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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 26 September 2022


MASKS are no longer mandatory on public transport after the NSW Government removed the requirement for taxis and rideshare services, transport waiting areas and the indoor areas of cruise terminals.

NSW Health continues to recommend that people wear masks where they cannot physically distance from others and in settings where there are vulnerable people and those who are at high risk of severe illness.

Mask wearing does remain mandatory at public hospitals, private health facilities and residential aged care facilities.

You can help combat COVID-19 and other infectious diseases by staying home if unwell, taking a COVID-19 test straight away and self-isolating, as well as staying up to date with vaccinations for both flu and COVID-19.

For the latest advice visit;


Primary producers affected by this year’s February-March flood event can now access additional funding from a jointly funded program involving the Commonwealth and NSW governments.

The Critical Producer Grant Program will provide support of up to $100,000 to restore production systems and rebuild essential infrastructure to a standard that will better withstand future disasters.

Funding is available to producers involved in dairy, extensive livestock, broadacre cropping, turf production, perennial tree crops, private native forests and timber plantations, apiary, poultry, pork, aquaculture, commercial fishers and other horticulture such as berries, vegetables, vine crops, cut flowers and nurseries.

Applications for the Critical Producer Grant program will close 30 June 2023 with more information at:


Congratulations to the Upper Hunter Electorate’s three recipients honoured at the 2022 NSW Training Awards.

Merriwa’s Tahli Gleeson named the School Based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year,

Mellanie Sutton of Belford awarded Trainee of the Year and Morgan Engineering, Singleton recognised as Small Employer of the Year.

NSW has the most diverse economy in Australia, and the students, teachers and service providers represented at this year’s Training Awards are proof that the state’s training system is leading the nation.

Our Upper Hunter award winners are among the best in the state and will now go on to be strong ambassadors for vocational education and training at the Australian Training Awards in November.


Week one of the spring school holiday, but, I am sure the Higher School Certificate class of 2022 will be finalising revision for the impending exams.

I wish our Upper Hunter Electorate HSC students all the best for the weeks ahead and with their future education and career choices.

HSC written exams commence on 12 October with English and conclude on 4 November with Design and Technology.

NSW public schools will return from the spring holiday for the final term of this year on Monday 10 October.


Many free or discounted activities are available during the spring school holidays through the NSW Government’s $10 million Holiday Break Program.

Young people can find holiday activities in their local area with a new online interactive map outlining programs, when the activities are running and how to book.

More than 100 free or discounted programs covering everything from space education to sports coaching clinics, cooking classes, rock climbing, virtual reality tournaments, Lego animation workshops and horse-riding clinics are enough to build a busy itinerary for the school holiday.

To find activities near you visit the Holiday Break interactive map;


Motorists travelling on rural roads across the Upper Hunter are being reminded to take it easy during Rural Road Safety Month.

The NSW Government’s Saving Lives on Country Roads campaign has spent the past four years trying to reduce the number of country people dying on country roads.

Road safety measures include the installation of flexible barriers, wide centre lines, rumble strips and other safety devices to help prevent run-off-road and head-on crashes.

Throughout Rural Road Safety Month we are also being encouraged make a promise to be the change they want to see on rural roads and to #chooseroadsafety.


As the Labour Day long weekend rolls around here’s the shortlist of things we need to remember.

If you are travelling, double demerit points apply between Friday 30 September and Monday 3 October for speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding without a helmet.

The speed limit sign is the maximum speed, you must not drive faster than that speed limit - on roads where there’s no speed limit sign, you must not drive faster than the default speed limit of 50km/h in ‘built-up areas’ and 100 km/h for all other roads.

And, finally, turn clocks forward one hour on Sunday morning 2 October for six months of Daylight saving which will conclude on Sunday 2 April 2023.


Nominations close on Friday night for the 2023 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

This year, Tracey Lowrey represented the Upper Hunter in recognition of her significant contribution to the Dungog community and Joss Davies of Singleton was a finalist in the One to Watch Award.

Nominations are open in six categories including Woman of Excellence, Aboriginal Woman of the Year, Community Hero of the Year, Young Woman of the Year, Regional Woman of the Year and One to Watch.

The ‘One to Watch’ recognises girls aged seven to 17, who have supported others through acts of courage, strength, determination and kindness.

The winners will be announced at the NSW Women of the Year Awards ceremony on 9 March 2023 as part of NSW Women’s Week.

To nominate an extraordinary woman or girl in your community by 11:59pm Friday, 30 September, visit:


Upper Hunter communities are encouraged to recognise and support their local veterans through the $100,000 Anzac Community Grants Program.

Projects that honour and support our veterans and those who currently serve, and that broaden our understanding of their military efforts and peacekeeping contributions are encouraged to apply for an Anzac Community Grant.

Applications are open to individuals and not-for-profit organisations, including local government, ex-service and non-government organisations and educational institutions.

Grants are available in four categories for local community historical research and education, preservation or display of war memorabilia, public commemorative events and support to members of the NSW veteran community.

The grant round closes on 11 November with details at;


NSW Return and Earn has reached a major environmental and recycling milestone with eight billion bottles, cans and drink cartons returned through the network.

Since it began in 2017, $800 million in refunds have been delivered to Return and Earn participants helping to reduce drink container litter by a massive 52 per cent.

More than $35 million in donations has also been contributed to community groups and charities since the scheme’s launch.

Return and Earn is a partnership between the NSW Government, scheme coordinator Exchange for Change and network operator TOMRA Cleanaway with more than 620 return points ranging from self-service machines to staffed automated depots for bulk returns.

Visit the Return and Earn website for more information;


The new $40 million ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ program, is the NSW Government’s investment aimed at supporting regional youth to create their own future.

Grants of up to $3 million will be delivered for targeted local initiatives that ensure regional youth can reach their full potential in their local communities.

The ‘Our Region, Our Voice’ has funding available for projects to enhance high school engagement and retention, develop work ready skills, improve access to public and private transport, support at risk-youth and assist young people to secure affordable housing.

Regional Youth Investment Program applications close 4 October with further information at;


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