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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 29 May 2023


I BEGIN this week with an appeal to Premier Chris Minns and NSW Labor to retain funding for the Active Kids vouchers beyond June 30 this year.

The NSW Government vouchers, which have provided $100 towards sport and active recreation costs each year, are currently subject to Labor’s ‘Comprehensive Expenditure Review’ and face the axe.

In the Upper Hunter Electorate 43,457 Active Kids vouchers have been created since 2018 including 9,545 last year.

Top female activities for the vouchers in 2022 were dance and rugby league with rugby league and soccer the top male activities.

Labor must understand that regional areas have a higher cost of living than the city – I’m concerned that if this program is cut, what is next?


NSW Department of Primary Industries has advised that is proposing to use pesticide in the West Singleton area as part of the Varroa mite emergency response.

The pesticide, Fipronil, will be used for the euthanasia of wild European honey bees within the Varroa mite emergency eradication zone in the West Singleton area from early June 2023 for up to 12 months.

The work is strictly controlled by NSW DPI, in accordance with an Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

Bait stations will be clearly signposted and all directions on these signs should be followed.

For further information visit:


In the countdown to winter, we are being urged by NSW Health to ensure we’re up to date with recommended influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.

There is plenty of COVID-19 and influenza vaccine stock but it’s important we continue to take precautions including wearing a mask indoors when unable to physically distance, staying at home when unwell and practising good hand hygiene.

Those considered at higher risk of severe illness from influenza who are eligible for a free influenza vaccine - includes children aged 6 months to under 5 years, people aged 65 and over, Aboriginal people from 6 months of age, pregnant women and people with serious health conditions.

The latest NSW respiratory surveillance report for the week ended 20 May reveals the Hunter New England Local Health District had 2,031 reported cases of COVID-19, 185 of Influenza and 187 of RSV.

For further information go to:


A new school attendance campaign called Every Day Matters has been launched by the NSW Government to bring the number of students in classrooms back to pre-COVID levels.

Every Day Matters reinforces the importance of attending school for students’ academic success with estimates that missing just one day of school each fortnight adds up to four weeks of lost learning a year.

The campaign aims to drive behavioural change among parents and students to

reduce absenteeism close to weekends and/or public holidays and reduce family trips during term.


Upper Hunter Shire Council is asking Scone and Merriwa residents for input on proposed locations for Return and Earn Reverse Vending Machines.

Council proposes using Lawrence Lane, Scone (behind the Coles Complex) and the unformed public road reserve in King George V Avenue, Merriwa (Merriwa Bowls and Golf Club) for the machines.

I would like to thank Return and Earn network operator Tomra Cleanaway for the assistance it has provided so that Upper Hunter residents can participate in the recycling initiative.

Submissions to council close on 5 June with details available from:


NSW will become the first Australian state to install mechanical cardio-pulmonary resuscitation devices in all frontline ambulance units.

The roll-out follows a successful two-year study involving 1,300 paramedics as well as doctors and nurses from 15 hospitals across Sydney and Wollongong.

More than 1,000 ‘LUCAS’ devices, which deliver automated, consistent compressions to a patient’s chest, have been installed in ambulances across the state.

The devices allow NSW Ambulance paramedics to deliver life-saving care from the moment they arrive at the scene until the moment they arrive at hospital.


Singleton residents living in rural and remote areas are encouraged to join their local Get Ready Team to improve disaster readiness.

Teams are led by the community for the local community and provide a way for residents to support each other and improve capacity for disaster resilience.

Singleton Council and the Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) are working to establish teams in Broke, Bulga, Goorangoola, Jerrys Plains, Lambs Valley, Mirannie,

Mt Royal, Putty/Howes Valley, Scotts Flat and Whittingham.

Local Get Ready Teams will build capacity to promote preparedness, develop disaster readiness plans and take part in specialised training such as first aid, and chainsaw skills.

To sign up for a local Get Ready team, fill in the expression of interest form on the Singleton Council website:


Public consultation has opened for a review of legacy Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) codes of practice.

Employers and workers are invited to share feedback on the first five of 20 WHS codes of practice that pre-date modern workplace health and safety legislation.

While codes of practice are not laws, each is intended to help employers and workers understand the importance of a safe and healthy workplace.

Feedback is invited now on codes covering Work near overhead power lines, Tunnels under construction, Collection of domestic waste, Safety in forest harvesting operations and Moving plant on construction sites.

To Have Your Say by completing a survey or writing a submission by 19 June view:


Muswellbrook Shire Council and Singleton Council have secured funding from the Get NSW Active program.

The program provides local councils with funds for projects that create safe, easy and enjoyable walking and cycling trips.

These trips help to relieve pressure on our roads and public transport networks and are part of a healthy lifestyle for NSW communities.

Denman receives $351,774 for Muswellbrook Council to construct a footpath, driveways, pram ramp and kerb and gutter at the corner of Turtle Street and Paxton Street.

Singleton Council has $83,680 to construct a 3m-wide shared path between two existing shared paths in Allan Ball Reserve/Acacia Circuit, Hunterview.

Discover more at Get NSW Active:


Applications are open for the 2023 Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships program.

The scholarships support apprentices experiencing financial or personal hardship, who demonstrate a high aptitude for vocational education and training, and are committed to their on-and off-the-job training in metropolitan and regional NSW.

Scholarships will support 150 people with $15,000 through grants of $5,000 annually over three years to complete training and further careers.

Visit Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships for more information and apply by 21 July:


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