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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 20 February 2023


REJUVENATION UPDATE


CONSULTATION is underway on the NSW Government’s Royalties for Rejuvenation funding program which will provide the investment to help diversify economies and create jobs in coal mining regions.


Legislation passed the NSW Parliament in May 2022 to formalise the Royalties for Rejuvenation Fund as part of the Mining and Petroleum Amendment Bill 2022, and public consultation on the draft Regulations commenced in June last year.


The Department of Regional NSW will host targeted consultation sessions including in the Hunter region with local councils, industry bodies, businesses and community groups invited to give feedback on the Regional Expert Panel structures outlined in the Regulations.


The targeted consultation will take place until July when feedback will then be reviewed and considered before the Regulations are finalised: www.nsw.gov.au/RoyaltiesRejuvenation


CAP EXPLAINED


The NSW Government has delivered on its commitment to level the playing field among coal companies as part of the Commonwealth Government’s coal price cap.


Revised directions mean both domestic and export-focused coal companies will be required to provide cheaper coal to NSW power stations.


In response to soaring coal prices caused by the war in Ukraine, the Albanese Government asked NSW to introduce a coal price cap to put downward pressure on electricity prices.


Where possible, coal mines will be required to provide power stations with the amount of coal they have supplied in the past, and export-focused mines will be required to provide additional coal needed to meet any difference.


Under the national Energy Price Relief Plan, coal suppliers can apply to the Australian Energy Regulator for a higher price cap if they can demonstrate that their production costs are above the $125 per tonne coal cap.


MOBILE SERVICE RETURNS


Service NSW’s mobile office will be heading across the Upper Hunter Electorate over the next few weeks.


Clarence Town is first stop on Wednesday 1 March outside the School of Arts in Grey Street, 10am-3pm.


Paterson hosts Service NSW on Thursday 2 March, 10am-3pm in Duke Street.


Murrurundi’s Visitor Information Centre and Community Connect Service in Mayne Street is the venue on Wednesday 8 March, 9am-3pm.


Driver testing appointments are being taken for the Mobile Service Centre visit to the

Upper Hunter Shire Council Offices, Scone on Thursday 9 March, 9am-3pm.


Service NSW can provide support across a broad range of services including driver licence registration, renewals and applications, processing of RSA and RCG cards as well as

application and renewal of Working with Children Checks.


MARTIN CREEK QUARRY


I thank the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) for its decision to reject the amended project application for the Martins Creek Quarry.


The IPC refused the State Significant Development Application proposed for the Martins Creek Quarry Project due to significant impacts from the road haulage of quarry products.


In its Statement of Reasons for Decision, the Commission found that “the road transportation of 450,000 tonnes a year of hard rock quarry product over 25 years would have unreasonable and unacceptable impacts for the communities along the proposed haulage route.”


The Commission found that increased truck movements through the main street of Paterson and to a lesser degree, Bolwarra and Bolwarra Heights, would have significant and adverse impacts on the communities in the affected areas.


Assessment and determination documents on the proposal can be found on the IPC website: https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/cases/2022/09/martins-creek-quarry


REGISTER RATs


NSW Health has requested positive COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) continue to be registered with Service NSW.


Registration can help infected people access health support including antiviral medicines if you are eligible.


If you have COVID-19, it is recommended you stay home until your acute symptoms such as a runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever have gone.


The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ending 11 February showed a decrease in the number of people notified with COVID-19 and a reduction in the number of people admitted to hospital.

Hunter New England Local Health District had 783 people diagnosed with COVID-19 for the week with 19 people admitted to hospital and one Intensive Care Unit admission.


Learn more testing positive to COVID-19 and managing it safely at home: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/testing-managing/advice-for-confirmed


ENERGY PILOT


A new $8 million program to pilot innovative ways to fully de-carbonise homes in up to three local communities across NSW will focus on slashing home energy bills and emissions.


The falling price of clean technologies such as rooftop solar, batteries and heat pumps are making it easier for households to save money on energy bills while lowering their carbon footprint.


The state government will run a competitive process to partner with the private sector to test cost effective ways to upgrade to zero emissions homes in an urban, regional and remote community.


The pilot program will launch in the second half of this year and will be voluntary for households in the selected communities to join.


DISASTER RISK GRANTS


Singleton Council and the Hunter Joint Organisation have shared in grants from the $29 million Disaster Risk Reduction Fund aimed at mitigating the impacts of future severe weather events and hazards.


The fund is administered by the NSW Reconstruction Authority with every dollar targeted at locally led initiatives that will keep regional communities safer and stronger.


Projects are being jointly funded by the NSW and Australian governments, with recipients including community organisations, local councils, Local Aboriginal Land Councils, joint organisations of councils and not-for-profit organisations.


Singleton Council has $295,350 for its project of Reducing Disaster Vulnerability to Create Community in Singleton LGA, whilst the Hunter Joint Organisation will develop a project to reduce regional disaster risk through early action with $1,493,856 in funding.


CHURCHILL FELLOWSHIPS


If you want to travel overseas to explore a topic or issue that you’re passionate about then

applications for Churchill Fellowships open in March.


A Churchill Fellowship is for any Australian who would like to explore international best practice and innovation or learn new skills from other countries.


The fellowship is not an academic award, and no educational qualifications are needed to apply although you will need to demonstrate a benefit to the community in bringing back and applying what you have learned.


The Winston Churchill Trust is holding online live information sessions throughout February: www.churchilltrust.com.au/news_item/applications-for-the-2023-churchill-fellowship-round-are-opening-soon/


HOLIDAY PROGRAM GRANTS


Councils and eligible not-for-profit organisations wanting to host activities over the autumn school holidays are urged to get in quick to secure funding under the $10 million NSW Government Holiday Break program.


All 93 regional councils and eligible not-for-profit organisations can apply for funding of up to $7,000 to cover the cost of running youth events during 8-23 April.


Funds can be used to support a wide range of activities including sport or performing arts activities, movie nights, and DJ workshops.


Applications closing Friday 3 March or when funds are exhausted: www.nsw.gov.au/holiday-fun-for-regional-youth

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