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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 24 July 2023


THE Upper Hunter Electorate has been in the news spotlight following the recent visit by NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders.

He used his address to the NSW Farmers Conference in Sydney to call for more preparation and planning for drought highlighting Rouchel as one location where locals told him recently that they are already in drought.

The Shadow Agriculture Minister also criticised the Labor government for lacking a long-term vision to tackle the growing feral pig problem across regional NSW after speaking to Merriwa farmers.

The state government’s additional $8 million to fund a coordinated control program adds to the $5 million that had already been committed by the former Coalition government.

As I advised my party leader, I have heard the concerns of landholders right across my electorate that we need a meaningful long-term pest management solution.


Beekeepers, horticulture and cropping industries in the Upper Hunter Electorate affected by the Varroa mite outbreak have been promised a share of $31 million in government support.

An updated plan for the next three years of the response had been endorsed by the National Management Group, which includes representatives from all states, the Commonwealth and industry groups.

Operational cost of the response is approved and cost-shared by all governments and 16 industry parties, and the progressive spend is monitored by all parties on a regular basis.

For more information visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website:


A new battery planned for the Upper Hunter has been approved by NSW Planning and Environment to help future-proof NSW’s power supply.

The $157 million-150 megawatt (MW) / 300 MW-hour (MWh) battery energy storage system will be established near Muswellbrook to capture, store and distribute energy.

The battery, with a lifespan of 20 years, is expected to be connected to the existing electricity network and operational towards the end of 2025.

This cutting-edge technology will help secure supply for thousands of homes and be used during peak power consumption times and provide backup during outages or extreme weather events reducing the need for costly distribution upgrades or emergency generators.


Run Dungog’s trail running festival will hit the track at the Dungog Common on Sunday August 6.

Last year, 300 entrants took to the Common and over $10,000 was raised to assist the local community centre.

There are three runs over 5, 10 and 20 kilometres with more information at:

Then on Saturday 26 August, the Rotary Club of Singleton stages its annual Lake St Clair Charity Bike Ride.

This is the Ride’s seventh year spreading the word of riding and healthy lifestyles plus raising money, this year for local not-for-profit disability service provider, Witmore.

There are three ride options from a leisurely 16 kilometre ride in the countryside through to a tough 75km climbing challenge, discover more at:


Local Land Services is keenly awaiting replies to this year’s Annual Land and Stock Returns.

The return is essentially a 'farm census' and provides important information on land use and livestock numbers across the state.

Even if you don’t have any livestock, your return helps build a picture of land use in NSW and is a legal requirement which may help you avoid additional levies being applied to your next LLS rates.

The information will also allow the LLS to quickly and accurately respond to emergency or biosecurity events, monitor flocks and herds for emergency animal diseases and helps keep domestic and international markets open.

Submit your return by 31 August either manually using the paper form and reply-paid envelope or via the secure online portal:


A new $60 million national program to transform plastic waste into valuable products is encouraging participation by NSW businesses.

The Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) Plastics Technology stream will boost existing recycling infrastructure and uncover new methods of processing plastics that are difficult to recycle.

NSW businesses can apply for grants of between $1 million and $20 million per project.

Projects can include new infrastructure or improvements to existing machinery, equipment, technology and processes with a focus on projects that take hard-to-recycle plastics, including soft plastics like shopping bags, bread bags and cling wrap.

For further information and applications visit the NSW Environment Protection Authority:


Spontaneous volunteers, who turn up to help in a crisis, are the key focus of a new consultation process being undertaken by the NSW Government.

The consultation aims to improve understanding of when and how NSW residents sign up to volunteer programs and why they choose to spontaneously volunteer in the face of a crisis or recovery.

It will explore volunteer experiences, motivations and any barriers to joining, to help the state government enhance recruitment, retention and recognition programs.

Emergency services including the SES, RFS and Fire and Rescue NSW are being consulted along with volunteers across the state, with all community members also able to have their say online by 4 August at:


Inspirational women and their achievements in our state’s councils can now be nominated for a prestigious awards program.

The 2023 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government will recognise the significant contribution women make to NSW councils.

The award categories include the Alternative Pathways Award, Champion of Change Award, Young Achiever’s Award and Woman of Distinction Award.

The annual awards will be announced at Parliament House on 4 October with nominations closing on 17 August:


NSW Health has opened the 2024 Junior Medical Officer (JMO) recruitment campaign.

Junior doctors can apply for positions in a range of specialties including general medicine, intensive and emergency care, pain management, psychiatry and pathology.

They will develop their medical careers within the country’s largest public health system which offers a wide variety of vocational and non-vocational positions and specialty training programs to gain valuable experience and progress their professional careers.

Junior doctors recruited will start in their new positions in February next year.

The main round of JMO recruitment closes 8 August 2023 with a second round to open on 3 October on the NSW Health website:


The biennial exhibition, Sculpture on the Farm, is set to be held at 'Fosterton', Dungog over the October Long Weekend.

Finalists for Sculpture on the Farm 2023 have been announced after an overwhelming response attracted more entries than could possibly be displayed on site.

The showcase of established and emerging Australian sculptors will display up to 150 works in the galleries, gardens and paddocks of the picturesque rural cattle property.

Sculpture on the Farm is also committed to making an enduring contribution to the Dungog community by providing prize winning sculpture for public display following each exhibition.

Discover more about Sculpture on the Farm at:


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