• Dave Layzell MP

State Matters - 4 October 2021


COVID-19 STRIKES MUSWELLBROOK

As the Upper Hunter electorate recently emerged from lockdown I urged people to be cautious for the presence of COVID-19 in our communities.


The need for vigilance was to prove correct when the Muswellbrook LGA returned to stay-at-home orders last week until midnight Tuesday 5 October 2021.


In addition to Muswellbrook, confirmed COVID cases have also been reported by Hunter New England Local Health District in the Singleton, Upper Hunter, Dungog and Mid Coast council areas.


I renew my plea to everyone that if you feel unwell please attend your nearest COVID testing clinic and then return home, isolate and await the test result.


More information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing can be found at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/health-and-wellbeing/symptoms-and-testing


COVID-19 ROADMAP TO RECOVERY

This month will see NSW begin the journey following the state government’s Roadmap to Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.


The roadmap is a three stage process which begins on the Monday after the state’s double vaccination rate reaches 70 per cent.


Stage two will see more restrictions eased for the fully vaccinated on the Monday following achievement of the 80 per cent target.


Further changes take effect in the final stage from 1 December which includes the unvaccinated then having greater freedoms.


I urge everyone to familiarise themselves with the changes as they roll out over the next few months.


Stage one information is at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/freedoms-for-fully-vaccinated-people with the remainder of the roadmap at www.nsw.gov.au/media-releases/roadmap-to-recovery-reveals-path-forward-for-all-nsw or contact Service NSW 13 77 88.


PUBLIC TEACHER INCENTIVES

Efforts to attract more public school teachers to regional areas will be boosted by the NSW Government accepting all recommendations of the Review of Rural and Remote Incentives in Public Schools.


Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, commissioned the review in response to conversations and feedback from teachers working in regional, rural and remote areas.


The Government has committed $15 million to action initiatives immediately in response to the review such as increasing targeted recruitment bonuses and working to upgrade, repair and build new accommodation for teachers in areas of high demand.


Principals, teachers, key education stakeholders and experts will be consulted with and help co-design longer-term initiatives including the transfer point system, a more holistic approach to regional relocation which focuses on families rather than just individuals and establishment of a centralised team to oversee regional staffing.


TOURISM DRIVE

In a much needed boost for tourism the Hunter Valley will host a world-class golf tournament supported by the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund.

The Players’ Series tees-off on 10 March 2022 with male and female players competing in mixed pairings on the same course for shared honours with the three days play to be broadcast live in Australia and New Zealand.

Cypress Lakes Golf Course and Hunter Valley region will be showcased to local audiences and international golf enthusiasts to encourage other players to visit regional NSW for a perfect golf weekend getaway.

Hosting new major events like The Players’ Series will put more heads on local beds and fills restaurants and cafés, helping to drive regional NSW’s economic recovery from the impacts of bushfire, floods, drought and COVID-19.


MORE RACING INVESTMENT

The Hunter Valley horse racing industry has received further funding from the NSW Government which has now lifted its investment to almost $36 million.


Earlier this year, Scone racetrack was allocated $20 million and Muswellbrook racetrack $4.2 million, now Cessnock racecourse has been awarded $11.5 million for upgrades.


Cessnock will soon have some of the best training facilities in Australia with construction of 300 additional stables and a new synthetic training track.


The racing industry is the backbone of many regional communities, contributing over $3.5 billion annually to the state’s economy and acting as a significant employer for over 6,700 people here in the Hunter.