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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 27 November 2023


AFTER a week of waiting patiently for substantial rainfall to arrive, it was reassuring to have the Aussie Hay Runners (AHR) return last weekend.

A convoy of 34 trucks made AHR’s second and final run into the Upper Hunter shire for this year delivering 1,175 bales to help another 120 farmers and their communities.

It brought Hay Runners generosity to 2,375 bales, valued at more than $225,000, which has assisted 245 farmers across the Upper Hunter shire - and, they are hoping to be back in early-2024.

Thank you to everyone who helps the AHR convoy when it rolls into our electorate and a huge vote of thanks to Linda Widdup, Heyfield Lions Club, Gippsland Hay Relief and the NSW Rural Assistance Authority for making the hay runs possible in times of need.


The NSW Government has created a $250 million Drought Ready and Resilient Fund (DRRF).

Eligible primary producers can apply for low interest loans of up to $250,000 to fund a broad range of operational products, activities and services to prepare and respond to the impacts of drought.

The DRRF will for the first time allow farmers to access loans for other core activities like the purchasing of fodder and transport of livestock to protect their welfare.

Refocusing of the $120 million Farm Innovation Fund, to the Drought Infrastructure Fund, will see loans of up to $1 million offered at a low interest rate of 2.5 per cent to promote capital investment in on-farm infrastructure.

Applications are now open for the Drought Infrastructure Fund with Drought Ready and Resilient Fund applications to begin this Friday, 1 December.

For more information go to the Rural Assistance Authority website:


The NSW Independent Planning Commission will conduct a public meeting in Muswellbrook next week on the Bowmans Creek Wind Farm.

Speakers must register by next Monday for the hearings in the Atherstone Room of Upper Hunter Conservation of Music on Thursday 7 December and Friday 8 December.

And, Upper Hunter electorate communities are invited to provide input and feedback on the proposed route for the Hunter Transmission Project.

Energy Corporation of NSW has identified a 115-kilometre proposed corridor between Bayswater and Eraring for electricity transfer from the New England and Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zones to Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra homes and businesses.

A public information session will be held at the Singleton Youth Venue on Wednesday 6 December, 3-7pm, with comment to close on 18 December. 


COVID-19 activity increased across all indicators in the past fortnight according to the latest NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report.

At this stage of the pandemic, NSW Health says the best indicators of COVID activity in the community are emergency department (ED) presentations and sewage surveillance.

The were 412 confirmed cases in the Hunter New England Local Health District in the past two weeks taking the 2023 total to 36,157 – with 105 Influenza and 49 RSV cases for the fortnight.

NSW Health advises that COVID activity is at moderate to high levels and continues to increase, whilst Influenza activity is slowly declining and is close to inter-seasonal levels.

Current health advice is to stay home if you have cold or flu symptoms, wear a mask if you need to leave home, get an additional COVID-19 vaccine booster if eligible and for further information visit:


Applications open this week for the NSW Government’s Clubgrants Category 3 program.

The grants are for arts and culture, community, disaster readiness, and sport and recreation.

Funding from $50,000 to $300,000 will support sport and recreation infrastructure including projects such as sports centres, playgrounds and swimming pools.

From $50,000 to $200,000 is available to support arts and culture infrastructure including museums, art galleries or cultural centres.

Disaster readiness infrastructure funding of $50,000 to $200,000 is available to support evacuation centres, capital equipment or a multipurpose community facility.

Grant funding of between $50,000 and $250,000 will support community infrastructure such as a multipurpose community hub or a service for an eligible community group.

Application closes 18 December with more information at:


As the year draws to a close, some welcome news for seniors with the 2024 Legal topics diary becoming available from this week.

The free publication contains essential legal information for older people including scams, neighbour disputes, consumer rights and owning and renting your home.

A copy of the diary can be picked up from the Upper Hunter Electorate Office, Muswellbrook and they will be distributed across the electorate so they be shared around among seniors.

Tech-savvy seniors are encouraged to go online and complete Legal Aid NSW’s diary survey with details on the inside front cover.


If you have moved from interstate and are now living in the Upper Hunter electorate, a friendly reminder that you do need to register your vehicle in New South Wales.

If a vehicle, and this includes caravans and trailers, is kept or garaged in NSW and doesn't have NSW registration, it is considered 'unregistered'.

Severe penalties apply if you drive an unregistered or uninsured vehicle.

Rules also exist for interstate corporate vehicles with companies encouraged to check what conditions apply.

For the trip to your local Service NSW Centre have proof of registration entitlement to verify how the vehicle came into your possession or management and a blue slip report from an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Scheme (AUVIS) station.


NSW Ambulance is encouraging members of the community to sign up for a free mobile telephone app which could potentially save lives.

GoodSAM will alert nearby registered community members who are willing to perform chest compressions - also called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – until paramedics arrive.

By integrating with the Triple Zero (000) dispatch system, a NSW Ambulance Emergency Medical Call Taker will step the volunteer through providing CPR, while paramedics respond to their location.

You can register as a GoodSam responder if you’re 18 years old or over, and able and willing to perform CPR.

You don’t need to have formal first aid or CPR training to sign up with a video is available on the NSW Ambulance website:


The NSW Parliament has made it easier for the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to close roads in fire emergencies.

Approval of the Emergency Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 removes a requirement for the RFS to seek permission from Transport for NSW to close roads.

It will see a return to the previous arrangement where the RFS only needed permission for closures relating to rail corridors.

While the RFS no longer needs to seek permission before closing roads, it will need to notify Transport for NSW in a timely manner after a road is closed.


TAFE NSW has opened enrolments for Semester 1, 2024 with prospective students being urged to see what courses are available next year.

A further 147,400 fee-free TAFE places will be available in NSW over the next three years giving more people the opportunity to study for future jobs in areas where the economy needs them most.

Commonwealth Government funding towards Fee-Free TAFE to address persistent skills shortages has resulted in considerable savings for students.

Studying a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care or a Certificate III in School Based Education Support could potentially save up to $1,600.

To enrol for 2024 or explore Fee-Free courses go to:


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