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  • Writer's pictureDave Layzell MP

State Matters - 8 April 2024


UPPER HUNTER Shire Council starts work this week on a $1.6 million upgrade of the Golden Highway at Cassilis.


A 750-metre stretch of highway is the focus of the NSW Government’s Safer Roads Program to reduce the risk and severity of crashes on the section used by around 2000 motorists each day.


The safety upgrade widens the highway to provide a left-turn lane into Cassilis Road, install safety barriers, solar flag lighting at the intersection with Cassilis Road and signage to alert motorists of the curve. 


Rumble strips will be installed along the edge and centrelines to reduce the risk of off-road and head-on crashes, particularly at night and in adverse weather conditions.


Line marking will also be upgraded and vegetation cleared to improve sight distance for motorists. 


Work is scheduled for up to eight weeks, weather permitting, from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.


Traffic control, single lane closures and a reduced speed limit of 40 km/h will be in place during work hours, which may affect travel times. 



The NSW Government is testing technology that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) and the mobile phone network to predict the possible impacts of floods.


The State Emergency Service (SES) has partnered with researchers from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and TPG Telecom to develop and test network sensing technology.


Currently, accurate real-time information can be challenging to obtain due to the number of flood sensors, sensor network coverage and network outages during weather events.


UTS’s world-leading wireless research team, led by Distinguished Professor Jay Guo, will build on six years of research establishing the foundation for the flood and storm intelligence sensing system which is under development.



Landholders and residents are being encouraged to report sightings of feral deer in their area to Hunter Local Land Services.


Of particular concern are the public safety risks posed by feral deer to motorists and especially motorcyclists following several recent vehicle crashes.


Hunter LLS says feral deer are a priority pest species and landholders have an obligation to control them to limit their ability to impact the environment, but most importantly so they don’t end up on the road putting human life at risk.


To report feral deer download and install the FeralScan app on your smart phone, record a sighting on the FeralScan website: or call your nearest LLS office on 1300 795 299.



The Upper Hunter Electorate will be a participant and a beneficiary of Hunter Valley Steamfest this weekend.


Please show your support for The Rail Motor Society, Paterson which will operate the ‘Tin Hare’ CPH1, 3 &7 between Maitland and Paterson as well as taking the ‘Red Rattler’ 621/721 to Mount Thorley.


Keep watch for smoke along the North Coast Line through Bolwarra Heights, Mindaribba, Tocal and Paterson as steam locomotive 6029 makes two journeys on Saturday and another on Sunday.


Branxton hosts steam locomotive 3526 for five trips on Saturday and further four on Sunday.


For more on Maitland’s celebration on steam and industrial heritage visit: and see the train timetable at:



The NSW Respiratory Surveillance Report is continuing to indicate that there is a high number of cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in the community.


For the week ending 30 March, the Hunter New England Local Health District reported 138 RSV infections taking the Year-to-Date total to 1135.


Even though there were 121 recorded COVID-19 infections locally, the first quarter total for this year is 2466 at the end of March.


COVID-19 notifications now only reflect cases referred by a doctor for a PCR test, NSW Health monitored outbreaks in residential aged-care facilities published by the Australian Government and antiviral prescriptions dispensed in NSW.

The Public Health, Rapid, Emergency and Syndromic Surveillance (PHREDSS) data, COVID-19 sewage surveillance program, whole genome sequencing (WGS) data and sentinel laboratory respiratory virus test results are also currently of most value for monitoring COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses of importance in the community.


To protect yourself and others from COVID-19 - stay up to date with your recommended vaccinations, if you have cold or flu symptoms stay home and wear a mask if you do need to leave home – for further information:



His Majesty King Charles III has approved a two-year extension of the term for the Governor of New South Wales, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC.


Her Excellency was appointed as the 39th Governor of NSW in May 2019 with Governor Beazley’s term now extended to May 2026.


The role of Governor has changed greatly over the years and today has an important constitutional, ceremonial and community role in our state.


In respect of constitutional matters, the Governor acts on the advice of her Ministers.


The Governor holds Investiture Ceremonies involving presentation of honours and awards at Government House twice a year, receives courtesy calls from Heads of State, Royalty, Ambassadors and Foreign Ministers, as well as being Patron to numerous organisations.



The Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s removal of all import tariffs on Australian bottled wine has been welcomed by the NSW Government.


China is our state’s largest two-way goods trading partner, which was valued at $56.9 billion in 2022-23.


The state government will try to capitalise on the tariff removal by rolling out events, initiatives and in-market activations in partnership with industry to assist companies to re-enter the Chinese market.


The program includes a NSW Wine Destination e-commerce training program, a ‘New and Hidden Gems’ Chinese Buyers Mission to NSW, a NSW Going Global Export Program focused on beverages to Greater China and a roadshow reintroducing the NSW wine industry to Chinese importers and distributors.


Four NSW wine campaigns ran in Greater China last year to reconnect producers with importers and distributors to drive sales resulting in the signing of several commercial agreements.


NSW Fair Trading inspectors held a pre-Easter long weekend operation to ensure service stations displayed correct fuel prices on site and in the NSW Government’s FuelCheck app.


Under law, NSW service stations must publicly publish fuel prices to NSW FuelCheck, display price information on signs visible to passing motorists and disclose fuel octane content ratings.


Service stations found not to be obeying the rules can be issued with a $1100 Penalty Infringement Notice.


The FuelCheck app provides real-time prices for petrol at service stations across NSW and the Australian Capital Territory.


It includes a Favourite Stations function and a Trends page showing the cheapest day of the week to fill up and the day’s price range.


For more on FuelCheck and to download the app


That’s the theme for Youth Week being held 11-21 April with events scheduled for Murrurundi, Muswellbrook and Singleton.


Free entry to Wilson Memorial Oval, Murrurundi on Tuesday 16 April will be the start of a fun-filled day including Parkour classes at the skate park 9am-3pm, an Inflatable Obstacle Course 10am-2pm, topped-up with a BBQ lunch.


Upper Hunter Youth Services has a Youth Week Community Day on Wednesday April 17 at Muswellbrook Showground 11am-2pm, with more details at : and


And, a jam-packed program of activities has been lined up by Singleton Youth Venue, Singleton Public Library and Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre.


Laser tag, creative workshops, music video fun and it culminates with an outdoor cinema screening of the musical comedy Wonka under the stars at Cook Park on Saturday 20 April.


To view the full Youth Week program in Singleton, visit:



Hunter Valley Police District is encouraging people to make use of the NSW Police community portal.


You can use the portal to report incidents like lost property, intentional damage or graffiti, theft, fraud, minor traffic crashes as well as completing firearms applications and NSW police checks:

Officers advise that you should call Triple Zero (000) when an incident is happening now, the suspect is still at the scene or anyone is seriously injured or in immediate danger.


The Police Assistance Line (131444) is for non-urgent police assistance and general enquiries.


If you are aware of people wanted by the Police, suspicious or unusual activity, unsolved crimes or a future crime that is being planned - you can report to Crime Stoppers confidentially online: or call 1800 333 000.



Applications are open until next Monday for grants from the Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund (ACIF).


Projects eligible for funding include the development of cricket nets, synthetic and turf wickets, lighting upgrades, inclusive changerooms, permanent shade or shelter, permanent scoreboards, and playing surface upgrades.


This year the ACIF is providing a total of $1.3 million to support the growth and improvement of cricket facilities across the state.


Clubs, associations, schools and councils can apply for three streams of grants – Minor $1,000- $15,000, Major $15,000-$40,000 and Strategic of $40,000 and above, at:


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