• Dave Layzell MP

State Matters - 28 June 2021


COVID Update

I would like to take this opportunity to let you all know that I too have been caught up in the COVID lockdowns. As I attended Parliament last week, I now need to isolate for two weeks.


Regrettably I have to reschedule meetings and functions, however, in the meantime I am available for video conferences so please do not hesitate to contact me via email at upperhunter@parliament.nsw.gov.au or phone 02 65431065, to arrange a time through my office. The electorate office in Muswellbrook is still open for business.


Rebate Scheme Kicks Off Early For Emergency Water Infrastructure

I wish to advise the NSW Government has started to process previously successful rebate applications as part of the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebates (EWIR) Round 1 ahead of Round 2 going live on 1 July 2021.


The NSW Government’s priority is to process 500 applications from eligible primary producers who missed out last time, before Round 2 starts at the end of this month.


The EWIR scheme enables eligible primary producers to access a 25 per cent rebate, up to $25,000, on new purchases and installation costs of new water infrastructure such as bores, dams and pipes.


Round 2 is to open at the end of the month, but the priority now is to get money in the pockets of the farmers who have been patiently waiting since last year when Round 1 of the scheme was exhausted.


There’s nothing more important than supporting our primary producers to invest in infrastructure that will make them more resilient next time the inevitable drought hits.


Expressions of interest for Round 2 already live on the Rural Assistance Authority’s (RAA) website.


The Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR) scheme is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments, administered by the Rural Assistance Authority. The NSW Government has committed more than $4 billion in drought and water infrastructure support.


NSW GOVERNMENT NOT GOING AHEAD WITH DAMS SAFETY LEVY

Declared dam owners across the Upper Hunter electorate and regional NSW have been officially notified that a proposed Dams Safety Levy will not be introduced in July 2021.


The government has listened to feedback from owners of dams, in particular from local councils, and decided that the introduction of a levy at this time would not be appropriate.


There are 400 declared dam owners in NSW. Consultation with declared dam owners on the proposed levy commenced 30 September and ended on 30 October 2020.


Submissions highlighted recent challenges faced by dam owners, particularly in regional areas, including bushfires, floods and the pandemic. Submissions also discussed the additional setup costs to establish compliance with the new regulation.


The NSW Government is considering options for funding of Dams Safety NSW operations. The full submissions report is available on the Dams Safety NSW website at www.damsafety.nsw.gov.au.


BOOST FOR COMMUNITY PROJECTS

Communities across the Upper Hunter electorate are in line for better facilities and infrastructure with the popular Community Building Partnership Program getting an additional $18.6 million injection across the State over two years in the 2021-22 NSW Budget.

The funding for the program would increase from $300,000 to $400,000 per year for each electorate for the next two years, representing a total of $37.2 million each year.


Whether it’s for a new playground, an upgrade to cricket facilities, lights for night training, netball change rooms, disabled access to a building, renovations to a Men’s Shed or a new school bus, there are many sporting and community organisations with projects that could be eligible for these grants.


Incorporated not-for-profit community organisations and local councils are eligible to apply for the grants, with the average grant awarded about $20,000. For more about the program go to: https://www.nsw.gov.au/projects/community-building-partnership