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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 20 March 2023


IT may be March, it may be autumn but the recent run of low intensity heatwave weather conditions continues to fuel the fire season for Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigades.

We can help our Upper Hunter Electorate firefighters by ensuring that your property is prepared in case of a grass or bush fire and by being aware of the daily Fire Danger Rating.

If a fire is unattended please report it to Triple Zero (000) and know what you and your family will do if fire threatens your property.

For information on Total Fire Ban rules and tips to prepare your property visit:

Residents in areas where fires occur should monitor conditions and stay up to date using the Hazards Near Me app or Fires Near Me:


NSW State Emergency Service (SES) is also reminding the community that the storm season is still here until the end of March.

SES tips to prepare for storms and floods include keeping up-to-date with the latest weather forecasts and warnings as well as creating an emergency kit with essential items such as food, water, first aid supplies, a torch, batteries and a radio.

Secure loose items that could become flying hazards during a storm, trim overhanging branches and clear gutters to prevent water damage.

If you live in a flood-prone area, plan your evacuation route and when you do encounter flooded roads turn around and do not attempt to drive through floodwaters.

For emergency help in floods and storms call Triple Zero (000), the NSW SES on 132 500 and check updated warning advice at:


NSW Health Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant is encouraging people eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose to consider contacting their doctor or local pharmacy.

If your last COVID-19 vaccine dose or confirmed infection, whichever is the most recent, was six months ago or more, you may be recommended to receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine booster dose.

The booster dose is now recommended for anyone aged over 65 and people aged 18-64 years who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ended 11 March shows there is still a highly mixed group of variants circulating with 8,032 people diagnosed with COVID-19 including 749 in the Hunter New England Local Health District.

For more information on the 2023 booster, visit:


Illegal hunters and livestock thieves have been put on notice that trespassing on rural properties will not be tolerated by NSW Police.

Members of the public are being told that they must have permission to enter a private property.

If you enter a working farm without permission you could pose a biosecurity risk by introducing disease and pests which may have significant impacts on livestock and crops.

If you have information for police that will help combat rural crime you can report confidential online at or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


ClubGRANTS was established to ensure registered clubs in NSW with profits over $1 million contribute financial or in-kind support to local community services, programs, and projects.

The scheme enables a club’s participation, support, and leadership within their local area by providing funding for projects, services, and programs that benefit the community.

Muswellbrook RSL Club and the Muswellbrook & District Workers Club are currently taking applications for the local grant round which will close on 31 July.

Categories include support for community welfare and social services, general community development and support activities, and in-kind non-monetary support.

Prospective applicants should visit:


The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 aims to protect and conserve biodiversity in NSW while furthering ecologically sustainable development.

The statutory review of the Act is an opportunity to consider issues and improve biodiversity conservation in the state.

A report on the outcome of the review will be tabled in each house of NSW Parliament by 24 August 2023.


Distracted driving is one of the biggest killers on our roads and Crime Stoppers is providing a way for motorists to assist NSW Police to improve road safety.

Traffic and Highway Patrol officers warn that when you drive distracted, such as using a mobile phone, you are not only risking your life but also the lives of passengers in your vehicle and every other road user.

Drink, drug, dangerous and distracted driving cost lives on our roads, so if you see or know someone who is driving whilst impaired or not fully focused on the road report it to Crime Stoppers.

Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 (24/7) or visit:


School Term One is drawing to a close with Easter and the autumn school holiday fast approaching on the horizon.

The PCYC is gearing up to host children to Get Active, Engaged and Have Fun during the holiday period between Monday 10 April and Friday 21 April.

Full and half day programs will be on offer with the PCYC accepting both Active and Creative kids vouchers for relevant activities.

To see what is planned during the April school holiday at PCYC Muswellbrook, Singleton, Maitland and Raymond Terrace go to:


The NSW Police Rural Crime Prevention Team is reminding weapons owners about the safe storage of firearms.

Rural Crime investigators are finding some licence holders are not aware that they must store firearms at an inhabited dwelling or put in place additional safe storage measures.

Weapons kept at an uninhabited dwelling on a hobby or secondary farm require the premises to be fitted with an intruder alarm and duress facilities monitored off-site including via ‘smart’ technology.

Storage is in a safe fitted with an alarm and off-site monitoring including via ‘smart’ technology and the firearms are to be secured individually in the safe using a trigger or barrel lock.

If you need to know more contact your local police station, the Firearms Registry on


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