• Dave Layzell MP

State Matters - 4 July 2022


COVID-SAFE ADVICE


NSW HEALTH has given us a fresh reminder to keep COVID-19 vaccinations up to date and to practise COVID-safe behaviours this winter as transmissions in the community remain high.


The state’s Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ending 25 June show the Hunter New England Health District had 6,776 COVID notifications compared to 2,222 reports of Influenza.


NSW Health notes that “reported rates of COVID-19 are likely to underestimate the true incidence in the community due to a decrease in PCR testing and the use of self-reported Rapid Antigen Testing.”


COVID-19 booster doses are recommended for everyone 16 years and older who had their last dose of a primary course at least three months ago.


Free flu shots have been extended until 17 July amid concerns from the latest flu shot data

that vaccination rates for children and teenagers including the Upper Hunter electorate remain low.

For advice on protecting yourself against COVID-19 and flu visit: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19


EMERGENCY RESPONSE


My thoughts are with local apiarists as the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) works to protect the state’s honeybee industry from the spread of Varoa mite discovered in the Port of Newcastle.


DPI has established Varoa Mite emergency zones which include parts of the Upper Hunter electorate in the Dungog Shire and MidCoast council areas.


I encourage all beekeepers to stay informed of developments as the current situation continues to unfold.


DPI’s Varoa Emergency Response webpage can be found at: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/emergencies/biosecurity/current-situation/varroa-mite-emergency-response


‘VAPING’ ADVICE


The use of electronic cigarettes been the focus of recent state and national attention including from Australia’s health and medical research agency.


The National Health and Medical Research Council’s advice is that the vapour from e-cigarette devices can be harmful and that there is limited evidence that e-cigarettes are effective at helping smokers quit.


NSW Health has developed the ‘Do you know what you’re vaping?’ campaign in consultation with young people, parents as well as Cancer Council NSW and the NSW Department of Education.


The campaign and resources are underpinned by evidence such as that vapes are not water

and can contain the same harmful chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish remover, weed killer and bug spray.


Be informed by viewing: www.health.nsw.gov.au/vaping


OMBUDSMAN’S BILL


The Ombudsman Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 introduced into the NSW Parliament aims to clarify and update laws governing the NSW Ombudsman.


One of the state’s independent integrity agencies, the Ombudsman oversees the NSW public sector and investigates complaints regarding most NSW government agencies, local councils and community service providers.


In particular, the Bill proposes an amendment to the Ombudsman Act to enable the Ombudsman to review the systems used by public authorities for handling complaints.


The proposed power will enable the Ombudsman to assist agencies, in a collaborative manner, to improve their own complaint-handling systems.


See the Bill to be debated when Parliament returns in August at:

www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bills/pages/current-bills.aspx


HOSPITALITY HELP


Extra support is being providing to the hospitality industry to address staff shortages with free refresher courses being extended into next year.


Hospitality venues are doing their best to encourage workers to the sector, but many who left the industry during the peak of the COVID pandemic have seen their mandatory certifications lapse.


The NSW Government wants to make it easy for those people to quickly and freely renew those certifications and remove any barriers that are preventing them from re-entering employment.


Anyone whose certification expired from February 2020 can renew their Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA), or RSA and Responsible Conduct of Gambling certificate together, for free, until February 2023 without having to retrain in full.


More information at: www.liquorandgaming.nsw.gov.au


NOVEMBER CELEBRATIONS


Small Business Month will be celebrated in November with grants of up to $5,000 available to eligible organisations to host targeted events and activities.


The theme for the 2022 Small Business Month is ‘Connect for Success’ which reflects the desire of small businesses to network, connect with peers and experts to grow their businesses.


Australia’s larger corporations are being invited by the NSW Government to become Collaboration Partners in supporting the state’s small businesses as they emerge from the extraordinary challenges of the past two years.


Applications for grants are now open until 5 August 2022 at the Small Business Month webpage: www.smallbusinessmonth.nsw.gov.au


FARM SAFETY TIP


The NSW Police Rural Crime Prevention Team has issued a timely safety reminder for quad bike and side-by-side vehicle users as the winter school holiday commences.


Quad bikes are the number one cause of deaths on farms with 60 per cent of fatalities examined by the NSW Coroner involving a rollover.


To improve safety, consider fitting your quad bikes with operator protective devices.


The team is also reminding parents to keep kids safe on quads and side-by-sides.


Their top three tips - Never let kids under 16 ride or be passengers on quad bikes, ensure kids wear helmets and seat belts in side-by-sides and don’t leave the keys in the ignition.


More information on quad bike safety is available from SafeWork NSW:

www.safework.nsw.gov.au/hazards-a-z/quad-bikes-and-side-by-side-vehicles/quad-bike-safety


SPORT GRANTS


Round Two of the Multi-Sport Community Facility Fund is open until early September with grants of between $1 million and $5 million available.


Applications should be limited to constructing new or enhancing existing multi-sport facilities that demonstrate inclusive and accessible design, maximise community participation and demonstrate provision of accessible program content and scheduling for women and girls.


The Multi-Sport Community Facility Fund grants are for the capital cost of the project only with all applications expected to provide a minimum 50% financial co-contribution of the grant amount requested.


Construction must commence by July 2023 with projects to be completed by 31 December 2025 - Details at: www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants/multi-sport-community-facility-fund


CIVICS EDUCATION


School teachers can keep up to date and informed about the programs, resources and activities that have been created to bring the NSW Parliament into the classroom.


The Parliamentary Communications, Engagement & Education team has developed a Teaching Parliament e-newsletter as a resource to share with all teachers at primary and secondary schools.


All programs offered in the newsletter are free and range from online interactive videoconferences, on-site and online events, teacher development opportunities, classroom lessons including fun role plays and worksheets.


Teachers who want to discover all the educational programs and resources the NSW Parliament has available are encouraged to visit: https://education.parliament.nsw.gov.au


CONVEYANCING REVIEW


A Regulatory Impact Statement has been prepared which sets out the detail and discusses key changes of the proposed Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2022.


The Office of the Registrar General is seeking feedback on the proposal intended to replace the existing Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2017 which ends on 1 September.


The Regulation sets out disclosure obligations for vendors in conveyancing transactions conducted through contracts for the sale of land, options for the purchase of residential property and provides purchasers with remedies if disclosure obligations are not met.


Feedback is encouraged by 15 July on all aspects of the proposed Regulation including matters raised specifically in the Regulatory Impact Statement at: www.nsw.gov.au/have-your-say/conveyancing-sale-of-land-regulation