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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 24 January 2022


A NEW YEAR starts and I renew my call for residents to be vaccinated as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the Upper Hunter electorate.

NSW Government-run vaccination clinics at Muswellbrook, Manning Base and Tamworth hospitals and the Newcastle Vaccination Centre, Belmont are now offering COVID booster vaccinations three months after people received their second dose.

Vaccinations for children aged five to 11 have commenced with appointments available from Aboriginal Medical Services, NSW Health clinics, general practitioners and community pharmacies.

The federal government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic Finder for GP practices and pharmacies can be accessed at


If you test positive to COVID-19 using a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) there is a requirement to register your result with Service NSW.

Non-compliance carries a $1,000 fine which may be enforced after a seven-day grace period ended last week.

To register results go to the Service NSW website or use the Service NSW app

Should you need assistance contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.


Congratulations to the Upper Hunter electorate’s HSC class of 2021 and I hope your results reflect the efforts put in during what was a challenging past two years.

It was wonderful that two local students were among those recognised as HSC Achievers in Course.

Hannah Kate Marquet from Dungog High School for her retail services examination and Scone Grammar School’s Molly Wong for her hospitality exam.

I would also like to acknowledge the experienced and dedicated teachers who, along with family and friends, supported and encouraged these young people during their HSC journey.

School leavers wanting to explore vocational education options at TAFE NSW Muswellbrook, Scone, and Singleton can participate in information sessions through until the end of February.


Applications are open for the 2022 NSW Regional Seniors Travel Card with expanded eligibility criteria in place this year.

Eligible applicants receive a $250 pre-paid Visa card to use for fuel, taxis, pre-booked NSW TrainLink Regional trains and coaches, and select community transport services.

Seniors can apply for a travel card if they have reached the Age Pension age or are receiving either a Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment from Services Australia.

Applications are open until 30 November with the latest health advice that seniors are strongly advised to apply online rather than visiting a service centre, by going to, or call 13 77 88.


The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking feedback from water users and other key stakeholders on new draft water sharing plans.

The Hunter Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sharing Plan and the Lower North Coast Water Sharing Plan propose to establish rules for water management including the limit of the total volume of water that can be extracted.

Public information webinars will be held during the first two weeks of February.

Submissions close on Sunday 27 February ahead of the final water sharing plan coming into effect in July 2022.

To read the draft water sharing plans visit:


Local half-day public holidays have been approved by the NSW Government for the Muswellbrook and Scone Cup race days.

Friday 1 April has been declared a half-day local public holiday from midday for the Muswellbrook Cup following representations by Muswellbrook Shire Council.

Upper Hunter Shire Council’s request for a Scone Cup Carnival half-day local public holiday has been approved from midday Friday 13 May 2022 and for Friday 12 May 2023.

The Order made under the Public Holidays Act 2010 was published on the NSW Legislation website on 17 December 2021.


Women looking to take up leadership development opportunities are encouraged to apply for the Future Women Rural Scholarship program.

The NSW Government has launched a new round of the successful initiative for women aged 18-39 living in remote, rural and regional areas of the state.

Recipients receive a place in the Future Women Platinum+ Program worth $5,500 as well as an invitation to attend the Future Women Leadership Summit on 7-8 March to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Applications close on Friday 28 January and recipients will be announced on 14 February 2022. More at


Service NSW’s Mobile Service Centre (MSC) is back in the Upper Hunter electorate over the next few weeks.

MSC locations are the Stroud Uniting Church on 28 January 9am-1pm, Scone at the Upper Hunter Shire Council offices on 1 February 9am-4pm, Murrurundi Visitor Information Centre on 2 February 10am-3pm and 9 February 10am-3pm at Junction Park, Werris Creek.

Driver testing appointments are available at Stroud and Scone by calling Service NSW.

Further information on service locations, services available or opening hours go to or call 13 77 88.


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