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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 21 November 2022


ROAD WORKERS THANKED!


MY closing words as the NSW Parliament wrapped up last week, both for 2022 and the current term, was to acknowledge and thank our road workers.


Transport for NSW and local council crews have collectively put in what can only be described as a herculean effort this year trying to fill potholes and make our roads safe during the wet weather.


I also want to thank Transport for the work undertaken in the past week on the New England Highway around the Thomas Mitchell Drive intersection with the rehabilitation of the road surface addressing safety concerns raised with my Electorate Office.


If you do encounter road damage on state roads such as the New England and Golden Highways call 131 700 or complete the Transport for NSW Customer Feedback form online.


Road damage involving rural roads or residential streets requires a Customer Service request to be made to the local council.


COVID CHECK


The current wave of cases continues to grow with 22,672 people diagnosed with COVID-19 in NSW during the week ended 12 November, an increase of 52.8% from the previous week.


According to the NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report, Hunter New England Local Health District, which includes the Upper Hunter Electorate, reported 2,354 cases up from 1,280 a week earlier.


Influenza activity is currently low so we are encouraged to Stay COVID safe by ensuring vaccinations and boosters are up to date.


PCR tests are recommended with early treatments available for COVID-19, such as antiviral medicines, whilst people with positive rapid antigen test (RAT) should voluntarily register their result with Service NSW.


To reduce the risk to others, NSW Health recommends you stay home until your acute symptoms have gone and that masks should be worn in indoor public places where physically distancing is not possible, and on public transport.


For more information please see; www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/stay-safe


DATA BREACH RESPONSE


NSW is set to become the first state or territory in Australia to have a mandatory notification scheme for its government agencies to respond to breaches of NSW citizens’ personal data.


The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Amendment Bill 2022 creates new standards of accountability and transparency for government bodies and introduces a mandatory notification of data breach scheme in NSW.


The scheme would apply to all NSW ‘public sector agencies’ as defined in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, including all NSW agencies and departments, statutory authorities, local councils, bodies whose accounts are subject to the Auditor General and some universities.


The bill will also expand the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, including the new scheme, to cover all NSW state-owned corporations not subject to Commonwealth privacy laws.


CTP CARE


The NSW Government has launched CTP Care, a program created under reforms to the NSW Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance scheme to provide long-term treatment and care for people injured on NSW roads, five years after their accident.


After CTP Care comes into effect on 1 December 2022, people with long-term needs due to a motor vehicle accident will begin to transfer to CTP Care at five years from their accident, or earlier if it is agreed they will have ongoing treatment and care needs.


The new program will cover services including medical treatment – including GP visits, pharmaceutical items, psychological services, physiotherapy, exercise physiology and travel to and from approved appointments.



SCHOOL POWER


Maximising the more than eight million square metres of roof space across the State’s public schools could provide renewable energy solutions.


A NSW Government Expression of Interest (EOI) is open for companies that can deliver ways to finance and operate solar and battery systems under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).


The EOI is being run alongside the Smart Energy School Pilot Project which is testing solar and battery energy storage systems at schools across the state and the feasibility of operating them as part of a virtual power plant.

Non-binding proposals received during the EOI will be shortlisted in early 2023 with the remaining proposals to be considered as part of a potential future large scale roll out across the NSW public school asset portfolio.


WOMEN’S WEEK GRANTS


Applications for the 2023 NSW Women’s Week Grants Program are now open.


Local councils and not-for-profit organisations are encouraged to apply for a share of the funding to hold events that celebrate and connect women and girls.


Funding of $100,000 is available for women-focused events to be held between 6-12 March.


Events must support at least one of the NSW Women’s Strategy 2023-26 key priorities which include economic opportunity and advancement, health and wellbeing and participation and empowerment.


Applications close 4 December 2022 at; www.nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/nsw-womens-week-grants


COERCIVE CONTROL UPDATE


NSW will become the first Australian state or territory to create a stand-alone offence for coercive control, with historic and life-saving law reforms passing Parliament.


Coercive control is a form of domestic abuse that involves patterns of behaviour that have the cumulative effect of denying victim-survivors their autonomy and independence.


The new law will make it an offence to carry out repeated abusive behaviours to a current or former intimate partner with the intent to coerce or control, and will carry a sentence of up to seven years in jail.


There will be an extensive implementation period of at least 14 months and up to 19 months before the laws commence, to allow plenty of time for training, resourcing, education and raising community awareness.


SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE


More than 5,500 aspiring early childhood educators are set to receive a financial boost from a new state government scholarship program.


The NSW Government is investing $23.5 million to provide scholarships worth up to $3,000 for students studying a Certificate III and up to $5,000 for a Diploma qualification.


The scholarships will work in conjunction with the 25,000 fee-free places for a Cert III or Diploma qualification, which means scholarship recipients receive a cash boost to support their studies in addition to not having to pay course fees.


The scholarship round is open until 15 January 2023 with current and aspiring educators encouraged to explore the new dedicated Early Childhood Careers section of the Department of Education’s website; https://education.nsw.gov.au/early-childhood-education/initiatives/early-childhood-careers


INVEST IN WOMEN


Organisations with projects that empower women and promote their wellbeing are encouraged to apply for the NSW Government’s Investing in Women Funding Program.


Metro and regional NSW organisations have been invited to apply for $1 million worth of funding under the latest round of the program.


The Investing in Women Program will support increasing women’s workforce participation and advances the role, status and contributions of women and girls in our communities.


Funding applications close on 27 November with more information and details on how to apply at; www.nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/investing-women-funding-program


NEW RULES APPLY


New rules strengthening impounding powers of NSW councils now make owners of abandoned shopping trolleys, vehicles and other unattended property more accountable.


The new Public Spaces (Unattended Property) Act 2021, replaces the Impounding Act 1993.


It places more responsibility on individuals and businesses to better manage their property within reasonable timeframes or face much stronger penalties.


The PSUP Act includes special powers for authorities to deal with stock animals wandering on public roads and causing a risk to safety, boat trailers, unregistered cars, trailers and caravans, share bikes, and personal watercraft.


For full details of the new Act view; https://dpe.mysocialpinpoint.com.au/unattended-property

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