• Dave Layzell MP

State Matters - 21 June 2021


MORE SENIORS TO BENEFIT FROM REGIONAL SENIORS TRAVEL CARD

The very popular Regional Seniors Travel Card, a $250 prepaid VISA card designed to ease the burden of travel costs for eligible seniors in rural, regional and remote areas including, Upper Hunter electorate will be extended.


Increased funding will allow the card to be extended from 2022 to additional seniors in the regions, including people of Age Pension age who receive either a Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia.


Seniors across regional NSW have benefited from the initial two-year travel card trial, with 337,500 cards issued in 2020 and more than 330,000 cards issued to regional seniors so far in 2021.


The card has made a big difference to the lives of seniors living in the Upper Hunter who often have fewer transport options than those living in big cities like Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong – and it will be offered again in 2022 and 2023.


The Regional Seniors Travel card has provided a significant boost to businesses across the regions.


The card can be used for pre-booked NSW Trainlink Regional trains and coaches, fuel and taxis.


From 2022, eligible applicants will include seniors of age pension age with:

  • A valid Pensioner Concession Card

  • A Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

  • A Disability Pension or a Carers Payment from Services Australia

  • A Service Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs

  • A Disability Pension through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986

  • A War Widow Pension issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs

The regional boundaries for applicants will remain the same in 2022. More information about which regional areas are included in this initiative can be found at www.service.nsw.gov.au,


Applications for 2022 cards will open in the New Year for the expanded list of eligible applicants. Applications for the card can be made online at www.service.nsw.gov.au, by calling 13 77 88 or by visiting a Service NSW Service Centre.


THE CROWN LAND MANAGER COVID-19 RECOVERY SUPPORT PROGRAM

I am delighted to advise that five organisations within the Upper Hunter electorate were successful in obtaining funding for their projects under The Crown Land Manager COVID-10 Recovery Support Program. The funding is being provided by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.


The NSW Government will provide in total $257,169 and congratulations to the following recipients:-

  • Borambil Recreation Reserve Land Manager - $2,006

  • Gundy Crown Reserves Land Manager - $6,578

  • Moonan Brook Recreation Reserve Land Manager - $103,936

  • Gresford Park Land Manager - $130,282

  • Dungog Common Recreation Reserve Land Manager - $14,367


The Crown Land Manager COVID-19 Recovery Support Program is providing $4.1 million in grants statewide to help Crown land managers recover from the pandemic by funding asset improvements and work, health and safety plans on reserves.


Applications were invited from all Crown land managers, including local councils and other trust managers, via an expression of interest which closed on 30 April 2021.


Grants valued from $5,000 to $150,000 (GST inclusive) were on offer for a range of things including:

  • Upgrades to hygiene facilities such as toilet blocks, soap dispensers and hand sanitiser stands

  • Procurement of equipment, signage and other resources to support COVID safe events

  • Work, health and safety audits for reserves by qualified professionals.

Many Crown reserves were forced to temporarily cease operations during COVID which had a significant impact on their visitors, events and income.


These grants will improve risk management practices by funding work, health and safety audits by qualified professionals to support the use of public lands.


They will also support COVID-safe event delivery such as costs associated with appointing marshals for events and hiring of event related equipment like pedestrian barriers and online permits or ticketing systems.


This program aims to boost the social benefits of Crown reserves and support regional economic recovery post-COVID while supporting jobs in regional areas.


30 MILLION FUND ANNOUNCED FOR NEW AND ACCESSIBLE TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE IN REGIONAL NSW

Our tourism operators in the Upper Hunter electorate are encouraged to apply for the $30 million Regional Tourism Activation Fund to deliver new or upgraded tourism infrastructure and improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disability.


The fund will support the construction of new iconic visitor experiences, such as cliff-top walks or unique event spaces, boosting the profile of regional NSW and giving people even more reasons to take a holiday in the regions.


This latest funding top up boosts the Regional Growth Fund’s Regional Events and Tourism package to $50 million and follows the NSW Government’s $20 million Regional Events Acceleration Fund that is delivering major events to regional NSW, including NRL matches and World Surf League events.


We are also supporting accessibility and inclusion improvements by funding upgrades such as lifts in multi-level venues and clear access pathways to give more people with disability the opportunity to experience what our regions have to offer.


Under Stream One, grants of between $200,000 and $5 million are available for projects delivering unique and high impact visitor experiences, while Stream Two provides grants of between $50,000 to $500,000 for projects that will improve the accessibility and inclusion of tourism experiences for people with disability.


The $30 million Regional Tourism Activation Fund is part of the $2 billion Regional Growth Fund. Applications open 16 June and close on 11 August 2021. For more information, go to: www.nsw.gov.au/RTAFund.