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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 3 June 2024


THE JUNE LONG WEEKEND is almost here and it’s time for two of our smaller Upper Hunter communities to shine.


Merriwa will be a hive of activity from Friday with the Festival of the Fleeces opening night at Merriwa RSL to precede Saturday’s running of the sheep, the sheep dog competition and a host of other events across the town.


This year’s theme is “Golden Years Golden Shears” with the rundown of the weekend’s action at:


No Monarch’s celebratory long weekend would be complete without a barbecue and Broke has it sorted!


A pre-party at McNamara Park on Friday evening launches “Smoke in Broke” into a weekend of BBQ, music and muscular athlete competitions.


To see the Smoke in Broke program go to:



If you travel over the long weekend please observe the road rules with double demerit points applying for some offences.


The King's Birthday double demerits period commences on Friday morning 7 June and continues until Monday night 10 June.


School zones will operate on Friday with additional penalties applying for certain offences committed in school zones.


Double demerits will be enforced for speeding, illegal use of mobile phones, not wearing a seatbelt and riding without a helmet.


Get caught - you’ll face double the points, not double the fine, so the choice is yours - stop it or cop it.



Upper Hunter communities have until Friday 12 July to make submissions on the NSW Government’s Future Jobs and Investment Authorities (FJIA).


The Minns Labor Government is seeking feedback on an issues paper to help deliver investment in coal-reliant communities to support new jobs.


The FJIAs will be made up of people from local communities in the Hunter, Central West, Illawarra and North-West regions to provide advice to Government on what local communities need and how the Government can help support creating new jobs in the regions.


The NSW Government intends to introduction legislation for the Future Jobs and Investment Authorities later in the year.


To read the issues paper and have your say visit:



Cessnock City Council is developing a memorial garden dedicated to the victims of the Hunter Valley bus crash in June last year.


The memorial, located about one kilometre from the crash site on the New England Highway between Branxton and Greta, is part-way along the Memorial Shared Pathway.


A sandstone wall will formalise the edge of the memorial lawn and seating will be provided beneath the shade of commemorative trees in a space providing a tranquil setting for remembrance and reflection.


Cessnock Mayor Councillor Jay Suvaal has thanked everyone involved in the project as council works with the families to explore options for a significant memorial closer to the crash site in the future.



Service NSW returns to the Upper Hunter later this month with stops on both sides of the electorate.


The Service NSW Mobile Service Centre will be at 62 Cowper Road Stroud on Friday 21 June, 8.30am-12.30pm.


On Tuesday 25 June, Service NSW returns to the Murrurundi information centre at 113 Mayne Street between 9am and 3pm.


Upper Hunter Shire Council hosts Service NSW 9am-to-3pm at 135 Liverpool Street Scone. 


And, Thursday, 27 June, 9am-12pm Service NSW returns to 48 Grey Street Clarence Town.


COVID-19 activity has rapidly increased over the latest reporting week with Hunter New England Local Health District now experiencing levels similar to those reported late last year.

The NSW Health State Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ending 25 May shows 412 Hunter New England cases which lifts the Year-to-Date total to 4,353.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) remains at high levels rising to 304 cases in the past week and 3,165 so far this year.


Influenza is at moderate levels with 180 Hunter New England cases taking the Year-to-Date figure to 1,370.


Help reduce the spread of respiratory pathogens by staying home if unwell, wear a mask if you need to go out, staying up to date with recommended vaccinations and practice good hygiene including regular handwashing.


Latest updates are available at:



If you have ever wondered how the state’s planning system works then the NSW Parliamentary Research Service has published a new paper which will be of interest.


It provides information about the structures and processes within the NSW planning system and enables easier navigation across the system’s operational complexity.


It is structured around the primary enabling legislation for the planning system, the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, and covers seven key components of the system including land use planning, development control, planning authorities, infrastructure funding, community participation and the Land and Environment Court.​


The paper’s explanation aims to make the planning system easier to navigate including through the use of diagrams:



Denman is currently seeing some more of its Resources for Regions money put to work with the construction of new stormwater drainage in Merton Street.


The NSW Nationals and Liberals Government program committed $1.4 million towards the project from the ninth and final round announced in November 2022.


The project in Merton Street between Paxton Street and Palace Street also has funding from the NSW Government Disaster Ready Fund.



Other Denman Resources for Regions projects include $2.2 million for the Denman Recreation Reserve and the Denman Revitalisation Project which attracted $2.5 million from round five.


Organisations requiring assistance with fundraising could benefit from two webinars being hosted by Return and Earn.


The interactive sessions on Wednesday 5 June and Friday 21 June, 4-5pm, will outline the benefits of being featured as a donation partner on the Return and Earn app.


Return and Earn is a unique fundraising channel that converts your designated bottle and can recycling efforts into dollars to support your cause.


Questions can be lodged before the webinars at: with webinar bookings to be made at:



Three Upper Hunter Electorate communities will soon enjoy improved access to public transport infrastructure.


The NSW Government’s Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Scheme is providing $77,250 to Maitland City Council for the construction of a new bus shelter and the upgrade of 26 other bus stops.


Bus stops to receive upgrades are located in Highland Way Bolwarra Heights, Corina Avenue Bolwarra and Belmore Road Lorn.

Upgrade works include a mix of treatments including the installation of tactile indicators to help people with vision impairment, establishment of safer boarding points, erection of new signage and support poles plus the construction of connecting paths.


Applications will close on Wednesday 24 July for Round One of the 2024-25 Community War Memorials Fund.


The NSW Government fund has provided grants for projects including conservation assessments, honour roll repair, war memorial cleaning and conservation work, arborist advice for war memorial trees, repairs to war memorial halls and improvements to the accessibility of memorials.


Two application rounds are run each year with applications assessed by the State War Memorials Committee, which is comprised of senior representatives of the Returned and Services League of Australia NSW Branch, NSW Public Works, Heritage NSW and the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs.


The online application form is available at


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