State Matters - 21 March 2022
COUNCIL ELECTION DECISION
MY THOUGHTS are with residents of the Singleton Council area following the NSW Supreme Court’s judgment that requires them to vote again to elect their local councillors.
The NSW Electoral Commissioner took the December 2021 result to court in the public interest after the iVote system, which was being used for the first time at local council elections, failed on election day.
While the Electoral Commissioner regrets the inconvenience caused, preparations will now commence for a fresh election within three months of the court making its final orders next month.
The date will need to avoid a clash with the forthcoming federal election, however, the council will not have to pay for two elections.
Under the provisions of the Local Government Act, Singleton Council can still function until the fresh election are held.
Financial assistance is available to primary producers, small business and sporting clubs following the recent natural disaster declaration covering much of the Upper Hunter Electorate.
The natural disaster declared local government areas are MidCoast including the Gloucester region, Dungog, Singleton, Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter and Mid-Western.
Eligible primary producers can access special disaster grants of up to $75,000, small business can apply for grants of up to $50,000 and sporting clubs grants of $2,000 for clean-up and restoration costs in the aftermath of the flood event.
Primary producers can also access concessional loans up to $130,000 and transport subsidies up to $15,000 with concessional loans of up to $130,000 for small business, up to $25,000 for not-for-profit organisations and up to $10,000 for sporting clubs.
Applications for assistance must be lodged by September with more details at:
COVID-19 INFORMATION UPDATE
COVID-19 remains a health concern as an Omicron sub-variant sparks new cases and everyone eligible for vaccination or a booster dose is encouraged to act without delay.
Face masks are still required in certain high-risk settings such as public transport and public transport waiting areas, planes, and indoors at airports, public hospitals, private health facilities and residential aged care facilities or hostels.
It’s strongly recommended to wear one where it’s difficult to keep your distance from others including at supermarkets and shopping centres.
To help us better understand how to keep our family and community safe, NSW Health has released a new flow chart on what action to take if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19.
The ‘Exposed to COVID-19? Here’s what you need to do’ ready reckoner is available from the photos section of the NSW Health Facebook page.
More information is also available at the NSW Government’s COVID-19 website: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/management/people-exposed-to-covid
FUEL MARKET MONITOR
In response to fuel prices rising to record highs, the NSW government is encouraging motorists to check the free NSW FuelCheck app and shop around for the most cost-effective refill.
Petrol prices are determined by several overseas and local market forces and while the federal government does not set or control prices it has the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor the fuel industry.
Under NSW law every petrol station must report their prices in real-time and operators who fail to comply can be fined.
The FuelCheck app allows customers to compare prices for more than 2,400 petrol stations across NSW including the Upper Hunter Electorate to find the best deal by location, price or fuel type.
FuelCheck also allows users to set up alerts for when the price drops under a certain threshold – discover more at: https://fuelcheck.nsw.gov.au/app.
UPPER HUNTER ROCKS
Murrurundi has launched the Upper Hunter Electorate’s participation in the statewide Great Southern Nights live music festival supported by Destination NSW.
Music in the Great Divide hosted by the White Hart Hotel last weekend was the first of four local events to be held during the three-week celebration.
Dashville, Lower Belford has the next event on Friday night 1 April followed by gigs at the Horse & Jockey Hotel, Singleton on Saturday night 2 April and Muswellbrook Hotel, Muswellbrook from 5pm on Saturday 9 April.
The NSW Government has partnered with the Australian Recording Industry Association for Great Southern Nights to help kick start the state’s entertainment and hospitality industries.
Find out more about the beat being put back into our regional communities at:
TEACHING APPLICATIONS OPEN
NSW Education has opened applications for the next round of the FASTstream and Mid-Career Transition to Teaching programs.
FASTstream targets teaching graduates and experienced teachers with leadership ambition and talent to accelerate their career journey supporting their career development as school leaders, through the Department of Education School Leadership Institute (SLI).
The Mid-Career Transition to Teaching program, which provides a training allowance and a completion of study bonus, aims to attract mid-career professionals into a Masters of Teaching to become a high school Mathematics, Science or Technology or Applied Studies teacher.
Applications for both programs close on 1 May with more information at Teach NSW: https://education.nsw.gov.au/teach-nsw
NEW FREIGHT TRANSPORT COUNCIL
Nominations are open until later this week for membership of the state government’s new NSW Freight Transport Advisory Council (FTAC).
The new council replaces the Freight and Logistics Advisory Council (FLAC) and the Road Freight Industry Council (RFIC) and represents the entire freight chain across different transport modes as a single council.
The new body will not only discuss freight and supply chain issues, but provide input into other Government strategies, policies and projects.
The new Council will be comprised of 15 members selected through an open EOI process and will meet four times a year.
Expressions of interest close midday Monday 28 March and applications can be made at https://yoursay.transport.nsw.gov.au/nsw-ftac