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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 24 October 2022


ON THE RECORD


TWO matters of importance in the Upper Hunter Electorate have been the subject of my attention during the latest sittings of the NSW Parliament.


I used a speech to parliament to appeal for the new federal government to put common sense over politics and ensure repair work on MR 358, otherwise known as Coulsons Creek Road and the Merriwa-Willow Tree Road, is funded in this week’s budget.


Separately, in another Private Members Statement, I discussed the Martins Creek Quarry planning assessment and the conditions of consent recommended by NSW Planning to the Independent Planning Commission, whose job it now is to assess the project.


I thank the Upper Hunter Shire Council and Dungog Shire Council for the advocacy on behalf of their residents regarding these respective issues of concern.


The transcripts are available from the Hansard and House Papers section of the NSW Parliament website;


BEEKEEPERS UPDATE


Registered commercial beekeepers impacted by Varroa mite in the surveillance (purple) zones are now eligible for reimbursement payments under the National Response Plan.


The NSW Government recognises that despite not needing to have hives euthanised like those in the eradication (red) zones, beekeepers in surveillance zones have also been adversely financially impacted.


The limited Owner Reimbursement Costs offers eligible registered commercial beekeepers two options to euthanise existing hives and receive reimbursement of $290 per standard hive to re-establish new hives outside of the purple zones; or, choose to not euthanise their hives and instead receive a one-off loss-of-income reimbursement of $117 per standard hive.


The reimbursement package comes at the same time as the relaxing of some restrictions in NSW, with a change to the movement options for recreational beekeepers in the blue zone.


For more information and the latest updates on Varroa mites visit; www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/emergencies/biosecurity/current-situation/varroa-mite-emergency-response


STRONGER PROTECTION


Tough new penalties, including up to 14 years in gaol, are now law in NSW for assaulting frontline health or emergency services workers.


The legislation is part of the state government’s response to the NSW Sentencing Council’s report Assaults on Emergency Services Workers.


The new offences will better protect key frontline workers such as firefighters from the NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, pharmacy staff, community health workers and NSW State Emergency Service frontline workers.


The new offences range from up to 12 months in prison and/or a $2,200 fine, to a maximum 14 years gaol for the worst offenders.


STAFFING INCREASE


At least 10,000 temporary teachers and support staff will be offered permanent roles as part of the NSW Government's plans to increase permanent positions.


From early next year, temporary teachers in areas of need will be offered permanent roles once again as the Department of Education continues to work directly with principals to identify more permanent roles.


Temporary Student Learning Support Officers (SLSO) roles will also be converted into permanent positions.


Student Learning Support Officers work alongside teachers assisting with more disadvantaged students and those who have additional needs.


HOSPITALITY CONCIERGE


A 'one-stop-shop' concierge service has been launched by the NSW Government with a dedicated team to help start or grow hospitality businesses across the state.


Hospitality Concierge will streamline application processes, and assist businesses and local councils to navigate changes introduced through the 24-Hour Economy reforms.


The Hospitality Concierge will help councils establish special entertainment precincts to encourage and support more live music and entertainment and assist licensees navigate the various regulatory approval pathways in relation to new applications and expanded or varied business offerings.


For more on the Hospitality Concierge visit the Liquor and Gaming NSW website;


REFORM A STEP CLOSER


The bill to criminalise coercive control in intimate partner relationships has passed the Legislative Assembly of the NSW Parliament with support across the chamber.


The landmark Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Bill 2022 creates a stand-alone offence of coercive control, which will carry a maximum sentence of seven years in gaol.


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 NSW Government is facilitating a further round of consultation to assist the Legislative Council to consider this important reform next month.


WOMENS SPORT GRANTS


Applications are now open for two NSW Government grant programs with women and girls to benefit from funding to help enhance sports facilities and boost participation.

The $25 million Female Friendly Sport Facilities and Lighting Upgrades Program provides grants of up to $500,000 to help transform community sport facilities into safer and more inclusive venues.


An additional $650,000 is available through the Her Sport Her Way Grant Program to develop innovative ways to encourage more women and girls to participate in sport on and off the field as players, referees, coaches or officials.


For more on the grant programs visit; www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants


LOCAL SPORT GRANTS


Applications are also open for the state government’s Local Sport Grant Program for

grants of up to $10,000, with up to $50,000 available in each NSW electorate.


The Local Sport Grant Program is about giving community sporting clubs a boost, by investing in clubs to improve facilities, enhance accessibility and hold new and exciting events and development programs that engage people of all ages and abilities.


The program will focus on initiatives that enable more people to enjoy the benefits of playing sport, regardless of their age, gender, background or ability.


Applications close Monday 21 November with more at the Local Sport Grant Program; www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants/local-sport-grant-program.


CHILDCARE LEGISLATION


Families will be able to access cheaper, high quality childcare after the legislation underpinning landmark women’s economic opportunity reforms passed the NSW Parliament.


The NSW Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund Act 2022 will drive up to $5 billion of investment in the sector over 10 years to support NSW families with access to childcare.


The NSW Government will conduct extensive consultation with families and the sector to design the rollout of the Childcare and Economic Opportunity Fund.


A board will be established to oversee funding decisions about projects with the fund due to open for applications mid-next year.


MULTICULTURAL AWARDS


Community members can now recognise the outstanding contributions people have made to NSW’s multicultural society by nominating them for a Premier’s Multicultural Community Medal.


Submissions are also open for the Multicultural Honour Roll, which gives posthumous recognition to people who have made significant achievements in NSW.


For 10 years the NSW Government has been recognising the remarkable contributions of individuals, groups and organisations in serving the state’s multicultural society.


Among the twelve categories that people can nominate for includes a brand new award, the Community Languages Teacher Medal, which will recognise the achievements of an outstanding and innovative language teacher who instils knowledge and a love of language and culture in their students.


Nominations close Friday 18 November, with the medal winners and honour roll inductees announced at the annual Premier’s Harmony Dinner in 2023.


For more information or to nominate, visit the Multicultural NSW website


BEACH WATER QUALITY


If you are considering a summer holiday you can now plan it using the latest State of the Beaches report.


The annual report provides an overview of water quality at 214 swimming locations across the State, which are monitored under the NSW Government’s Beachwatch and Beachwatch Partnership programs.


State of the Beaches has five categories of water quality rating: very good, good, fair, poor or very poor with the latest report revealing 94 per cent of monitored ocean beaches and 80 per cent of all monitored swimming spots are graded as good or very good.


Daily Beachwatch pollution forecasts and weekly star ratings for beaches can be found at Beachwatch www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/beaches and on Twitter and Facebook.

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