary stock zone, drivers must give way to stock and all other animals and any vehicle accompanying the stock, however, stock cannot be left unattended in a stock zone – see more at:


The Minns NSW Labor Government has changed the amount of rain landholders in coastal-draining catchments, including those in the Upper Hunter Electorate, can capture and store in harvestable rights dams.

From 27 September, the 30 per cent which applied from May 2022 to the Water Sharing Plans for the Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources and the Lower North Coast Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources returned to 10 per cent.

The change will reportedly help the Department of Planning and Environment understand how much water is available in the catchments and what level of removal is sustainable in the long-term.

For more on the coastal harvestable rights changes: or contact Water Enquiries 1300 081 047 and email


All five recommendations from the Bus Taskforce First Safety Report ordered following the Greta tragedy over the June long weekend have been accepted by the NSW Government.

The initial report addresses key areas including a new safety campaign to promote seatbelt usage, possible speed restriction mandates for school buses and addressing risks for passengers standing on buses travelling in speed zones over 80 km/h.

Transport for NSW is launching the new safety campaign to educate passengers about the importance and legal requirements of wearing a seatbelt on a bus where one is available.

Transport will also consider whether the 80km/h rule for dedicated school bus services with standing passengers could be extended across all services and examine ways of reducing risks for those standing.

The government is awaiting the findings of future reports which will make further recommendations to address safety concerns that arose from the Greta crash.

Read the full first safety report on the Transport for NSW website:


Community members are encouraged to attend the NSW Government’s public Memorial Service to show support and honour the memory of the Greta bus tragedy victims.

The memorial at Singleton Showground this Saturday commences at 11am with all attendees asked to enter via either Gate 2 on Bathurst Street or Gate 4 on Church Street from 10am and be seated by 10.45am.

A ticket or registration is not required to attend, and the event will be live streamed on the NSW Government website.

Following the service, a free community barbecue will be held in partnership with local charitable organisations.


A community drop-in event on Wednesday 25 October hosted by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) will provide insights into the Bust the Dust initiative.

Bust the Dust puts Hunter Valley coal mines on notice as EPA officers monitor the mines over the drier months to ensure they are taking extra precautions to minimise dust.

The community drop-in is being held in at the Stan Thiess Centre in Hill Steet Muswellbrook, 5-7pm.

You’ll be able to speak with EPA experts, local council staff and other agencies to discuss dust-related concerns and other environmental issues facing the Hunter Valley.

Please register your interest in attending at:


Congratulations Gloucester High School on your success in this year’s NSW Parliament Short Film Award Competition, ‘Parli-Flicks’.

It was great to welcome Mitchell Davies, Alicia Martin, Isabel Jeffreys and drama teacher, Renee Berger, to Macquarie Street for the presentation of the Best Regional Film Award.

The award was presented by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Lake Macquarie MP, Greg Piper, as well Legislative Council President, the Hon. Ben Franklin.

Isabel, Alicia and Mitchell’s short film was played in the Jubilee Room of the Parliament and was simply outstanding.


The Upper Hunter Electorate has received $4.3 million from two jointly funded programs under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

A total of 136 projects across the state impacted by natural disasters over the past three years will be repaired or built back to a more resilient standard.

Muswellbrook Shire Council secured over $1.6 million from the Infrastructure Betterment Fund including $1,113,000 for the betterment of Denman’s Water Supply Infrastructure and $524,244 towards betterment of Muswellbrook’s Water Supply Infrastructure.

The Community Assets Program delivers a further $1,569,375 to Muswellbrook for Karoola Park, Singleton Council has $1 million to refurbish the Howe Park Tennis Court and Dungog Shire Council receives $119,196 for Frank Robinson Park.


A $64 million Commonwealth-State funding package will target riparian land that poses a significant threat to public safety, assets and the environment due to damage caused by flooding early last year.

The declared severe weather and flooding natural disaster, AGRN 1012, from 22 February 2022 onwards impacted the Cessnock, Maitland, Mid Coast, Dungog, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter Local Government Areas.

Waterways and estuaries including creeks, rivers and wetlands impacted by the floods will be regenerated and protected from future disasters through the Riparian Stabilisation Package.

Jointly funded under the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), works will be delivered by the Department of Regional NSW, the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services and the NSW Environment Protection Authority.


The NSW Department of Planning and Environment is seeking to fill three board positions, including a new chair of the board, for Reflections Holiday Parks.

Reflections is a Crown land manager of 37 holiday parks and 45 community reserves across coastal and inland areas of regional NSW including the Lake Glenbawn Holiday Park, Scone.

Qualified candidates will be considered based on their expertise across priority areas including property management, information technology, government relations, tourism, environmental sustainability, community engagement and legal skills.

Applications close 1 November with successful candidates to be appointed to the seven person board by December and begin five-year terms from April next year.


Muswellbrook’s Fire and Rescue brigade has now relocated to the newly built station in Market Street.

It is the third fire station located on the street and replaces the ‘single-storey’ structure dating back to 1976.

The recent official opening ceremony for the upgraded station was attended by the Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib and Acting Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell.

Fire and Rescue NSW Station 392 Muswellbrook is looking forward to welcoming the community to its new station for the Open Day in May 2024.


Merriwa now has its long-awaited Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machine allowing the community to return eligible bottles and cans for the ten-cent deposit.

I want to acknowledge the efforts of Merriwa District Progress Association, Upper Hunter Shire Council and TOMRA Cleanaway for working to achieve the community’s request for the machine.

Upper Hunter Shire Council advises those eagerly awaiting the Scone Reverse Vending Machine that the installation has been delayed due to power supply issues.

Council is currently working with TOMRA to secure an alternative location for the kiosk

and appreciates the continued patience of the community.


The NSW Government is seeking the public’s view on commemorative certificates produced by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Even though the certificates are not official legal documents, they are decorative keepsakes to celebrate life’s most important moments and share with family.

A range of commemorative certificates are currently available and feedback is being sought on new theme ideas that should be offered.

Among the options are a commemorative marriage certificate as well as the use of Australian flora and fauna, modern photography of iconic NSW locations and artwork to celebrate the cultural diversity of NSW.

The consultation is open until Sunday 5 November:


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