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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 6 May 2024


THE UPPER HUNTER electorate will continue to showcase its autumn events this week when the Scone Horse Festival takes the spotlight.


It’s been a busy few months with the local show circuit, Gresford Billy Carts and Dungog Rodeo over Easter, historic trains plying the rail to Paterson during Steamfest, Tocal Field Days – now for 11 days of all things equine.


The ‘Thank God for the Horse’ Thanksgiving Service at Scone Uniting Church on Thursday night commences proceedings ahead of Friday’s Scone and District Schools Horse Sports at White Park and the St Mary’s Ball.


Key events include the Festival Parade this Saturday, the Scone Cup carnival on Friday and Saturday 17-18 May and the Fireworks Finale at Lake Glenbawn on Sunday 19 May.


To see what’s happening in Australia's Horse Capital during Scone Horse Festival visit: 



What an accolade for Broke and Gloucester to be named as finalists in the NSW Top Tourism Town Awards.


Broke has even more reasons to celebrate being a finalist for the fourth year running but is up against neighbouring Wollombi to be named Top Tiny Tourism Town.


Gloucester also has some local rivalry to contend with in the Small Tourism Town category with Bulahdelah among the final six for towns with a population of 1,500 to 5,000 residents.


It is now up to Upper Hunter Electorate voters to do their bit to have Broke and Gloucester crowned as tourism award winners by casting your vote before 5pm Monday 13 May at:


Winners of the 2024 NSW Top Tourism Town Awards will be announced at the Local Government NSW Destination and Visitor Economy Conference later this month in Wagga Wagga.


Nine Upper Hunter organisations have shared in the $50,000 from the 2023-24 round of the Local Sport Grant Program administered by the NSW Office of Sport


Gloucester Croquet Club has been awarded $10,975 for a program to secure the future of the game in the town.


Scone Junior Rugby Union Club receives $10,741 to renew training equipment and Singleton Rugby Club has $6,766 for the fit-out of female change rooms and equipment.


North United Wolves Soccer Club will have portable goal posts at Lorn Park after securing a grant of $6,340.


Scone Rugby Union Club Ltd has $5,000 for new player uniforms, whilst junior participation in squash will be the focus for the $3,474 received by Muswellbrook Squash Club Inc.


Aberdeen Junior Rugby League Football Club Incorporated can undertake a canteen upgrade after being awarded $2,366, breaking down the barriers is the objective for the $2,320 received by Scone Triathlon Club and Gresford Vacy Football Club has $2,016 for training balls.



An awareness campaign has been launched by the state government to raise public awareness and understanding of coercive control.


The campaign, “It’s not love, it’s coercive control. Know the signs of abuse.”, is in response to market research showing only 26 percent of respondents had heard of the term coercive control and understood what it meant.


The signs of Domestic Violence are often obvious including physical injury, loud and aggressive interactions – however, Coercive Control when it occurs, is often not noticeable to anyone but the victim and perpetrator.


NSW Police are undergoing coercive control training, to prepare for the July 1 introduction of the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Coercive Control) Act 2022 which criminalises coercive control in current or former intimate partner relationships.


If found guilty, perpetrators can face up to a maximum of seven years in prison.


If you or someone you know are in immediate danger from Domestic Violence or Coercive Control, call the Police on Triple Zero - 000.


For confidential advice, support and referrals, contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or check:



A cutting-edge emergency animal disease vaccine pilot project commenced by the NSW Nationals and Liberals in government has reached a major milestone.


The research project to fast-track an mRNA vaccine for Border Disease Virus (BDV) has been successfully manufactured for the first time in NSW.


The BDV vaccine was manufactured in Sydney by the University of NSW RNA Institute after first being developed by US-based biotechnology leader, Tiba Biotech.


The vaccine had input from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Meat and Livestock Australia and the NSW RNA Pilot Facility.


While BDV is not an emergency animal disease, what has been learnt from this successful pilot project can now be applied to the development of vaccines for Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD), from which Australia remains free.


The project commenced in 2022 with then Deputy Premier Paul Toole committing $6 million to fast-track the development of a mRNA vaccine for FMD and LSD and challenging researchers to develop it by August 2023.  



Fire and Rescue NSW rolls out the welcome mat on Saturday between 10am and 2pm for the emergency service’s Open Day.


It's the day you can meet your local firefighters, explore the equipment they use and learn important safety tips.


Muswellbrook Fire & Rescue will showcase the brigade’s new station and equipment while Murrurundi, Scone, Aberdeen, Singleton and Branxton brigades have activities, barbecues and information on the free Home Fire Safety Visit program.


Take your family and friends for a fun and educational experience with more on the FRNSW Open Day at: &



You know the work required in your neighbourhood but have you advised council so it can be considered when your elected councillors conduct the budget deliberations soon.


Upper Hunter Shire residents have community consultation sessions from this week to provide thoughts and opinions on the council’s draft Delivery Program and Operational Plan.


Aberdeen Community Hall is the venue on Tuesday 7 May, 6-7.30pm, then on Thursday 9 May at Cassilis Community Hall, 5-6.30pm, and 7.30-9pm at Merriwa School of Arts.


Scone Council Chambers hosts consultations on Monday 13 May, 6-7.30pm, with Murrurundi CWA Hall the location on Wednesday 15 May, 6-7.30pm, followed by Moonan Flat Community Hall on Monday 20 May, 6-7.30pm.


Muswellbrook Shire Council invites the community to provide feedback on the Draft Operational Plan until 22 May at 5pm.



Submissions can also be addressed to The General Manager via: PO Box 122, Muswellbrook NSW 2333 or email 


Submissions via Facebook will not be accepted.



Apprentices facing hardship have the chance to get financial help with applications open for the Bert Evans Apprentice Scholarships.


The NSW government is providing $2.25 million to support apprentices, who are experiencing financial difficulties or personal hardship, in completing their work and training. 


Eligible first-year apprentices, including school-based apprentices throughout the state, are encouraged to apply.


Successful applicants receive a $5,000 scholarship for three years with application forms to be submitted before Friday 31 May.




The NSW Government has provided an update on its $13 million Feral Pig Program and remains optimistic it is on track to meet its target of culling 87,000 feral pigs.


Since October last year, 69,343 feral pigs have been culled through the program with 4,335 properties across NSW participating in aerial and ground control programs.


Over the past seven months, Local Land Services staff have provided farmers with tailored feral pig management advice through 7,394 one on one consultations and delivered 64 skill building events and workshops.


Over 129,600 kilograms of free bait has been provided to farmers to ensure multiple control methods are being used as part of best practice pest animal management.


For more information on the Feral Pig Program got to:


NSW DPI Fisheries reminds recreational fishers that Australian Bass and Estuary Perch in all coastal rivers and estuaries are now off limits until the end of August.


A zero bag limit applies during the annual closure to protect these two key sportfish species as they migrate towards salt water for spawning.


It doesn’t prevent anglers fishing for other estuarine species such as bream or flathead during the colder months.


The current restriction does not apply to Australian Bass and Estuary Perch caught in freshwater dams or in rivers above impoundments, as the fish do not breed in these areas.


The Hunter Valley’s Glenbawn Dam and Glennies Creek Dam are stocked fisheries, with fish stocks physically replaced annually with fingerlings bred in hatcheries, which allows anglers to continue fishing for the species in these waters all year round.


Fisheries Officers will ensure that the rules are followed and encourage anglers who witness any suspected illegal activity to contact the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536 or report online at:


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