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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 27 June 2022


A SIGNIFICANT announcement in the 2022-23 NSW Budget is the expansion of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS).

The NSW Government is investing an additional $149.5 million to increase the subsidies available to ease the financial burden on people in rural and regional NSW who travel to get specialist care.

The subsidy for people requiring accommodation will almost double, while the private vehicle subsidy rate rises from 22 cents to 40 cents per kilometre for patients who have to travel more than 100 kilometres for care.

For the first time, the scheme will be expanded with patients seeking non-commercial clinical trials, high risk foot clinics, highly specialised publicly funded dental health clinics and ocularists to be eligible for assistance.

For more on of the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme visit:


Flood-affected communities across the Upper Hunter electorate may be able to obtain free legal advice as a result of $3 million funding to aid ongoing relief and recovery.

The Commonwealth funding will be divided between agencies including Legal Aid NSW’s Disaster Response Legal Service, the Tenants’ Union of NSW and Justice Connect to ensure people recovering from the NSW floods can access critical legal support and advice.

A total of 60 local government areas across NSW were impacted by flooding in February and March including Dungog, MidCoast, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter and it’s important the right support is in place to help flood-affected residents access the legal advice and assistance.

Further information about the services being provided by the legal assistance sector in response to the floods can be found at or at


NSW Health’s GradStart program for graduate nurses and midwives is currently taking applications for 2023.

GradStart is the recruitment process coordinated by the Ministry of Health's Nursing and Midwifery Office for NSW Health facilities in rural, regional and metropolitan NSW.

Graduates can apply if they are completing a nursing or midwifery degree between 1 June 2022 and 31 May 2023 and will meet all the requirements to become a registered nurse or registered midwife with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia before the agreed start work date.

Applications for 2023 GradStart close on 6 July at:


Laws for licensed real estate, property and stock agents are currently in the spotlight with a review of the Property and Stock Agents Regulation 2014.

The proposed new Property and Stock Agents Regulation 2022 has been modernised and improved with more clarity, better consumer protections and less administrative load for agents.

It keeps many existing rules with some minor changes, including strengthening the requirements for agents to disclose information about expression of interest deposits and returning deposits to potential buyers and reducing the administrative load for agents by changing the disclosure of material facts requirements.

Agents, property owners, consumers and those who work for an industry body are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed new Regulation.

Have your say by completing the online survey or upload a submission by 6 July at:


I congratulate Ebony Ford, Samar Obeid, Michelle Eckersley and Rebecca Jackson on being finalists in the recent NSW Women in Mining Awards.

BHP Mt Arthur Coal had Ebony Ford among the four finalists in the Outstanding Trade, Operator or Technician Award and was represented by Samar Obeid in the Exceptional Young Woman Award.

Michelle Eckersley, who is employed by Thiess as an Environment and Community Officer at the Mount Pleasant Operation, was a contender for the Technological Innovation Award for mine site rehabilitation.

And, Yancoal Australia’s Exploration Manager, Rebecca Jackson, was an Exceptional Woman Award finalist for recruiting women to mining, including taking time to mentor and advise young women candidates.


The NSW Parliament has become the first state or territory legislature in Australia to introduce live captions enhancing the accessibility of parliamentary proceedings for everyone in the community.

Captioning of the broadcasts will play a major role to ensure members of the deaf or hard of hearing community can participate more easily in our democratic system of government.

A dedicated team of stenographers will deliver captions in real time using technology developed from the model used by the United Kingdom’s House of Commons.

You can watch NSW Parliament in action, including the new live captions at when Parliament is sitting.


It might be a simple message to ‘Lock It or Lose it’ but NSW Police say theft statistics do provide some important crime fighting tips to back-up that statement.

Police advise residents to give priority to locking doors and windows at night with 70 per cent of thieves entering homes whilst victims sleep upstairs or inside.

The police tip to stop car thefts before they happen is to avoid leaving garage remotes in vehicles and keeping it on a keyring instead so you know where it is at all times.

Half of vehicles stolen are left unlocked with a remote to the garage inside which can then give thieves access to your home.

If your property is stolen it could leave you vulnerable to frauds and identity theft.


Whilst we are on the subject of safety advice, Fire and Rescue NSW invites you to its website to learn about fire safety while cooking and to tempt you with firefighters’ recipes.

The leading cause of home fires in NSW is leaving cooking unattended with Fire and Rescue responded to approximately 4,500 residential house fires each year.

Half of house fires start in the kitchen, mostly due to unattended cooking with electrical appliances and faults causing almost 40 per cent of home fires.

Fire and Rescue’s ‘Keep Looking when Cooking – Distractions can lead to a kitchen fire’ program discusses fire safety including how to respond if your pan catches fire.

Discover more including those firefighter recipes at: click on Fire Safety then follow the Home Fire Safety link.


Upper Hunter electorate students are encouraged to get creative for an art competition to commemorate next year’s 70th anniversary of the RSL and Schools Remember ANZAC Commemoration.

The NSW Government and RSL NSW have launched the event with Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell encouraging students to speak to their school and submit a design that will feature on the 2023 program and at an exhibition at the Anzac Memorial in Hyde Park.

The State Government and the Department of Education have co-hosted the service with RSL NSW and want to acknowledge the 70th anniversary with a commemorative program to which New South Wales students can contribute.

More information including the guidelines and how to submit artwork is available at:


The NSW Interpreting Scholarship Program wants to recruit people with the skill to speak another language which could lead to a career as an interpreter.

More than 265 people have already become qualified interpreters since the world-class scholarship program was introduced in 2019.

Students who successfully complete the course will also be eligible for certification as an interpreter through the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters.

Successful scholarship recipients for new and emerging community languages will have their course fees paid, and upon graduation will be provided with ongoing mentoring and casual employment by Multicultural NSW.

For more on the NSW Interpreting Scholarship Program:


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