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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 19 February 2024


HUNTER WATER has scheduled information sessions from later this week on the proposed Lostock Dam to Glennies Creek Dam Pipeline Project including the Paterson River Connection.


The project, currently in the planning phase, aims to improve long-term water security and reliability to effectively manage climatic, economic and social changes in the Lower Hunter.


The Lostock Dam-Glennies Creek Dam Pipeline component of the project is funded by the Australian and NSW Governments. 


Drop-in sessions are on Saturday 24 February at Maitland Town Hall 9am-12pm, Club Dorsman Singleton Heights on Tuesday 27 February 11am-1pm and 4.30pm-6.30pm, and the Tocal Office of Hunter Local Land Services on Wednesday 28 February 11am-1pm and 4.30pm-6.30pm.




Upper Hunter Shire Council is taking public submissions until Wednesday 13 March on a draft planning agreement for the Goulburn River Solar Farm Project.


Upper Hunter Shire Council and Goulburn River Fund Pty Ltd as trustee for the Goulburn River Trust have prepared the draft agreement.


The documents, including an explanatory note, can be viewed at Upper Hunter Shire Council’s Offices in Scone, Merriwa and Murrurundi during normal business hours.


The draft agreement can also be viewed at: with written submissions to be addressed to the General Manager of Upper Hunter Shire Council and either mailed or emailed to council.


Work has commenced on an important upgrade to Broke Recreation Ground to deliver improved sport and recreation amenities.


Singleton Council secured over $750,000 to reconstruct deteriorated asphalt courts, the amenities and flood lights with the project funded by the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund and a Severe Weather and Flood grant.

Subject to weather interruptions, the project is expected to be completed by June and will add to the village’s celebrations of its bicentenary this year.


The upgrade continues a huge program of council works in and around Broke in the past 12 months including the $1.8 million repair of Broke Road funded by Transport for NSW’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangement and an $800,000 upgrade to Broke Road Mount Thorley, funded by the NSW Government’s Resources for Regions program.



A last-minute ticket release for the Premier’s Gala Concerts being held during the NSW Seniors Festival will occur this Friday, 23 February at 9am.

A limited number of tickets will be available by calling 9215 7500 and going online to the Ticketek website:


If you know anyone who has already received a ticket but can’t attend, please encourage them to return the ticket so it can be used by someone who has missed out at this stage.

Simply email with your name, phone number, email address and seat information to let them know you would like to return your tickets and Ticketek will handle the rest.

You can still register for the livestream to watch the concert online at 2.45pm, Wednesday 13 March, with a link to watch to be sent directly to your email inbox on the morning of the concert:


Applications for the 2024 Telstra Connected Communities Grant Program open next

Tuesday, 27 February.


In partnership with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, grants of up to $10,000 are available for not-for-profit community group or organisations to help build resilient, sustainable and liveable communities. 


The program has three themes including resilient communities that are well prepared and socially connected, sustainable communities that are diverse and inclusive plus liveable communities that have digital capability.


This round will make $200,000 available with applications for up to $10,000 closing on Wednesday 27 March.


Successful grants will be announced in June with the successful applicants having 12 months to complete funded projects. 



The National Transition to Management Plan was last week approved by the Varroa Mite National Management Group.


The group, comprised of the federal and state governments, beekeeping and pollination industry representatives unanimously agreed to a new phase for biosecurity management of Varroa mite.


The NSW Government’s priority will be to work with industry to ensure beekeepers understand how to best manage the pest in this new phase.


This will involve slowing the spread, building industry resilience, providing

management options and support for pollination security.


The NSW Government’s next step is organising industry events, workshops and placing materials online.


For the latest information on the Varroa Mite emergency response go to:



Four Upper Hunter Electorate organisations have secured a share of the Anzac Community Grants Program (ACGP) to commemorate veterans across NSW.


Scone and Upper Hunter Historical Society Inc. Museum receives $1,800 to purchase a purpose-built display cabinet for uniforms from the wars with the display to include researched historical information.


Gresford RSL sub-Branch can buy a portable sound system to be used at the Paterson Anzac Day Dawn Service, Gresford Anzac Day Service as well as the Remembrance Day Service with its $1,500 grant.


Denman RSL sub-Branch has $1,250 for a portable sound system with attendances growing in recent years at the local Anzac Day and Remembrance Day Services.


And, Muswellbrook High School’s Special Education Faculty has $750 for the Gallipoli Rosemary for Remembrance project, so it can provide donations of sprigs of rosemary to local RSL Clubs to mark military anniversaries honouring the service and sacrifice of NSW veterans.



In August last year, I told you about a 'taster event' in Scone when the national not-for-profit organisation, The Men's Table, came to the Upper Hunter.


Almost six months down the track, the Scone Men's Table has been established with six members and there are plans to have more blokes join in this year. 


Monthly meetings are held on a Wednesday night at the Royal Hotel Scone to support men to have a good yarn, a good feed and share what is really going on - it's peer to peer and community-led gathering.


Interested men can check out The Men's Table website:


The Hunter Volunteer Centre has put a call out to help it fill a weekday volunteering role in the Scone area. 


Activities volunteers are needed to help at a residential centre to brighten the day of residents by encouraging participation in activities.


The volunteers will accompany people on short walks and share interests in music, art, craft and gardening as well as do hand massages and paint nails.


Training and ongoing support will be provided – so, if you’re interested, call 4929 4424, email, or click on: for more information about the role.



They might be old, but three significant bridges servicing the Upper Hunter Electorate are now having their stories told to the generations of today.


Cooreei, Monkerai and Hinton bridges have had brand-new heritage interpretation signage installed.


Cooreei Bridge over the Williams River, Dungog is historically important as the first Henry Harvey Dare-type timber truss bridge to be built in NSW.


Monkerai Bridge over the Karuah River, completed in 1882, is the second-oldest surviving timber truss bridge in the state.


And, Hinton Bridge, which connects Phoenix Park, in the Upper Hunter Electorate, to Hinton is historically important as one of only three lift bridges remaining in the Hunter Region. 


Transport for NSW manages the timber truss bridges and has more on their history at:



The NSW Government has established a taskforce to support growers of the hemp industry.


A dozen representatives from grower and industry associations will meet monthly, assisted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries, to consider options to support the continued growth of the NSW industrial hemp industry in rural and regional NSW.


The taskforce will only consider the cultivation and supply of low-THC hemp grown under the NSW Industrial Hemp Act 2008.


It will not consider the production of hemp for use as a therapeutic good (e.g. medicines), which is restricted by the Australian Government and requires a licence from the Office of Drug Control and approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.


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