State Matters - 21 February 2022
COVID-19 RULES UPDATE
THE NSW Government is continuing to work hard to strike the right balance between re-opening the State and keeping everyone safe as it manages COVID-19.
Last Friday, adjustments were made to the current settings including no density limits for hospitality venues, QR check-ins only being required for nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 people and singing and dancing is permitted at all venues, except music festivals.
From this Friday, masks are required on public transport, planes, and indoors at airports, hospitals, aged and disability care facilities, corrections facilities, and indoor music festivals with more than 1,000 people.
Masks are still encouraged for indoor settings where you cannot maintain a safe physical distance from others and for customer-facing retail staff to protect vulnerable people who must access these premises and services.
People aged over 16 years are urged to receive their booster dose at three months after receiving their second dose of any COVID-19 vaccines with bookings at NSW Health clinics available at https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
DRAFT WATER SHARING PLAN
I sat down last week with the Minister for Water, Kevin Anderson, to express my concerns regarding the impact on Tidal Pool Water Users of the changes proposed in the Hunter Unregulated Water Sharing Plan including the cease to pump provisions.
I don't believe the proposed changes will achieve the social, economic and environmental goals that we all seek as a society.
As a result, I do not support the draft Water Sharing Plan for the Tidal Pool and have requested the Minister review the issue.
I was disappointed that I could not make it to the recent public forum held by the Tidal Pool Water Users but I have heard many of the opinions from the community.
I continue to encourage everyone to submit their views on the draft plan and also copy your concerns to my email address email@example.com. View the Hunter Unregulated Water Sharing Plan at;
Commercial interest for almost 40 gigawatts of renewable generation and storage projects has been received by the NSW Government for the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
The registration of interest representing over $100 billion of potential investment includes 24 solar energy projects, 13 onshore and seven offshore wind energy projects, 35 large-scale batteries and eight pumped hydro projects.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo) is in the early stages of planning the Hunter-Central Coast REZ and will be using this information to inform the timing, capacity and boundaries of the REZ.
It is expected that the Hunter-Central Coast REZ will be formally declared under the NSW Government’s Electricity Roadmap legislation by mid-year.
SMALL BUSINESS SUPPORT
Small businesses that experienced a downturn over summer can now apply for a NSW Government support payment of up to $5,000 per week.
The program will provide targeted support to businesses with an annual turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million that experienced a decline in turnover of at least 40 per cent in January 2022 and the start of February 2022
The payment for employing businesses will cover up to 20 per cent of weekly payroll, up to a maximum of $5,000 per week.
Eligible non-employing businesses, such as sole traders, will receive $500 per week
Applications can be made online through the Service NSW MyAccount, by visiting a local service centre, calling 13 77 88 or visiting:
ANZAC MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP
Year 10 and 11 students studying modern history are encouraged to apply for a Premier’s Anzac Memorial Scholarship to learn more about our nation’s military past and the importance of commemoration.
Up to 20 selected students will join a two-week study tour to significant historical sites to learn about the service of Australian men and women in the World Wars and other conflicts.
The 2022 study tour, accompanied by a military historian, takes place during the Term 3 school holidays (26 September to 7 October) visiting locations in Sydney, regional NSW and the ACT.
Eligible students can apply online by submitting a short personal essay, a letter of recommendation, a parent consent form and a copy of a marked history assignment.
Registrations close on 28 March at; https://www.veterans.nsw.gov.au/education/premiers-anzac-memorial-scholarship
VIRTUAL VISIT RETURNS
The NSW Parliament’s popular, Visit Us At Our House, one-hour interactive Zoom videoconference is back.
The free, live program is specifically designed to engage Year 5/6 primary school students and employs the skills of an actor and educator to bring to life the story of how Parliament works and how laws are made.
Every school in NSW can now participate and learn about Australia’s oldest Parliament and our system of government, from the comfort of their own classroom!
The program is based on the History K–10 NSW Syllabus for the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship – teachers can discover more at https://education.parliament.nsw.gov.au
SCONE DRAWS WILDCARD
Racing NSW has selected Scone Race Club to host the final opportunity for Country Championships entrants to secure places in this year’s final at Randwick on April 2.
The eight race qualifying series will see Hunter and North-West qualifiers converge on Tamworth on Sunday 6 March to decide the racing district’s two representatives.
Scone’s ‘Wild Card’ race on Sunday 20 March provides one last opportunity for horses that have already contested an earlier heat to qualify for the final.
The Scone Country Championship race distance will be 1,400 metres after having previously been run over 1,280 metres when it was held at Muswellbrook.