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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 17 October 2022


The Independent Planning Commission NSW will hold a public meeting next month on the finalised development application assessment proposed for the Martins Creek Quarry.

The public meeting will be conducted at Tocal Agricultural Centre, Paterson at 10am Monday 7 November 2022 and livestreamed on the Commission’s website.

If you wish to apply to speak at the public meeting, you must complete the online registration form by 12pm on Wednesday 2 November.

You can also submit comments in writing to the Commission by 5pm Tuesday 15 November at:

The Department of Planning and Environment’s Martins Creek Referral Letter, Assessment Report and Recommended Conditions are available at:


Mandatory self-isolation for COVID-19 infection has now ended, however, NSW Health urges the community to remain vigilant and be COVID safe.

Stay home if you have cold or flu-like symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough or fever; get tested; wear a mask if you must head out and ensure vaccinations are up to date.

NSW Health asks that we voluntarily register positive Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) through Service NSW to allow people to be connected to medical care as well as helping to inform the ongoing public health response.

If you have COVID-19 you may be infectious for up to 10 days but are most infectious in the two days before symptoms start and while you have symptoms, don’t visit high risk settings for at least seven days.

For more advice on how to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 visit:


Upper Hunter Electorate councils are now able to apply for funding to rebuild damaged roads and transport infrastructure, in order to better withstand future natural disasters.

Dungog, Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Upper Hunter, Maitland and Cessnock are among 26 councils affected by the February 2022 floods eligible for the package jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW governments.

While support to rebuild damaged roads was announced earlier this year, it only allowed for infrastructure to be repaired to pre-disaster conditions.

During March the NSW Government heard loud and clear about the need for a funding program where infrastructure was built back stronger and safer to better protect our communities during extreme weather events.

Building back better means councils could, for example, upgrade and improve key routes that were impacted during the major floods of earlier this year or raise road and bridge levels so they perform better during flooding.

Further information about the Regional Roads and Transport Recovery Package is available at:


More farmers could soon be swinging the gates open to visitors, thanks to a new policy commencing in December that makes it easier to set up agritourism opportunities.

NSW had released its final agritourism policy aimed at helping businesses thrive by making it easier for our farmers to set up, run and grow agritourism experiences on their properties.

The new policy covers farm stays, cafes, cellar doors, retreats, roadside stalls, fruit picking and small wedding venues.

Clear definitions and new planning pathways will be introduced to allow agritourism activities to happen with either faster or no planning approval, if they meet requirements set out in the policy.

More information is available at:


Legislation for the NSW Government’s shared equity scheme has been introduced to Parliament.

Under the shared equity scheme, the state government would contribute an equity share up to 40 per cent for a new home or up to 30 per cent for an existing home purchased by eligible buyers.

Key workers such as teachers, nurses and police officers, single parents and older singles will be able to have the security of home ownership with a lower upfront deposit, no lenders mortgage insurance and no interest on the Government’s equity share in a property.

Under the scheme up to 3,000 spots will be available each year for two years, participants must have a maximum gross income of $90,000 for singles and $120,000 for couples plus a minimum deposit of two per cent of the purchase price

For further information on the shared equity scheme visit;


Public sector workers will be supported to spend more precious time with their young babies with major changes to NSW public service parental leave entitlements now in effect.

From 1 October every mother and father in the NSW public sector is entitled to 14 weeks’ paid parental leave as part of ground-breaking changes to remove the distinction between a ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ carer in the NSW Government’s paid parental leave scheme.

Paramedics, police officers and teachers can now also use their leave up to two years after the birth, adoption, surrogacy or permanent out-of-home care placement of their child.

An additional two weeks’ ‘bonus leave’ is available where parents more equally share childcare responsibilities between partners, allowing public sector employees to take up to 16 weeks’ paid parental leave.

Public sector workers undergoing fertility treatment now also have access to up to five days’ fertility leave per year.


Councils will receive NSW Government funding and resources to move a backlog of planning proposals and development applications to deliver more local housing.

The Unblocking Homes Program provides targeted support to resolve issues in complex assessments and will help fast-track the delivery of homes currently stuck in the system.

This will help tackle the backlog including social and affordable housing for people in need, Aboriginal communities and seniors.

The program includes seven new and ongoing initiatives such as a Regional Housing Flying Squad, a Planning Delivery Unit Regional Case Management and Planning Concierge and a Regional Housing Strategic Planning Fund.

Visit the Unblocking Homes Program at:


Applications are open for the NSW Government’s 2022-2023 Cultural Grants program which will support community organisations, groups and businesses to fund Aboriginal cultural events and activities.

Under the $1 million program, $700,000 will be available for smaller, community-based Aboriginal owned and controlled organisations, unincorporated groups, and businesses with larger regional and state-wide organisations to share in $300,000.

Grants of up to $20,000 are available to empower Aboriginal communities to strengthen, protect, share, promote, and maintain traditional and modern expressions of Aboriginal culture.

NSW Cultural Grants Program applications close on 14 April 2023 at:


If daylight later in the afternoon and the approach of summer have you thinking about

healthier habits then NSW Health has several free programs for you.

The Get Healthy Service provides confidential coaching to learn simple ways to help improve your health and wellbeing by calling 1300 806258 or visiting

The Healthy Eating Active Living telephone-based health coaching service can help provide you with the support and motivation you need to reach your own healthy lifestyle goals.

There are plenty of ways to nourish your mind and body - even if you only have five minutes.


The NSW Rural Fire Service offers a free, one-off service to support some of the most at-risk community members prepare their property for the warmer weather conditions.

The AIDER program is designed to assist elderly and disabled residents, who have limited domestic support, living in bush fire prone land prepare their homes ahead of the fire season.

AIDER services can involve clearing the gutters, removing debris or thinning vegetation.

For more information or to register visit:


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