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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 27 May 2024


I BEGIN this week by acknowledging the four Upper Hunter Electorate women named on the latest Hidden Treasures Honour Roll.


Congratulations to Courtney Gillis of Merriwa, Dungog’s Tracey Lowrey and Heidi Thornton along with Trudy Schultz from Gloucester.


The Hidden Treasures Honour Roll is coordinated by the NSW Rural Women’s Network to publicly recognise the important volunteer work the nominees do in their local communities.


Courtney has stepped up to help Merriwa Pony Club and Merriwa Tennis Club, Tracey has been an active member of the Dungog community for about 40 years, Heidi is the Captain of Dungog Rural Fire Service and Trudy tirelessly volunteers for numerous organisations in Gloucester.


To learn more about Courtney, Tracey, Heidi and Trudy’s contributions to our communities and also nominate local for the 2024 Honour Roll go to:



The Liddell Battery Energy Storage System is expected to be one of the projects to benefit from the NSW Government accelerating the roll out of major battery projects.


Transgrid and the Australian Energy Market Operator have been awarded $8.4 million in new funds to hire more engineers, enabling them to fast-track grid connections for four battery projects of more than 100 megawatts each.


This move will reportedly bring forward completion dates of the priority battery projects by as much as 12 months, helping to reduce current reliability risks to NSW electricity consumers.


The large batteries will play a critical role in delivering affordable, reliable energy in NSW by storing renewable energy during sunny and windy periods and supplying that electricity to the energy grid during peak demand.



WaterNSW is undertaking an environmental water release from Glenbawn Dam into the Hunter River over the next two weeks.


The release, on behalf of the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, is to facilitate migration of Australian bass over Liddell Weir to spawn in the Hunter estuary.


Liddell Weir has been identified as a key fish barrier in the Hunter River and there is currently only just enough flow over Liddell Weir for migration to occur naturally.


The increased flow commenced on Saturday 25 May and is scheduled to continue until Wednesday 12 June.


Muswellbrook Shire Council has advised there will be a minor impact at Tarinpa, formerly known as Hunter Beach, where the level is expected to rise by about 200mm during the release period and council has asked want visitors to be aware of the changed conditions.


The University of Newcastle and Australasian Fish Passage Services have been engaged to conduct monitoring of this event, including before, during and after the release.



The Upper Hunter Electorate has been the subject of additional NSW Police Force scrutiny



Traffic and Highway Patrol Command’s high-profile operation ran over five days and included the Hunter Valley and Port Stephens Hunter Police Districts.


Traffic Response Group and Operations Planning Unit provided 13 extra Highway Patrol staff and vehicles to North Region targeting alcohol and drug driving.


Between May 16 and May 20, 1418 breath tests were conducted with two mid-range readings and 725 drug tests which returned 39 positive tests that are awaiting lab results.



Household Chemical Cleanouts are giving residents across the Hunter Valley the opportunity to dispose of certain items for free over the next few weeks.


The Singleton Waste Management Facility is a collection point this Saturday between 9am and 3.30pm.


And, the following Saturday, 8 June 9am to 3.30pm, Muswellbrook Indoor Sports Centre carpark is the collection location.


You can drop off household quantities of garden chemicals, pool chemicals, household cleaners, hobby chemicals, paint, poisons, batteries, smoke detectors, fluoro lights and tubes, fire extinguishers, gas bottles, motor oils, fluids and fuels.


For more information visit or call the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.



The NSW Parliament is calling for entries in this year’s Parli-Flicks Short Film Award.


Students in Years 5 to Year 12 are being challenged to create a short film, up to one minute long, that answers this year’s theme: If you were a Member of Parliament, what is the one law that you would want to pass? 


Students can participate individually or in a group of up to five students, to create the short film which is comical, fictional, documentary style, uses live action or animation, be serious or light-hearted in tone.


Five entries will be shortlisted into categories for Best Regional, Best Metropolitan, Best Primary (Years 5 & 6), Best Junior Secondary (Years 7 – 9) and Best Senior Secondary (Years 10 – 12).


The overall winner receives a $500 prize with all other shortlisted entries to receive a $100 prize.


Entries close Friday 26 July with the finalists invited to an awards night at Parliament on Tuesday 22 October, where the winner will be announced.




All rural landholders across the state are being encouraged to conduct regular checks on their property to prevent the theft of fuel.


The NSW Police Force Rural Crime Prevention Team suggests locking your boundary gates, locking your fuel tank and, where possible, if electricity is required for the pump have it turned off when not in use.


Police are also urging landholders to consider locating storage tanks away from the road in a safe location and using CCTV to monitor them.


For further information on fuel tank security and farm security measure check out:



The NSW Government has increased fines for littering as part of the most significant strengthening of environmental regulations since the NSW Environment Protection Authority was established in 1991.


The new penalties for littering from vehicles are $500 for individuals and $1,000 for corporations. 


Littering a small item or unlit cigarette is $160, whilst littering dangerous material including a lit cigarette or e-cigarette will cost $1,000 for an individual or $5,000 for a corporation. 


Fines also apply for failure to comply with a direction to remove the litter. 


The government warns the penalties are being ramped up to reflect the risk of harm and disruption to the environment and the community, and for those doing the wrong thing the fine will no longer just be the cost of doing business.



Gloucester and Stroud residents are urged to participate in drop-in sessions on the Draft MidCoast Local Environmental Plan.


Property owners are being given the opportunity to talk to council staff about the impact of the new draft Local Environment Plan (LEP) on land use zones.


Zones dictate what can and can’t be done – from the way the land can be used and the size of lots, to the types of buildings and heights.


A drop-in session is being held outside the Art Gallery at Gloucester on Tuesday 28 May, 9am-12pm with another outside the Museum at Stroud 19 June, 10am-12pm.


Residents can have their say and make a submission by Sunday 14 July at:



Recently released NSW Youth Volunteering Guidelines will help support and boost youth volunteering in the state.


The guidelines, which are underpinned by three overarching pillars – Recruit, Retain and Recognise, are an initiative under the NSW Volunteering Strategy 2020-2030.


They were developed in response to recommendations made by the NSW Volunteering Taskforce to build the capacity of volunteer organisations to recruit, train, manage and recognise young people as active volunteers.


The NSW State of Volunteering Report 2023 showed that young people are volunteering at higher rates than ever, with 35 per cent of volunteers under the age of 30 and 70 per cent of all people under the age of 25 engaging in some form of volunteering activity.



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