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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 2 October 2023


APPLICATIONS can be lodged from this week for the Community Building Partnership (CBP) grant funding program.

Each state electorate receives a maximum of $300,000 for this round with applications assessed against other proposed projects within the same electorate.

Community organisations and local councils are encouraged to submit grant applications that deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes while promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion.

The program invests in infrastructure projects providing grants of between $5,000 and $150,000 for building, refurbishing or repairing community infrastructure, or for buying freestanding equipment or vehicles.

Applications close Friday 27 October, so check the CBP website for more information:


NSW Government changes regarding Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) for COVID-19 take effect this week.

You are no longer able to register a positive RAT result with Service NSW following the closure of the RAT portal.

Additionally, you will no longer be able to collect free RATs at Service NSW centres.

Despite the changes, the Hunter New England Local Health District continues to have COVID-19 cases with 34,871 recorded infections so far this year to the week ended 23 September – that compares to 6,570 Influenza and 3,626 Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections this year.

If you are unwell and can’t contact your doctor, call healthdirect on 1800 022 222 or use the online Service Finder:


Upper Hunter electorate pharmacies are participating in a state-wide prescribing trial

enabling women to access resupply of oral contraceptives.

Pharmacies at Murrurundi, Scone, Muswellbrook, Denman, Singleton, Branxton, Paterson, Dungog and Clarence Town are part of the 12-month trial, which is the second phase of the NSW Government program.

Under the initiative, the only out-of-pocket costs for women seeking a resupply of their pill will be for the medication they need.

The NSW Government has also committed to providing $20 per consultation to participating pharmacists to support administration associated with the trial.

The ethics-approved clinical trial is led by the University of Newcastle, which is working closely with a multidisciplinary team including GPs, clinicians, pharmacists, rural clinicians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to ensure the trial is safe for women.

For further information including participating community pharmacies visit the NSW Health


Local Land Services (LLS) is asking farmers to think about a safe place for their animals in the event of a bushfire.

LLS recommends that it is never too early to be ready and suggests preparing a low-risk area where stock can access food and water.

LLS is supported by NSW’s firefighting agencies, the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue, which encourage everyone to live bushfire ready knowing the risk and having a plan for what to do during a fire.

Read more about creating a safe stock containment area on your farm at:


Prospective students have the opportunity this Friday to explore the Tocal College, Paterson campus and find out about living and studying at Tocal next year.

The open day, 10am-3pm, includes a talk on courses and employment opportunities plus an opportunity to tour the college farms.

Meantime, AgSkilled 3.0 is allowing eligible women in agriculture to undertake fee-free training at Tocal during November and December with courses on chainsaws, tractors and off-road four-wheel drives.

For more information about the courses contact Karen Stevenson, Skills Training Officer on 4939 8872.


Fisheries officers across the state are joining forces for the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ newly launched Operation Alpha Delta.

It’s objectives are to conduct high profile and overt operations to reduce the risk to the fisheries resource through increasing awareness and fostering compliant behaviour through education and engagement.

It also aims to reduce inadvertent, opportunistic, and intentional offending through compliance monitoring and enforcing fisheries laws.

Fisheries Officers will be out in force this spring and summer ensuring fishers are following the rules to help safeguard fish stocks for current and future generations.

The public is encouraged to report illegal or suspected illegal fishing activity to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or online at:


A crackdown on the sale of illegal vapes is part of a $6.8 million-three years NSW Government program to increase support for young people addicted to e-cigarettes.

The investment will bolster compliance and enforcement to ensure the state meets responsibilities for retail, wholesale, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical controls on vaping products.

NSW Health is conducting a crackdown on retailers who illegally sell nicotine vapes as it expands compliance and monitoring activities across the state.

Retailers who are prosecuted for selling vapes containing nicotine face serious sanctions, including imprisonment for up to six months.

Increased services to help young people quit vaping will include a new digital platform, enhancements to the iCanQuit platform and an online learning module for youth services.


Landholders, key stakeholders and community members can discuss the Hunter Gas Pipeline with Santos next week.

Drop-in sessions will be held at Muswellbrook Workers Club on Tuesday 10 October between 2pm and 6pm, and Scone Bowling Club, 2pm–6pm, on Wednesday 11 October.

Participants can drop in during the advertised session times to ask questions that they would like answered.

For further information, call 1300 427 546, email or visit


A review of domestic and stock rights water use has commenced to help understand how these rights are understood, used and perceived.

The NSW Government is conducting public consultation with an online survey open until 21 November:

And, the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) is seeking public assistance to stop illegal water activities by reporting any suspicious activities or circumstances to NRAR.

To make a confidential report contact the regulator via phone, email or fill out a suspicious activity report via the website:


Seniors will have more opportunities for social activities and learning new skills thanks to the Connecting Seniors grant program.

The $600,000 NSW Government initiative is divided into three categories with not-for-profit community organisations able to apply for creation grants for new projects and enhancement and/or expansion grants for existing projects.

The third category is for local council projects, with $40,000 each for five different councils.

Grant applications close on 25 October with further information at:


The NSW Government wants feedback on youth issues to understand the priorities for young people and their communities.

If you are a parent, carer or member of the community that supports young people aged 12 to 24 years, the state government wants to hear from you.

Together with input received directly from young people, it will inform policies to better support NSW young people in the future.

To have your say, you can fill out the survey, share an idea, or upload a submission by 25 October.

You can find more information about the Youth Insights survey on the Office for Regional Youth website or email:


Applications are open for the Community War Memorials Fund (CWMF) which provides funding to support the conservation of community war memorials across NSW.

The purpose of the fund is to help conserve, repair and protect war memorials and to support community commemoration, by funding projects that follow best practice conservation principles and processes.

The program administered by the Office for Veterans Affairs is targeted at organisations who are responsible for the management of war memorials.

View the full guidelines before11 February 2024 at:


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