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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 23 January 2023


A FRESH round of public input has been requested after Daracon submitted new information regarding its amended development application for the Martins Creek Quarry Extension Project.

The company has further reviewed its proposed road haulage rates for the project following the Independent Planning Commission’s (IPC) public meeting held late last year.

The IPC Commission Panel is now taking submissions specifically relating to the new material only until 5pm Tuesday 31 January at its submissions email address

A statement from the Commission and the additional information from the company can be found in the documents section of the Martins Creek application on the IPC website


New Hunter Gas Pipeline owner, Santos, has advised that it will only use its recently approved Authority to Survey (ATS) as a “last resort.”

The Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean has approved the company’s application to allow the completion of ecological and cultural heritage surveys along the pipeline route.

The ATS allows Santos to access properties where reasonable attempts to negotiate access with the landholder or resident have been unsuccessful.

Santos believes it only be activated in the “few cases” where it has been unsuccessful in contacting landholders or reaching an access agreement.


NSW Health is asking people with COVID-19 symptoms not to ignore them or assume it is something else.

If you do have any cold or flu symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or runny nose, please stay home and get tested for COVID.

Hunter New England ended 2022 with a total of 406,804 COVID cases and the Local Health District already has 3,571 recorded infections during the opening fortnight of this year.

Health officials continue to encourage us to hold gatherings outdoors in well-ventilated spaces to help stop the spread of the infection.


The community events calendar is already getting busy, especially for the weekend of Saturday 25 March, with the Hunter Valley Airshow, Gloucester Show and the NSW State Election.

NSW has fixed term elections and to borrow from the NSW Parliament website “Under the NSW Constitution, the people of New South Wales are asked to elect their state representatives every four years on the fourth Saturday of March.”

If you can’t attend a polling place on election day, application can now be made for a postal vote with forms distributed to residential letterboxes last week.

If you require a postal vote please complete the form, seal it and use the free, reply-paid panel to return it for submission to the NSW Electoral Commission.


Expressions of Interest (EOI) are currently open for round three of the state government’s $100 million Regional Job Creation Fund.

Applications are encouraged that attract investment through co-funded projects and initiatives to support economic growth, enhance job opportunities, boost staff retention, and grow and diversify business in regional NSW.

Eligible businesses can apply for grants of between $100,000 and $10 million for projects such as replacing plant equipment, upgrading technology and ensuring businesses that might otherwise have to relocate can remain operational in regional areas.


A new school year commences from next week with NSW Government financial assistance available to get students prepared for day one of term one.

The Premier's Back to School NSW Vouchers program is open to parents, guardians, carers or students, who can apply for three $50 vouchers totalling $150, for each eligible student.

The vouchers can be used to buy school uniforms, shoes, bags, technology, textbooks and other eligible expenses at registered businesses before 30 June this year.

You can apply using a MyServiceNSW account or at a Service NSW Centre with more information available at;


Parents of primary school-aged children are also reminded to download the state government’s $500 Before and After School Care (BASC) voucher by the end of the month.

Families with a child going into Kindergarten this year can access the voucher before the deadline of 31 January.

Once downloaded, parents have until 30 June to use the vouchers, allowing families to take advantage of both before and after school care and vacation care in the coming months.

Customers can register and apply online via a MyService NSW account or by visiting the nearest Service Centre with more information at;


A further $2 million has been committed by the NSW Government to the Cattle Underpass Scheme (CUPS).

The program helps keep dairy farmers and their livestock safe when crossing busy roadways.

Grants are available for 50 per cent of the cost of an underpass, up to a maximum of $100,000 plus GST, and for 50 per cent of the cost of signs and flashing lights, up to a maximum of $20,000 plus GST.

Interested producers can find out what is required to apply and lodge an application at


Applications are open for BHP’s small grants program which provides one-off grants of up to $10,000 to community organisations and not for profit groups.

The Benefiting My Community Program aims to support grassroots activities and events that benefit the community, encourage participation and build community capacity.

Applications are invited from community organisations and groups based in Muswellbrook, Denman, Singleton, Scone and the Upper Hunter that can demonstrate intended benefit for the community.

Organisations that need a bit of extra support are encouraged to contact


Two community halls in Branxton are set for improvements after state government funding was secured.

Concrete piers supporting the Branxton RSL Sub-Branch Memorial Hall in Maitland Street will be stabilised using a grant of $40,000.

Meantime, the Branxton Community Hall in Bowen Street can progress plans for air conditioning of the building with almost $30,000 granted to the project.

Congratulations to Helen Scott from the Community Hall and the RSL Sub-branch committee led by president Brian Furner on the success of the applications for assistance.


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