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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 31 July 2023


DUST emitted by the Hunter Valley coal industry will be the focus of compliance activity by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

Minister for the Environment, the Hon Penny Sharpe MLC, has advised me that the ‘Bust the Dust’ campaign will be conducted by the EPA this year.

The late-winter and spring program monitors dust generated from mine sites as well as working with local communities which report activity that might be outside the limits of mine licence conditions.

Minister Sharpe has requested incident reports be made to the EPA’s environment line on 131 555 or emailed to


The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust is holding public briefings in the Upper Hunter Shire Council area next week.

Landholders are invited to learn more about earning annual payments to protect remnant native vegetation.

Meetings are scheduled between noon and 2pm at Scone Bowling Club on Monday 7 August, Merriwa RSL Club on Tuesday 8 August and Murrurundi Bowling Club on Wednesday 9 August.

For more on the Upper Hunter Conservation Tender visit: or call 1300 992688.


Patients and visitors to Maitland and Belmont hospitals will not have to pay for parking from this week.

Free parking at hospitals and health facilities across regional NSW is available to staff, patients and visitors from Tuesday 1 August.

Staff at regional hospitals were already eligible for free parking but the NSW Government has expanded the eligibility to include patients and visitors.

The initiative is designed to make hospital access more seamless for regional, rural and remote communities, who are faced with unique geographical challenges when accessing healthcare.


Over 80,000 NSW public sector employees have received a four per cent salary increase after an agreement before the Industrial Relations Commission.

The NSW Government’s Fair Pay Policy also includes a half-a-per cent increase in superannuation backdated to 1 July.

Prison officers, park rangers, school support staff, child protection workers, case workers, Rural Fire Service employees, State Emergency Service employees, Service NSW employees, and public servants covering a range of occupations across all NSW Government departments and agencies receive the increase.

The state government continues to work with public sector unions on the resolution of other negotiations.


Hazard reduction burns are underway across the state as rural firefighters try to take advantage of favourable conditions to help keep local communities safe ahead of the upcoming bushfire season.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared an El Nino Alert, meaning a likely return to hot, dry and windy conditions this summer which could result in a more traditional fire season compared to the last two summers.

Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers says with the change in weather systems seeing an end to frequent rain and the return of dry, windy conditions, the RFS needs to get its teams doing hazard reduction burns at every opportunity.

While the RFS is doing what it can, home and property owners are also being urged to assess what they can do to prepare for the upcoming fire season.


Applications are now open for the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants program to enhance local services and improve residents’ quality of life.

Community organisations are encouraged to apply for a share of the $12.5 million program for arts, sports, community infrastructure and disaster preparedness projects to build or upgrade facilities.

Arts and Culture has $50,000 to $200,000 available per project, Community Infrastructure $50,000 to $250,000 per project, Disaster Readiness $50,000 to $200,000 per project whilst Sport and Recreation has $50,000 to $300,000 per project.

The program has two rounds with the current round closing on 21 August and the second open between 27 November and 18 December.

For more on applying for grants and funding under the Infrastructure Grants program go to:


The NSW Centre for Road Safety is reminding motorists to exercise caution when driving near vehicles using flashing lights.

On roads with a speed limit of 80km/h or more, motorists must slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances.

When you see the flashing lights of stationary tow trucks and emergency vehicles provide sufficient space between your vehicle and the stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights.

Drivers should change lanes on a multi-lane road if it is safe to do so and only increase speed once you have passed all people and emergency vehicles involved.

For road safety advice and tips visit:


Water leaks and illegal dumping have secured NSW Government assistance for Singleton Council.

The Regional Network Leakage Detection Project is currently working to pinpoint leaks in pipes, meters and valves throughout Singleton’s 280-kilometre water network.

A mind-boggling 5.8 billion litres of water has already been located leaking from network infrastructure across the state each year by the program.

The council has also been awarded $71,000 from the NSW Environment Protection Authority for the Preventing Illegal Dumping in Singleton program.


Gloucester will be the venue for an event next week as part of Homelessness week.

The Homeless Information Session is being held at the Roundabout Inn on Monday 7 August between 11.30am and 1.30pm.

Legal Aid solicitors will be available to assist the homeless with fines issues and participants are requested to please bring their Centrelink/Pension card.

The theme for Homelessness Week 2023 is “It’s time to end homelessness” with Australia having over 122,494 people experiencing homelessness on any given night.


The first ever Aboriginal Languages Week is being held in October giving NSW Aboriginal communities the opportunity to celebrate and showcase their unique languages.

The event will take place annually to coincide with the passing of the Aboriginal Languages legislation into law in October 2017.

A new grants program of $250,000 administered by the Aboriginal Languages Trust will support events and activities with grants of up to $5,000 available for eligible groups.

Grant applications close on 23 August with information on the Aboriginal Languages Trust website:


Parliamentary Education and Engagement is rolling out the welcome mat for primary schools and secondary schools to visit the NSW Parliament during Term 3.

Bookings for the current term, which runs through until mid-September, are now open and sessions are filling up fast.

There are online as well as onsite tour options for primary school and secondary school groups.

To discover more about visiting the oldest Parliament in Australia go to:


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