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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 27 February 2023


APPRENTICES and trainees can now apply for the NSW Government’s Regional Apprentice and University Student Travel Card.

The card will reduce travel costs by providing a $250 boost to cover the cost of fuel, taxis and public transport.

Eligible apprentices and trainees who apply will receive their prepaid debit card within weeks.

Applications for university students, including mature aged students aged up to 66 years-and-6 months, commence from the end of April when enrolments are confirmed.

More details about eligibility and how to apply are available on the Service NSW website:


Young drivers in regional NSW will be given a cash incentive to help them buy a newer, safer vehicle under a state-first program by the NSW Government.

The new Safer Cars for Country Kids program will provide a $5,000 subsidy for up to 1,000 young drivers to help them purchase a safer car.

The government will first trial up to 50 young people in selected areas, before rolling out in phases to all regional areas across the state.

If you’re under the age of 25, drive a car with a used car safety rating of 1 or 2 stars or is unrated and over 16 years old, you may be eligible to participate in the program and upgrade to a safer vehicle.


Denman Public School is one of the 50 schools participating in the first phase of the Rewarding Excellence in Teaching Program.

The first cohort of 200 high-achieving public school teachers is undertaking the career pathway this year which recognises outstanding work and ensures teachers stay in the profession.

Additionally, new cash incentives of up to $4,000 will be offered to the state’s public school teachers, in a bid to encourage more to gain national Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALT) accreditation.

There are already 310 HALTs in NSW with the accreditation recognising highly effective, innovative and exemplary teaching practice, and enables all NSW teachers to access salaries of up to $120,000.

The new incentives will be in addition to a $7,000 pay rise, which will now come into effect immediately after the teacher finalises their accreditation.

Teachers can register to complete their HALT accreditation on the NESA website:


Lambs Valley and Luskintyre are among the locations for 50 projects to be funded by the $2.4 million Riparian Restoration Grants Program announced by the NSW Government.

The program is being run by Local Land Services with projects being delivered by Landcare and other natural resource management groups.

Lambs Valley Community and Landcare will undertake upper catchment restoration of Lambs Valley Creek, with Luskintyre Landcare Group conducting weed control on the Hunter River at Luskintyre.

These organisations will be undertaking grass-roots projects designed to restore and future-proof damaged riparian areas with works expected to be completed by September.


Business cases for future state government infrastructure projects will measure the cost of carbon to drive down emissions and costs for the people of NSW.

The measure is among actions as part of the Decarbonising Infrastructure Delivery Roadmap released by the NSW Government.

Consultation will occur this year on the draft Protection of the Environment Policy (PEP) for sustainable construction being delivered by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

The PEP will require public infrastructure projects to further improve design and construction to reduce carbon and prioritise the use of low-carbon recycled or remanufactured substitute materials derived from waste streams in NSW.

The government has also released Circular Design Guidelines, which are another milestone under the Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy:


Applications are open for a new annual award within the prestigious NSW Premier’s History Awards.

The inaugural $10,000 Anzac Memorial Trustees Military History Prize is for a work of non-fiction on the involvement of Australians in wars, campaigns, battles and/or peacekeeping operations which are represented in the Anzac Memorial’s Hall of Service.

All historians with an interest in our military history are encouraged to apply for the award as it will help future generations learn about and understand the bravery, dedication and legacy of our veterans.

In the Anzac spirit, the prize is open until 6 April to citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand with winners announced in September.

More information is available at the NSW Premier's History Awards website:


New members of the state government’s fourth Regional Youth Taskforce met for the first time recently in Tamworth to discuss issues important to regional youth.

Merriwa’s Jorji Taaffe represents the Upper Hunter electorate on the 18-member taskforce shaping a brighter future for young people right across regional NSW.

The discussion marked the first of four official meetings this year where the taskforce will examine topics that are important to them.

Jorji said “every single person raised such important issues regarding youth, from access to mental health facilities, safety on public transport and youth resources and gatherings in regional areas.”


Mobile telephone reception in the bush especially small communities, tourism hotspots and along key transport corridors will get a $250 million boost from the NSW Government.

The program will drive better coverage and better choice in regional areas by continuing the investment already made in more than 120 mobile towers to address known blackspots.

The new program will target small regional communities with little to no existing coverage, key transport corridors to help drive increased productivity and improved safety and visitor economies where major events draw large crowds.

Applications open in May for funding to be delivered through multi-carrier partnerships.

The Mobile Coverage project is part of the Regional Digital Connectivity program and funded through the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund:


Cutting-edge skills in high demand areas including cybercrime and artificial intelligence are being delivered by the new Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) – Digital.

The nation-leading Institute is a partnership between TAFE NSW, Microsoft, the University of Technology Sydney and Macquarie University.

The Institute is home to the first Cyber Range Training Centre in NSW, placing world-class training facilities right at our doorstep, fitted with the latest simulation and digital technology to fight cybercrime.

For more on the Institute of Applied Technology visit:


Lower Hunter community groups, small businesses and organisations can now apply for Hunter Water's 2023 Love Water Grants program.

A one-off grant of up to $10,000 will support initiatives that promote water conservation, sustainability and innovation.

Hunter Water has been supporting the community with water conservation, environmental and social awareness initiatives for more than 30 years, with the Love Water Grants now its flagship program.

Applications are open until Tuesday 14 March at:


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