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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 26 June 2023


ELECTRICITY INFRASTRUCTURE INQUIRY


The Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on State Development is calling submissions for an inquiry into the feasibility of undergrounding transmission infrastructure for renewable energy projects.


The NSW electricity system is currently undergoing a rapid transformation with five renewable energy zones established to coordinate the development of renewable generation and storage projects with transmission infrastructure that will transport electricity to where it is needed.


Concerns have been raised regarding the environmental, agricultural, community and other effects regarding transmission projects.


The terms of reference include the costs and benefits of undergrounding, existing case studies and current projects regarding similar undergrounding of transmission lines, any impact on delivery timeframes of undergrounding, and any environmental impacts of undergrounding.


Public submissions close on 14 July with hearings to follow in late-July ahead of a final report due on 31 August: www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/committees/Pages/current-events-in-committees.aspx


MUSWELLBROOK, IT’S A DATE!


Muswellbrook will be the venue for an EnergyCo community information session next week.


The Stan Thiess Centre in Hill Street is the location on Tuesday 4 July for sessions, 11am-2pm then 3-6pm.


Murrurundi CWA has sessions on Wednesday 28 June and Scone Motor Inn, Apartments and Conference centre on Thursday 29 June, 11am-2pm and 3-6pm both days.


The sessions covering the New England Renewable Energy Zone are designed to provide specific project information to the community on property, environment, community and technical matters.


VOUCHERS EXPIRE FRIDAY


Families eligible for current Back to School NSW, Creative Kids, Active Kids or First Lap vouchers are encouraged to use them before they expire this Friday, 30 June. You can check what vouchers you have available in the Service NSW app or in your MyServiceNSW Account on the Service NSW website: www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/savings-finder.


From 1 July, Active Kids will offer $50 towards sport and recreation activities for school-enrolled children until 31 January 2024.


Creative Kids will provide a $50 voucher expiring 31 January 2024 and are available if the existing $100 Creative Kids voucher hasn’t already been used. A new Active and Creative Kids voucher program will start early next year.

The First Lap voucher expiring on 30 June 2024 contributes $50 towards swimming lessons for children aged 3 to 6, who aren't enrolled in school.


I am really disappointed that before the election, NSW Labor promised to fund Active Kids but these cuts mean thousands of Upper Hunter Electorate families who relied on the annual vouchers for their children’s sporting and creative activities will be affected.


COVID-19 REMINDER


Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly, has issued a public reminder that COVID-19 is still very much around and remains a health risk.


The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ended 17 June showed 816 cases for the Hunter New England Local Health District lifting the local Year-to-Date total to 30,833.


In comparison, for 2023 so far, there have been 2,237 reported Influenza cases in Hunter New England and 2,002 cases of RSV.


Professor Kelly strongly recommends vaccine boosters for those aged 65 and over, getting a ‘flu shot, staying home if unwell and testing for COVID-19, continue regular handwashing, wear a mask and speak with your GP about the eligibility for oral antivirals should you test positive to COVID-19.


CONDOLENCE MOTION


The NSW Parliament has taken time over the last week to acknowledge the victims, survivors and communities impacted by the Hunter Valley Bus Accident.


Premier Chris Minns and Opposition Leader Mark Speakman lead the Condolence Motion in the Legislative Assembly with Minister for Roads, the Hon John Graham, and Shadow Minister for Regional Transport and Roads, the Hon Sam Farraway, leading reflections in the Legislative Council.

Meantime, the Australian Red Cross Emergency Service team has provided information to my electorate office to assist the local community following the Greta coach tragedy.


It includes resources for parents and teachers: www.redcross.org.au/parents-teachers/

as well as Coping with a crisis and Recovering after an emergency: www.redcross.org.au/emergencies/


TEACHER AVAILABILITY INCREASES


Almost 5,500 teachers and support staff have accepted NSW Government offers to become permanent employees in under two months.


The Government has committed to offer 16,000 temporary teachers and school-based support staff conversion to permanent contracts by the beginning of Term 4 in October.


Staff eligible for an offer have been working in their current school for at least three years.


Staff who accepted offers by the end of May are anticipated to have their first day of permanent duty next month on day one of Term 3.


All other permanent appointments under the program are anticipated to be in place by the start of the next school year.


Offers do not depend on there being current permanent vacancies at the school and principals have not been restricted in seeking to fill existing permanent vacancies while the initiative was developed.


ABERDEEN’S TOURISM DRAWCARD


This Saturday, Jefferson Park resumes its important annual role for the salute all things Scottish during the 22nd Aberdeen Highland Games.


At 9am, the Grand Parade commences on Harrison Oval with a parade of bands, clan representatives and others that leads into the Massed Band Salute.


The Chieftain of the 2023 Games is Simon Abney-Hastings, 15th Earl of Loudoun, who will deliver the Chieftain’s Address to officially open the day.


The clans will then enjoy pipe band displays, highland and country dancing and strong man events before the Cèilidh caps off festivities on Saturday evening in Muswellbrook.


For Games updates visit: https://aberdeenhighlandgames.com


VOLUNTEER FOR MUSTER


Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry has put a call out for volunteers to assist with this year's Great Cattle Dog Muster.


The festival highlight is the Community Family Fun Day at Muswellbrook Showground on Saturday 9 September, 10am to 4 pm,


Some of the volunteer roles include welcoming visitors at the entry to the event and assisting in the Pet Cattle Dog activities area, Balloon Giveaway Marquee, Live Country Music stage and 'Kids Zone' children's activities area.


You can choose to volunteer for the whole day or just a few hours by contacting the Chamber at: info@muswellbrookchamber.com.au


For more on the Muster visit: www.greatcattledogmuster.com.au


FAIR DINKUM FIGURES


Used vehicle buyers now have free public access to odometer readings for an extra level of certainty that the kilometres on a potential purchase are what the vehicle has actually done.


Buyers of cars, trucks and motorbikes can view the previous three annual odometer readings of vehicles registered in NSW, giving them a better chance to identify any discrepancies and avoid unscrupulous sellers.


Transport for NSW, NSW Fair Trading and Service NSW have launched the new feature on the Service NSW website and app.


Vehicle buyers who suspect odometer readings have been tampered with can alert NSW Fair Trading via the Service NSW website launch.


Customers can also obtain a comprehensive vehicle history report for $23, which includes information on written-off and stolen vehicles, and now the recorded odometer readings.


Visit the Service website to access the "Check a vehicle registration" function: www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/check-a-vehicle-registration


COMMUNITY ACHIEVEMENT NOMINATIONS


Nominations are now open for the 2023 NSW/ACT Community Achievement Awards.


The awards started in 2002 to encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions that individuals, communities and businesses make throughout NSW & The ACT.


The awards are for Connecting Communities, Customer Service, Safety, Small Business and Leadership with NSW Government supported awards for Council Crown Land Management Excellence, Crown Land Management Excellence and Individual Excellence in Crown Land Management.


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