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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 4 September 2023


THE Bush Fire Danger Period has commenced for the Mid-Coast, Muswellbrook, Singleton and Upper Hunter local government areas.

Now the danger period is underway, landholders need to apply for a permit to burn-off and notify their neighbours and local fire authorities 24 hours before lighting up.

Free permits are available by contacting your local Fire Control Centre.

Information about hazard reduction burning, obtaining permits and required notification is available on the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) website:

Roadside fire danger rating signs are undergoing a digital facelift, with the RFS to provide real-time fire risk information to communities via the remotely operated, solar-powered signs.

The signs use the revised Australian Fire Danger Rating System, which has four categories for fire danger: Moderate (green), High (yellow), Extreme (orange) and Catastrophic (red), with simple actions for the community to take at each level.


THE NSW Government has scrapped the need for teachers to re-demonstrate their accreditation to practice to the state’s regulator every five years.

From November, teachers simply need to declare to the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) that they have completed the required professional development aligned to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Principals no longer need to sign off on a teacher’s practice every five years under the revamp, but schools must continue to notify NESA if they have determined a teacher fails to meet the Standards.

Teachers still need to complete the 100 hours of professional development every five years, which ensures they are up to date with relevant content, skills and pedagogy, and supports their professional growth.


A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between the State Labor Government and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association to progress the roll-out of Safe Staffing Levels in public hospitals.

As part of the staged approach to have more nurses and midwives working in hospitals, Safe Staffing Levels will commence in emergency departments then be implemented across intensive care units, maternity services, regional and community hospitals, and wards currently covered by the existing Nursing Hours Per Patient Day system.

The MOU sets out an agreement for both parties to work in good faith to develop a process and timeframe to implement Safe Staffing Levels, which will be enshrined in the Public Health System Nurses’ and Midwives’ (State) Award.

It also includes important principles around data sharing and access to information.


A new era for agricultural research is underway in NSW with the official opening of the world-leading $15.2 million International Centre of Crop and Digital Agriculture at Narrabri.

The NSW Wheat Research Foundation (WRF)-led project is located on the IA Watson Grains Research Centre, which is leased to the University of Sydney for over 60 years.

Using the hi-tech facilities, researchers will focus on adapting crops for drought-tolerance, providing food security solutions and boosting the productivity of farmers.

It aims to entice postgraduate students, national and international researchers and industry leaders to come together for the purpose of improving crop performance for Australian farmers and there are plans for additional future collaborative developments.

The International Centre of Crop and Digital Agriculture was made possible by $10.5 million from the NSW Government, $1.7 million from the University of Sydney, $1.5 million from Australian Grain Technologies, $1 million from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and $500,000 from the Wheat Research Foundation.


The recent sitting of the NSW Parliament saw statutory reviews into native vegetation management and biodiversity conservation laws tabled.

The independent review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 conducted by a panel led by Dr Ken Henry, AC concludes the Act is not meeting its primary purpose of maintaining a healthy, productive and resilient environment.

It makes 58 recommendations including changes to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.

The statutory review of Part 5A, Schedule 5A and Schedule 5B of the Local Land Services Act 2013 has been conducted with the assistance of an Independent Expert Advisory Panel.

It found the objectives of the native vegetation provisions of the Act are valid, while identifying 13 recommendations to improve the implementation and outcomes of the Act.

The NSW Government will now consider both reviews, in consultation with key stakeholders, while developing a whole of government response.

Copies of the reports can be found via the Department of Planning and Environment website: and the Local Land Services website:


A new Special Commission of Inquiry has been tasked by the state government to conduct a holistic review of healthcare funding in NSW.

Richard Beasley SC has been appointed as Inquiry Commissioner to deliver a final report to the Governor on or before 24 August 2024.

As part of the comprehensive review, the Inquiry will examine the existing governance and accountability structure of NSW Health, the way NSW Health funds health services delivered in public hospitals and community settings and strategies available to address escalating costs, limit wastage and identify areas of improvement in financial management.

The Inquiry will also identify opportunities to deliver higher quality, more timely and more accessible patient-centred care.


A new website on coercive control has been launched to help raise awareness and educate the public about the abuse, which is a known precursor to domestic violence deaths.

Coercive control is a pattern of behaviour used against an intimate partner that impedes on their freedom and liberty, and can include controlling the way they dress, who they communicate with and even their access to finances.

The NSW Parliament passed the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 to criminalise coercive control in current and former intimate partner relationships.

These new laws will come into effect next year and, if found guilty, perpetrators can face up to a maximum of seven years in prison.

If you are experiencing or know of someone who is experiencing domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737732) seven days a week/24 hours a day.

View the coercive control website at:


The cruise industry is being encourages by the NSW Government to continue its work to reduce the risk of COVID-19 and other outbreaks on voyages, in line with updated Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advice.

NSW has now formally removed the Eastern Seaboard and Western Australian Cruise Protocols introduced in April 2022 to support the safe resumption of cruising which have been implemented by the cruise industry on a voluntary basis.

The participating state governments - NSW, Victoria, QLD and WA - have agreed there is no longer a need for formal protocols with increasing community immunity to COVID-19 and lessons learned from the cruising industry since voyages resumed.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee did note that cruise ships remain a higher risk setting for communicable disease and that cruise operators can help reduce the risk, including by managing staff health, encouraging passengers and crew to stay up to date with vaccinations and by promptly identifying and controlling outbreaks.


The search for the most empowering and inspiring women and girls in the state is now underway with nominations open for the 2024 NSW Women of the Year Awards.

The award categories are Premier’s Woman of Excellence, Aboriginal Woman of the Year, Community Hero and Young Woman of the Year.

Nominations are also open to recognise and honour young girls in the Ones to Watch Showcase which puts the spotlight on the rising stars of our community, showcasing 10 exemplary young girls between the ages of 7 to 15 years old.

The annual awards put the spotlight on women and girls whose determination, bravery, skill and passion should be celebrated and shared, inspiring others to achieve great things.

Nominations close on 8 October with the winners announced in March 2024 during NSW Women’s Week:


Legacy was built on a promise to a dying soldier, to look after his family and 100 years on that promise continues to be kept.

To all who donate, volunteer or spread the word about Legacy, a big thank you because your continued support maintains that promise founded in the trenches of World War One to care for the families of veterans.

As we commemorate 100 years of Legacy in Australia - Legacy today ensures that 43,000 partners and children of servicemen and servicewomen across Australia do not suffer financial or social disadvantage as a result of the loss or serious injury of their loved one.

To find out more about the work of Legacy and how to donate visit:


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