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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 30 May 2022


WE are being urged to book a flu vaccination without delay, so we’re prepared for winter and with public hospitals under pressure from increasing patient demand.

The NSW Government is funding a free flu jab for all NSW residents at GPs and pharmacies until June 30.

NSW Health is permitting pharmacies to administer flu vaccines to children aged as young as five years old making it easier for families to be vaccinated together.

Health also recommends a COVID-19 winter booster for eligible vulnerable groups, as both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time

If you have COVID-19 or flu and have health questions that are not a medical emergency, call NSW Health’s Flu and COVID-19 Care at Home Support Line on 1800 960 933.


Public hospital emergency departments across the state are currently under significant pressure due to the combination of COVID-19 and influenza cases.

If you are seriously injured, seriously unwell or have a life-threatening medical emergency, you should visit a hospital emergency department or call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

Medical emergencies include sudden collapse, chest pressure or pain lasting more than 10 minutes, breathing difficulty and uncontrollable bleeding.

If you are not sure if you should go to an emergency department, visit or free call 1800 022 222 for fast, expert advice from registered nurses on what to do next.

You can also contact with your GP about chronic pain and gastro or a pharmacy for advice and support for headaches, stomach upsets or bites and stings.


NSW public schools are this week sharing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history during Reconciliation Week.

It is important for our schools to work with their local Aboriginal communities across the Upper Hunter as part of the reconciliation process of building mutual respect and understanding.

This year’s theme ‘Be Brave. Make Change.’ provides a great opportunity for school communities, staff and students to commit to actions they will do to ensure we move another step closer to reconciliation.

Reconciliation Week commemorates two key milestones in the reconciliation journey– the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.


I encourage Year 11 students in the Upper Hunter Electorate to consider participating in an essay competition which could see them tour historic World War II sites.

Six students will have the chance to visit Japan and Hawaii as part of the ClubsNSW Premier’s WWII Memorial Tour.

Year 11 students aged 16 and 17 need to submit a 1000-word essay detailing how the lessons of World War II are still relevant today.

The group departs Sydney on Thursday 21 July to visit Hiroshima, Japan and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii before returning on Sunday 31 July.


Women across the state are invited to shape the direction and priorities of the next NSW Government Women’s Strategy with public consultation now underway.

The strategy provides a policy framework to help improve the lives of women by addressing the structural issues that affect gender equality.

The next strategy will focus on three broad ‘pillars’ - Economic opportunity, Health and well-being plus Participation and empowerment.

Public consultation is open to all women, especially those in regional NSW, and any individuals or organisations that work closely with women.

Consultation continues until Monday 20 June at:


A new Small Business Strategy to chart the course for the 800,000 strong small businesses across NSW for the coming three years is currently out for public comment.

Industry feedback will assist in developing a strategy that promotes a thriving, dynamic and innovative small business community for the period ahead.

Stakeholders have the opportunity to have their say on the new strategy with consultation until Wednesday 8 June.

Small businesses can find further information or have their say at:


Art, entertainment and recreation businesses in the Upper Hunter electorate still have time to join the NSW Government’s Dine and Discover voucher program.

Over $200 million worth of the $25 Discover NSW vouchers remain to be used by June 30.

Existing registered Discover NSW businesses can now also accept the $50 Parents vouchers which customers can now use until 9 October.

Businesses can check their eligibility with the Service NSW Business Concierge, whilst Discover and Parents voucher applications can be made at: or call 13 77 88.


The NSW Government’s ban on lightweight plastic bags takes effect this week and it’s the first of many plastic items being banned this year.

The ban covering single-use bags from 1 June will be followed in November with more problematic plastics such as cutlery and plates being banned.

From November single-use plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, bowls and cotton buds, expanded polystyrene food ware and cups as well as rinse-off personal care products containing plastic microbeads are added to the banned list.


A new agreement between the NSW Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages and Legal Aid NSW is enabling vulnerable people to access free birth certificates.

People experiencing economic disadvantage, Aboriginal people and survivors of domestic and family violence will be provided with up to 700 free birth certificates until 30 June.

A birth certificate is more than an official document recording details about birth - it is also a ticket to accessibility and opportunity like getting a job, enrolling in further education, opening a bank account or getting a driver licence and access to basic government services.

Legal Aid NSW will work with partners in communities where high need has been identified, including the Hunter and Manning regions, to help eligible people obtain a free birth certificate and assist them with other legal needs.


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