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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 18 March 2024


ENERGYCO will discuss changes to the study corridor for the New England Renewable Energy Zone transmission line project when it visits Muswellbrook next week.


A drop-in style information session on the revised corridor is being held on Wednesday 27 March at Muswellbrook Library, 2-7pm.


The corridor has been realigned near Glenbawn and Gundy to help minimise impacts to nearby landowners, reduce the overall length of the transmission line and increase the use of state-owned land.


A further revision of the corridor between McCullys Gap and Muscle Creek will help reduce impacts to landowners in this area.


The first two stages of the transmission project are scheduled for completion by 2033 to ensure energy security across NSW as coal-fired power stations retire.


Find further information on the EnergyCo website:, call 1800 061 114 or send your enquiry to:



NSW Department of Education has commenced recruitment for four teaching positions at Merriwa Central School.


Applications close on 27 March for the technology, visual arts, special education and personal development, health and physical education teacher roles.


I spoke in the NSW Parliament last week about the Merriwa teacher shortage and have issued an invitation for teachers who are interested to come on up to Merriwa and meet the local community.


Work is progressing on plans for new teacher accommodation at Merriwa and I have asked the Minister for Housing to liaise with Upper Hunter Shire Council and local residents to ensure delays are minimised.


Interested candidates for the current positions can find more details on the I Work for NSW website:


 Time is running out for landowners to register for a trial designed to enhance rural firefighting capabilities.


NSW Rural Fire Service and Transport for NSW are collaborating for the trial to enable private Farm Fire Fighting Vehicles (FFFVs) without registration to be used, provided they meet specific eligibility criteria.


Vehicles must have fire-fighting equipment permanently attached, operate within a 100-kilometre radius of the storage address, and be maintained in a safe operating condition.


These measures ensure that while not registered, the vehicles are adequately equipped to assist in emergency situations and contribute effectively to firefighting efforts.


The trial runs until March 31 with vehicles for the trial to be nominated at:



Yancoal will hold community information sessions next week on its proposed Stratford Renewable Energy Hub.


The company is preparing for the end of coal mining at Stratford later this year with possible future land uses including renewable energy.


Pumped hydro energy storage is a centrepiece of the plan supported by a solar farm.


The information sessions are being held on Monday 25 March at Stratford Hall, 3-6pm and on Tuesday 26 March at Gloucester Council Chambers, 3-6pm.


Yancoal is also currently asking people who live and work in the Gloucester Valley to participate in a survey to inform the social impact assessment for the proposed project.



People travelling through Singleton over the past two weeks have seen funding from the former NSW Nationals and Liberals Government being put to use.


Singleton’s eastern entry, at the corner of Kelso Street and the New England Highway, is the first of three sites to receive extensive landscaping works.


The $330,000 streetscapes improvement project being undertaken by Singleton Council was funded by Round 8 of the Resources for Regions program.


New signature trees will also be planted on both sides of the John Street and Ryan Avenue traffic lights, with the garden beds in John Street stretching from Pritchard Park to Baileys Union Park to be replanted.

All works are expected to be completed by June, weather permitting.



A public consultation paper will be released in the coming weeks as the NSW Government moves to reform the Emergency Services Levy (ESL).


The Government recently announced the formation of a Stakeholder Reference Group, which will provide expert advice and perspectives to government as it proceeds with the process.


Legislation introduced to parliament will require insurers to provide specified data to the NSW Government to help determine the way emergency services are funded.


The amendment to the Emergency Services Levy Act 2017 will give the Treasurer authority to access anonymised data including the premiums paid on insurance policies and the ESL component of those premiums.


Subject to privacy protections, this data will allow the Government to conduct detailed modelling and design of a new system to replace the current ESL.



A busy time in local schools at present with testing underway for the National Assessment Program of Literacy and Numeracy or NAPLAN.


The assessment of Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 students runs over nine days with testing to be completed by next Monday.


NSW students make up a significant portion of those sitting tests across the country with 400,000 primary and high school students from more than 3,000 NSW schools involved.


NAPLAN is one tool teachers use to assess student progress with NSW schools expecting to see results from the start of Term 2, ensuring students can receive timely, targeted support.


For more information about NAPLAN:



An online ‘Asbestos Awareness and Safety’ course is being made available to the public to increase awareness of the safety risks relating to asbestos.


SafeWork NSW, Building Commission NSW and TAFE NSW have partnered to provide

the short self-directed online course aimed at anyone likely to encounter asbestos in their workplace.

The course will be free to anyone in Australia for a period of three months with the potential for extension pending public demand.


It is hosted on the Construct NSW digital learning platform, part of a wider suite of courses built in collaboration with the Department of Customer Service and Building Commission NSW.


The two-and-a-half-hour course covers recognising the risk and serious long-term impacts of asbestos exposure, how to determine if asbestos containing material may be present and how to safely handle asbestos and asbestos containing materials (ACM).




A big thank you to all emergency services for making the time to be part of the

Singleton Emergency Services Expo this Saturday. 


The NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Police, NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Ambulance and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service have partnered with Singleton Council for the event.


The green next to Council’s administration building carpark in Civic Avenue is the venue for free family-friendly event between 9am and Noon.


Residents living in rural or remote areas are encouraged to attend to learn about or join Singleton’s Get Ready Teams to improve resilience during times of emergency or natural disaster.


Children are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite emergency service to go into the competition for best dressed, and to complete the Expo Bingo sheet to go in the draw for a prize.


For more on the 2024 Singleton Emergency Services Expo view:



Bipolar Australia is encouraging people to blow bubbles on Saturday March 30 for World Bipolar Day.


Blow Bubbles for Bipolar gives the 568,000 Australians affected by the condition, their families, carers, and friends, a fun and easy activity that can be used to celebrate the occasion.

Bubbles were chosen because people with bipolar who become manic are often described as “bubbly” personalities, while watching the bubbles crash back down represents the depressive phase of the condition.


The recovery journey that people embark upon when they get help is symbolised by the rainbow that can be seen when a group blows enough bubbles together.


Discover more about Blow Bubbles for Bipolar and World Bipolar Day at:


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