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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 5 December 2022


THREE Upper Hunter Electorate preschools are among nine across New South Wales taking part in a new study, providing free health and development tests for children before they start school.

Gloucester Preschool, Barrington Street Preschool and Stroud Preschool are participating in the study, which will be expanded to 15 more locations early next year before being offered to every NSW pre-schooler in 2024.

The study will help inform the state-wide rollout of the program and will include different types of tests in different locations.

The state-wide program is an Australian first, with checks assessing hearing, vision, physical and cognitive development, social and emotional development, communication and skills.

To get more information on the NSW Government’s Early Years Commitment visit;


As the state experiences a new COVID-19 wave, NSW Health has advised that when you test positive or register a positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT), you will receive a survey link from NSW Health via SMS on your mobile phone.

If you are identified as higher risk after completing the survey, you will receive an SMS from Healthdirect Australia about how to access antiviral medicines via your General Practitioner.

Contact your GP immediately to discuss using antiviral medicines which work best within five days of symptoms appearing.

If you’re eligible, your GP will prescribe you antiviral medicines, for more information visit:

The latest NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report for the week ended 26 November shows that Hunter New England Local Health District had 3,513 COVID-19 cases up from the 3,137 the previous week, taking the year to date local case total to 383,272.

Together, let’s stay COVID safe this wave, by visiting:


The NSW Government has established a new $10,000 annual Military History Prize as part of the prestigious Premier’s History Awards.

The new award, designed specifically to capture and record military history, is an important step in ensuring future generations are educated on the service and sacrifice of Australians in armed conflicts.

The Anzac Memorial Trustees Military History Prize will provide an opportunity for history buffs, academics and anyone interested in the history of the service and contributions of our servicemen and servicewomen to enter and showcase their work.

Entries for the Military History Prize open in February as part of the 2023 NSW Premier’s History Awards with winners announced next September.

For more awards information go to;


Tickets are now available for next year’s Seniors Festival Comedy Shows at Sydney Town Hall and Port Macquarie’s Glasshouse.

The Sydney show is set for Wednesday 8 February and Port Macquarie on Friday 10 February with seniors expected to be tested to see if they have heard every joke in the book.

A powerhouse line-up has been organised with the likes of Arj Barker, Sam McCool, Clint Paddison and Vince Sorrenti all set to perform.

Additionally, there will be the Premier’s Gala Concerts and the Seniors Festival Expo plus more than 85 activities across the state during the festival.

NSW Seniors Festival information is available at;


As the summer season begins, emergency services organisations have joined forces to urge communities to be safe and prepared following a horror year of natural disasters.

Fire and Rescue NSW wants families to keep safety in mind whether it’s as simple as putting up Christmas tree lights or planning for any potential bushfire danger in your area.

The NSW Rural Fire Service expects as the warmer weather sets in, the landscape will dry out, increasing the risk of dangerous and fast-moving grass fires and urges people to know their risk and familiarise themself with the new Fire Danger Rating System.

The NSW State Emergency Service warns if you need to be on the road in flood-affected areas please plan ahead and, in the event you do come across a flooded road, then stop, turn around and find another way.

NSW Volunteer Rescue Association also reminds motorists of the dangers of driving while fatigued urging drivers to take regular breaks when travelling long distances.

Marine Rescue NSW wants mariners to always log on with Marine Rescue when heading out, and log off when they return via VHF Channel 16 or the free Marine Rescue App.

And, Surf Life Saving NSW has reiterated the importance of water safety and waterway awareness by swimming at patrolled beaches, staying between the red and yellow flags, making sure you supervise your children and wearing a life jacket when necessary.


Now is your chance to help shape the future of public open space across NSW by participating in the Regional Outdoor Survey.

Regional communities are being asking what they love about the great outdoors - is it walking the dog, playing, enjoying a bushwalk or heading to the beach or river to cool off?

Public open space is important to support our health and wellbeing and create great places to live.

The findings of this survey will inform local and state governments when planning our communities.


Business is being asked to provide feedback on how the NSW Retail Leases Act operates.

The Act is a critical piece of legislation for retail tenants, landlords, investors in NSW and is designed to foster good leasing practices in the retail industry.

The NSW Small Business Commissioner has been asked to review whether the Act still meets its objectives and what changes may improve certainty and the regulatory environment for retail landlords and tenants.

A discussion paper is available to provide more information on what the review may cover and what it does not cover.

Feedback closes Friday 9 December with review outcomes to be publish next July, so visit;


Options to align liquor licensing and planning approvals and options for a risk-based licensing model are currently being discussed.

The state government wants to modernise the liquor licensing system and make it easier for licensed businesses in NSW to start, grow and diversify, while managing the risk of alcohol-related harm and making it easier for the community to have their say.

The Liquor Licensing Reform Options Discussion Paper has been developed with possible reform options and is broken up into options to streamline the approval processes for licensing and planning applications and options for a new risk-based liquor licence model.

Consultation is open until Tuesday 13 December at;


Key healthcare workers in regional NSW will be given the opportunity to enter the workforce or upskill, under the NSW Government’s $5 million Rural and Regional Health Career Scholarships program.

The program is a key part of the NSW Government’s commitment to attract and retain healthcare workers in rural and regional NSW.

Meantime, Aboriginal people studying, or interested in studying, nursing or midwifery in 2023 may be eligible for a NSW Health scholarship or cadetship with applications open between

And, Enrolled Nurse scholarship applications are open 9 January to 12 February at;


The NSW Government’s Local Sport Defibrillator Grant Program is now taking applications from community sporting clubs and organisations for life-saving defibrillators.

Over four years, $2 million has been committed to the program, ensuring more sporting clubs and councils are equipped to respond to life-threating emergencies.

The program is available to sport and recreation clubs, associations and organisations as well as councils and service clubs which can apply for up to three devices.


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