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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 28 August 2023


NON-GOVERNMENT Organisations have until this Friday to apply for Commonwealth and NSW Government funding to support communities affected by last year’s floods.

The NGO Flood Recovery Program is directed to organisations providing services to individuals and families in four highly impacted Department of Communities and Justice districts including New England, which covers the Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter council areas.

A total of $6.5 million is available under the NGO Flood Recovery Program - Open Competitive Grants with one-off grant funding available to any eligible community and/or volunteer-based NGO.

Applications close on Friday 1 September with more information at:


A State significant development application is being exhibited by the Department of Planning and Environment for the proposed Muswellbrook Solar Farm.

The Muscle Creek Road development proposal is for a 135-megawatt solar farm and associated infrastructure, battery storage and grid connection.

The proposed solar farm will have generation capacity to power approximately 79,000 homes with the proposed battery energy storage system having up-to-two hours of storage.

Project information including the application, environmental impact statement and accompanying documents are on exhibition until 18 September.

The Department encourages lodgement of online submissions at the planning portal:


Congratulations to the Upper Hunter electorate’s successful exhibitors who collected a trophy and 12 medals at the 2023 Sydney Royal Wine Show.

Winemakers Shaun and Liz Silkman lifted the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association Perpetual Trophy for Best Small Producer with their 2022 Reserve Chardonnay.

The Silkman’s prize cabinet now also boasts five medals from this year’s Sydney Royal comprising a gold, silver and three bronze.

Daniel and Jane Maroulis of Boydell’s, East Gresford collected four bronze medals with three whites and a red drawing the judges’ attention.

Three medals headed to Broke after Krinklewood Estate had success with its Semillon and Shiraz varieties and Winmark Wines won bronze with its single vineyard Reserve Chardonnay.


The NSW Resources Regulator wants feedback to improve safety between vehicles and workers on mine sites.

The regulator has released a vehicle interaction controls discussion paper which provides options to address concerns about the number of vehicle interactions occurring at mines.

Whilst the regulator recognises the efforts of mine operators, suppliers and industry organisations in developing ways to improve safety, it believes more needs to be done to put safety measures in place.

Mine operators have the responsibility to make sure the work environment is safe, and must take steps to reduce risks to the health and safety of their workers, if they can't get rid of them completely.

Have your say on the discussion paper by Friday 8 September at:


Transport for NSW and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union have signed a deed on a final operating model for the New Intercity Fleet.

Following last year’s agreement between government and unions to modify the fleet, Transport for NSW has now confirmed the final scope and detailed design of the modifications and submitted an order with the supplier to deliver the changes.

The new Mariyung trains, which will run on the Newcastle-Central Coast Line, have wider, more spacious two-by-two seating with arm rests, tray tables, high seat backs, charging ports for mobile devices, dedicated spaces for luggage, prams and bicycles, and modern heating and air conditioning.

The deed is subject to approval by the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator but is expected to see the New Intercity Fleet commence operations next year.


Victims of domestic and family violence in NSW now have access to an innovative new mobile phone application designed to discreetly document abuse and provide better access to support services.

The ‘Empower You’ app features a private diary for victims to easily document incidents, a

coded emergency signal that can send a GPS location and quick Triple Zero connection.

‘Empower You’ is available from the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, and NSW Police officers have QR codes on their MobiPOL devices to link to the app in the stores to download.

Anyone with information relating to domestic and family-related violence is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000, attend your local police station or in an emergency or life-threatening situation contact Triple Zero (000).


Further to last week’s advice about fire ants, people moving materials into NSW from Queensland are encouraged to know their obligations under the Fire Ant Emergency Order.

The NSW Government Order strengthens biosecurity measures providing stop and search powers to Authorised Officers, who can stop and inspect a vehicle and anything in or on it with specific relation to fire ant carrier materials.

Restrictions, which have been in place for many months, ensure that high-risk fire ant carrier materials including soil, hay, fodder, mulch, manure, quarry products, turf and potted plants are not unlawfully moved into NSW.

People in breach of the Emergency Order can face harsh penalties, so visit the DPI website for more information:


As spring approaches outdoor workers are advised to slip on protective clothing, slop on sunscreen and slap on a wide-brim hat.

The Cancer Institute NSW wants outdoor workers to make sun protection part of their daily routine because they are exposed to up to over three times more ultraviolet radiation than people working inside.

In NSW, the UV is high for at least 10 months of the year which means you still need sun protection on cool or cloudy days, even in autumn and spring.

The UV levels usually peak between 10am–2pm, or 11am–3pm during daylight savings.

Visit the Cancer Institute NSW website for more on the 'Change Your Routine' campaign:


Everyone deserves to come home safe everyday – so, the NSW Centre for Road Safety reminds us that road safety is everyone’s responsibility.

Whether you ride, drive or walk - you can do your part to keep yourself and others safe by knowing the road rules.

Did you know since 2003 there has been a default speed limit of 50km/h in urban areas?

The Road User Handbook covers the main rules you need to know to drive legally and safely with handbooks also available for motorcycle riders, bicycle riders and heavy vehicle drivers.


Up to $850,000 in Habitat Action Grants are available to improve fish habitat with applications to close on Friday 29 September.

Angling clubs, individuals, community groups, local councils and organisations interested in rehabilitating fish habitat on the coast and inland NSW can apply for grants of up to $40,000.

The Habitat Action Grants are funded from the Recreational Fishing Trusts which direct revenue generated by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee towards on-ground actions to improve fish habitat and recreational fishing in NSW.

For more information and to apply, visit:


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