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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 17 June 2024


THIS WEEK is a moment of truth for the Upper Hunter Electorate when the Minns Labor Government delivers the NSW Budget.

Commitment rather than ‘lip service’ is required for the New England Highway bypasses of Singleton and Muswellbrook and the new Huntlee public school – that’s a cash commitment to start construction on these important infrastructure projects.

Stage three of the Muswellbrook Hospital redevelopment, the new Fire and Rescue station for Dungog, Singleton Police upgrade and a new Resources for Region fund must also be prioritised.

I also call on the NSW Government to restore vital cost of living relief like the Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers, especially at a time when people are doing it tough.

All NSW families used to receive $300 per child per year in Active Kids and Creative Kids vouchers under the NSW Nationals and Liberals Government, but that was reduced to just $100 per child under Labor and only offered the support to those who receive the Family Tax Benefit Part A.

I call on the Premier to restore these cost-of-living measures in full force, to help ease the rising pressure on family budgets.



The King’s Birthday long weekend traffic operation with double demerits in force and a high-visibility NSW Police operation saw officers target speeding, drink and drug driving, mobile phone, helmet and other traffic offences.

Statewide for the four-days, police issued 4,209 speed infringements, conducted 153,767 breath tests with 237 people charged with drink-driving and recorded 654 positive drug detections.

In the Upper Hunter Electorate, a 48-year-old man who came to police attention for his manner of driving at Paterson and Bolwarra was charged with high-range drink driving after recording an alleged breath analysis reading of 0.307.

Meantime, a 26-year-old man was charged with a police pursuit offence, driving at speed and high range drink driving when he returned an alleged reading of 0.173 following an incident in Mayne Street, Murrurundi and subsequent pursuit to Willow Tree.

NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Commander, Assistant Commissioner Brett McFadden said the type of behaviour shown by a small number of motorists over the June long weekend was irresponsible and unacceptable.


Livestock producers are urged to provide input by 3 July on the NSW Government’s proposed amendments to the Stock Medicines Regulation 2024.

The proposed changes to the Stock Medicines Regulation 2019 clarify requirements related to managing stock medicines used to treat livestock and other animals.

The aim being to make the Stock Medicines Regulation clearer and easier to understand. 

Prior to providing feedback, respondents are encouraged to review the Regulatory Impact Statement, which includes a summary and analysis of proposed regulatory amendments, and the Draft Stock Medicines Regulation 2024.

Feedback from the consultation process will be reviewed through July and August.

To review the documentation and have your say go to:



A NSW Government Emergency Department relief package aims to ease the pressure on the state’s public hospitals.

It’s estimated almost 180,000 people are expected to be able to avoid a trip to busy EDs each year with a $171.4 million expansion of the services accessed via Healthdirect through the Single Front Door.

The package will significantly expand access for people to the free services available from VirtualADULTS through Healthdirect.


Callers to Healthdirect will first speak to a registered nurse who will triage the patient, assessing the urgency of the condition and the suitability for a virtual consultation.

This will allow EDs to treat medical emergencies which are life-threatening conditions such as chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, breathing difficulties, uncontrollable bleeding or sudden collapse.

The community can access the Single Front Door services by calling Healthdirect on 

1800 022 222 at any time and treatment is free for Medicare card holders:


Hunter Local Land Services is reminding landholders that the Annual Land and Stock Return season is about to commence.

The 2024 returns portal opens on 30 June with participants having until 31 August to submit the return, either via the LLS secure online portal or manually using the paper form and reply-paid envelope.

Landholder data, which is essentially a 'farm census', is crucial to the service and plays a vital role in maintaining the safety of NSW. 

The information on land use and livestock numbers allows the LLS to quickly and accurately respond to emergency or biosecurity events, protect our ‘clean and green’ reputation against pests and diseases and to help keep domestic and international markets open.


Even if you have no stock it is important to lodge your annual return, which is a legal requirement, and may help you avoid additional levies being applied to your next LLS rates.

Learn more by calling 1300 795 299 or check-in at:



A $16.3 million investment by the NSW Government will continue fee-free training for apprentices and trainees across the state.

The funding for more than 20,000 new apprentices and 19,000 trainees covers student fees of up to $2000 for apprentices and up to $1000 for trainees, removing any up-front costs for those taking up apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities.

The places will be available to all new apprentices and trainees starting courses during the next financial year.

The most popular traineeships are in high-demand areas such as early childhood education and care, aged care, disability care and other sectors of the economy such as retail, hospitality and administration.

Discover more at:



NSW Fisheries is asking anglers to consider rugging up and casting a line over the next few months.

The Department of Primary Industries Fisheries’ message is “whether you live for the thrill, or the chill, reel in a new experience and make lasting memories this winter!”

Fish For Life is an initiative supported by the Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council and funded by the Recreational Fishing Trusts and encourages fishers to take advantage of the perfect excuse to escape the everyday and get out into the great outdoors.

DPI Fisheries has the free FishSmart NSW app offering 24/7 access to important information, real-time maps and tides and weather to enhance your fishing experience to make this winter your best fishing season yet.

Everyone has a role in protecting NSW fisheries so support DPI Fisheries Compliance Officers by reporting illegal fishing activity to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or report online at:



Australian Red Cross Lifeblood continues to urge those who can to donate with demand for blood high and donations struggling to meet requirements.

The Mobile Donor Centre will be in the Upper Hunter Electorate over coming weeks so, if you can, please consider making a donation.

Muswellbrook PCYC car park is the location Tuesday 2 July to Friday 5 July, Cessnock’s Charlton Street car park 6-9 July and Singleton Square July 10-14.

Gloucester hosts the Mobile Donor Centre on Thursday 29 August, Dungog is the venue Friday 30 August and Scone on Wednesday 11 to 13 September.

The Maitland Donor Centre is located at 39 St Andrews Street and open Monday to Saturday.

Visit Lifeblood's website to book your donation today:, on the app or call 13 14 95.



Landholders and the community are being asked to help shape the management of priority pest animals and their impact across the state.

Feedback on the draft 2024-2028 Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans is open until Monday 8 July.

The plans aim to reduce the social, environmental and financial impact of pest animals in NSW and inform landowners on how to prevent the spread of new invasive species.

The Hunter Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan covers 12 established pest species including feral deer, pigs and cats, it also highlights 'alert species' and species such as feral birds and fish which have been identified as pests.



Prospective candidates for September’s Local Government Elections are being encouraged to learn more about what is involved in being a councillor.

Muswellbrook Shire Council is proposing to hold a Candidate Briefing Session with online registration closing this week.

Cessnock City Council will hold two Candidate Information Sessions on Wednesday 26 June and Elections NSW has a Candidate Webinar scheduled for Thursday, 27 June.

If you are eligible to vote in NSW, it is compulsory to vote in local government elections with the next council polls to be held on Saturday 14 September.

Key dates for this election can be found at:


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