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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 3 July 2023


AN ONLINE petition has been launched to save the Regional Seniors Travel Card (RSTC) after the NSW Government refused to commit to funding the card beyond this year.

Regional Liberal and Nationals members of parliament have joined seniors living in regional NSW to launch the petition to save the popular $250 card from being cut in September’s NSW budget.

The Regional Seniors Travel Card has become a local lifeline for seniors in Upper Hunter Electorate communities to take a trip to visit friends and family, travel for a doctor’s appointment or visit the shops to pick up groceries.

I hope we get as many people as possible to sign this petition to convince the Minns NSW Labor Government to keep funding this important cost-of-living measure.

To share or sign the petition to help save the Regional Seniors Travel Card, go to:


A new website represents a significant step forward in the delivery of legal information in NSW, with improved accessibility and a more user-friendly experience across all devices.

The co-branded Legal Aid NSW and LawAccess NSW website is aimed at improving access to legal help for the public and clients, information for private lawyers and other community, justice and government users.

The content is structured, organised, and labelled in a way that supports the findability and usability of content, and the navigation menu simplifies browsing.

The new website includes a dedicated section for lawyers that provides information about policies and guidelines, submitting applications for legal aid, courses and conferences, and general legal resources.

Further, the new website has been designed with a mobile-first approach to ensure seamless accessibility while on the move:


Frontline clinicians throughout NSW will have the opportunity to offer their expertise and advice to help inform and shape the delivery of healthcare.

The newly established NSW Health System Advisory Council will empower healthcare workers to guide the planning and implementation of measures to drive positive change throughout the state’s public health system.

The council will provide independent and impartial strategic clinical advice on key priorities and functions of the health system, reporting to the Secretary of NSW Health.

Advisory council members will bring their experience from all corners of the NSW Health system and include doctors, nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals who work on the frontline.


I welcome four new officers assigned to Police Districts servicing the Upper Hunter Electorate.

Hunter Valley and Port Stephens-Hunter Police Districts received two new probationary constables each after they attested recently in a formal ceremony at the Goulburn Police Academy.

The new recruits have completed eight months of foundational training and are helping strengthen the ranks of our modern and world-class NSW Police Force.

I am proud to welcome the new recruits into the NSW Police Force, who have taken up the incredibly challenging but rewarding responsibility of serving and protecting the people of NSW.


An interim Biosecurity Commissioner has been appointed by the NSW Government to guide the formation of an independent biosecurity commission and begin work to map out the pest and weed threats impacting the state.

Dr Marion Healy has high-level expertise and experience of identifying and managing the biosecurity risks related to the movement of plant products and their impact on the Australian environment.

Dr Healy, working with the Department of Primary Industries, will develop a discussion paper on the role and powers of the Biosecurity Commissioner, engage the Natural Resources Commission to develop a baseline report on the extent of pests and weeds on public lands and focus on the $10 million Good Neighbour Program.

The statutory position of Independent Biosecurity Commissioner will be created and appointed by the end of this year.


If you have contemplated going to TAFE, then now might be your time to act.

Semester 2 courses are currently open for enrolment including hundreds of fee-free courses.

Enrol now to study on campus, part-time, full time or online anytime with TAFE Digital

for courses in Community Services, Art and Design, Agriculture, Education and more.

Information sessions are currently being held at participating campuses including Scone, Muswellbrook, Muswellbrook TEC, Singleton, Cessnock, Maitland and Taree with more information at:


NSW Police Traffic and Highway Patrol Command has renewed its warning about parking offences.

Among the behaviours to avoid is parking across driveways with drivers in NSW required to give way to pedestrians on driveways whether they are entering or exiting a property.

Even though it may not be signposted, the general road rules include not stopping on a footpath, bicycle or shared path, dividing strip or nature strip in a built-up area.

Parking too close to corners, stopping on pedestrian crossings and parking in an intersection can also result in Police writing you a ticket.

Highway and Traffic remind motorists not to pull-up in a No Stopping Zone or a Bus Zone at any time, unless the sign advises of specific operating times, with the fine for the offences exceeding $362 and two demerit points.

For a refresher on the rules of where you can and cannot park in NSW visit:


Fire and Rescue NSW continues to recruit on-call firefighters to join brigades across the Upper Hunter.

On-call firefighters respond to local emergency incidents 24 hours a day/7 days a week from their home or other workplaces.

You will be trained to prevent and reduce the risk of fire and potential loss to life and property, undertake all manner of rescue, deal with hazardous material incidents and assist other agencies with emergency medical responses and severe weather-related events.

To apply or register your interest go to Careers and Volunteering at:

or call 1800Firies (1800 347 437) to be put through to your nearest Zone Office.


Upper Hunter Electorate secondary school students can show off their creative talents in the Parliament of NSW’s short film competition – Parli-Flicks.

Entries are now open with students asked to submit a one-minute short film addressing this year’s theme “Should the voting age be lowered?”

Entries can be comical, fictional or take more of a documentary style and will close Friday 11 August.

Shortlisted categories include, Best regional; Best junior secondary (Year 7-9) and Best senior secondary (Year 10-12).

The winning entry receives a cash prize and all finalists are invited to an awards night at Parliament House later this year.

Eligibility and entry information are on the Parliamentary Education and Engagement website:


NSW Small Business Month will be held in October featuring hundreds of events to support small businesses.

The theme is “My Small Business” with events tailored to help small business owners and operators learn new skills and strategies to improve their business.

Local business chambers, industry associations, not-for-profits and local councils are invited to apply now for a grant to host an event or they can apply to be a Small Business Month collaboration partner.

Grant applications close on 1 August and collaboration partnership applications close on 6 October at:


Consultation has commenced with contemporary veterans and their families as the NSW Government seeks feedback on how their service can be further acknowledged.

The NSW Office for Veterans Affairs is leading the consultation which includes an online survey for veterans of recent operations, as well as forums to enable further discussion once the survey results have been analysed.

All veterans from recent conflicts and peacekeeping operations can share their thoughts until Sunday 9 July.

The survey on the Veterans Affairs website is completely anonymous:


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