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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 29 April 2024


CONGRATULATIONS to Tocal Field Days which this weekend will celebrate its ruby anniversary chalking up 40 years as a landmark event for the Paterson Valley.


The agricultural showcase at the Hunter Valley’s dedicated training college is truly a credit to its founders and the organising committees which have continued to build the event.


Over Friday, Saturday and Sunday thousands will descend on Tocal College to assess potential ideas and investments for their primary production enterprise, while others will eat, drink and enjoy a day in the country.


The Tocal Woodchop is a new attraction on the Saturday and Sunday amid events ranging from a milking demonstration, farriers hot shoeing horses, live music and the over 340 exhibits.


The Park & Ride Free Shuttle bus service leaves every hour from Maitland Train Station and returns from Tocal on the half hour.


Field Day tickets can be pre-purchased at:



Next stop on Saturday evening is Singleton as one of our newest events, the Firelight Festival, illuminates the town.


Firelight is a free, family-friendly event with Singleton Council welcoming everyone from 5.30pm to enjoy a packed four-hour program of events.


Singleton's town centre will come to life with vibrant fire performers, music and magic, interactive art, roving acts, delicious food and the Laneway Bar for over 18’s to enjoy a moody refuge with chill vibes.


More information got to:



Submissions close at the end of May on the NSW Government’s Freight Policy Reform Program.


A consultation paper has been released giving industry an opportunity to provide valuable feedback on the rapidly evolving freight sector and supply chain.


The reform will identify short, medium and long-term actions for government to support a resilient freight sector that will enable the government to develop local manufacturing capabilities and improve road safety.


It will also include further consultation on the draft NSW Heavy Vehicle Access Policy and recommendations made in the Review of the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy.




The NSW Government has announced three ministerial appointments to the Hunter Local Land Services (LLS) board.


Allison Mudford has been appointed the Hunter local board chair to succeed fellow Cassilis farmer Tony Hegarty.


Dr Elizabeth McEntyre remains on the board as a Ministerial appointee and will be joined by Brynnie Goodwill.


LLS boards are a made up of a mix of Ministerial appointments and elected board members who bring skills, experience and commitment to the organisation.


The Government has also released the review of LLS boards and committees with options for reform including the remuneration of board members in line with similar groups and boards across government, resulting in a $1.4 million saving to be reinvested into the LLS.




The NSW Government is encouraging people to book in for the influenza vaccine through a local GP or pharmacist ahead of winter.


People who are considered to be at higher risk of severe illness from influenza are eligible for a free flu vaccine.


Priority groups include children aged 6 months to under 5 years, people aged 65 and over,

Aboriginal people from 6 months of age, pregnant women and those with serious health conditions.


NSW Health also recommends considering getting a COVID-19 booster at the same time as the flu vaccination with a further 188 COVID cases in the Hunter New England Local Health District in the week to 20 April, 77 Influenza and 231 RSV cases.


More information on influenza and the COVID-19 booster vaccines can be found at:



The contribution of Aussie Ark to the preservation of our native fauna has been underscored again with the recent re-wilding of eastern quolls.


Nineteen quolls including 15 born and bred at the Barrington Tops Wildlife Sanctuary have been released into an 80-hectare feral-proof sanctuary within Booderee National Park on the state’s south coast.


Aussie Ark collaborated with the World Wide Fund for Nature and Parks Australia to accomplish the mission of bringing the quolls home.


Discover more on the achievement by the Barrington’s sanctuary at the Aussie Ark Facebook page:



The NSW Police Rural Crime Prevention Team is encouraging residents, especially those in remote rural locations, to step-up the battle against unwanted intruders.


‘Lights, Camera, Catch ‘em’ is the theme for the latest ‘target hardening’ tips to reduce the likelihood of break, enter and steal incidents.


Police want residents to ensure premises are always locked and secure when you are absent and that vehicles are also kept locked with items of value and garage remotes removed from the vehicle.


External doors and internal doors between the garage and house should have deadlocks -but don’t leave keys in the locks.


A cost-effective preventative measure and powerful investigative tool is CCTV which uses modern CCTV cameras and recording equipment.


Importantly keep a look out for suspicious behaviour in your area and if in doubt contact your local police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or



Consultation has commenced on whether changes should be made to the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 to introduce public interest exceptions.


The Department of Communities and Justice on behalf of the NSW Attorney General is seeking comments on whether changes should be made to the offences in sections 11, 12 and 14 of the Act. 


The three sections make it an offence to have, publish, or give someone information or a recording that was obtained by someone using a surveillance device in breach of the law.


A surveillance device generally is any equipment that can be used to record or listen to a conversation, observe or make a visual record of an activity, or record or monitor the information going in or out of a computer. 


A consultation paper has been prepared with the public to provide their views by email or formal submission until 22 May at:



Hunter Local Land Services and the Forestry Corporation of NSW will undertake wild dog and fox control during May and June.


Aerial and ground baiting commence from May 6 for completion by June 30 using 1080 poison in NSW State Forests, Crown Land Reserves and Travelling Stock Reserves.


Landholders, neighbours and visitors are warned not to enter baiting locations with domestic pets and to tie up dogs.


The program covers the area bounded by Merriwa, Nundle, Nowendoc, Singleton and Dungog including Barrington Tops and Stewarts Brook State Forests, Glenrock Sheep Yards TSR and Manobalai Reserve.


Further information is available from Hunter Local Land Services offices at Paterson, Singleton, Merriwa, Scone and Taree.



A recent NSW Maritime operation has provided boat users and their passengers with a further reminder about the need to wear lifejackets.


The state-wide safety blitz ‘Operation Stay Afloat – Reduce the Risk’ conducted more than 1,200 vessel safety checks.


The top three offences were failure to carry or wear an appropriate lifejacket representing 34 per cent of fines, failing to carry or maintain the required safety equipment represented 25 per cent of offences with licence and registration fines comprising 23 per cent of fines.


NSW Maritime wants mariners to be mindful that lifejackets are the most important item of safety equipment on any recreational vessel, but they can only save lives if they are worn. 

For the latest safety information please go to:


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