State Matters - 8 November 2021
NEW COVID-19 SETTINGS
WEEK 46 of 2021, and the week when new COVID-19 settings allow the fully vaccinated to make an earlier than scheduled start on stage three of the Roadmap to reopening NSW.
I thank everyone in the Upper Hunter electorate for getting vaccinated with federal health immunisation figures showing our local council areas ended October with a 95 per cent first jab rate.
The double vaccination figures were 81.4 per cent for Liverpool Plains, Muswellbrook 84.4, Mid Coast 85.8, Singleton 88.9, Dungog 89.7 and Upper Hunter 93.4 per cent.
For the latest rules and restrictions go to www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19
SCHOOL COVID SETTINGS
Additionally, from 8 November all schools operate on updated Level 3 settings for the rest of this term.
Activities allowed in a COVID-safe manner include assemblies and presentations outdoors with year groups separated and physically distanced, graduations and formals are also allowed within year groups either at school or at external venues.
One fully vaccinated parent or carer will be allowed on-site with their pre-schooler for kindergarten orientation.
Fully vaccinated visitors are allowed at schools to support curriculum delivery, wellbeing programs and school operations.
View the Education NSW Roadmap at https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families/term-4-roadmap
STANDBY FOR CONSTRUCTION
I really appreciated the opportunity to catch up with Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters during last week’s visit by Police and Emergency Services Minister, David Elliott.
The visit unveiled the designs for the $650,000 Kayuga RFS Station as well as Fire and Rescue NSW’s new $3.05 million Muswellbrook Fire Station and the $2.1 million Dungog Fire Station.
Construction of the Muswellbrook and Dungog fire stations is set to be completed next year.
Muswellbrook Fire and Rescue also benefit from a brand new $300,000 bush fire tanker which will respond to various emergencies.
INCREASED HARVESTABLE RIGHTS
An historic step by the NSW Government will help coastal farmers increase their harvestable rights for rainfall to 30 per cent from early next year.
Currently coastal landholders can store 10 per cent of the rain that falls on their property, however, the increase will assist them to better drought-proof their properties.
The government will undertake detailed assessments of each individual coastal catchment over the next year to confirm the new limit is appropriate at a local level.
To balance this with the needs of the environment and downstream water users, water use will be restricted to domestic, stock and some agriculture uses, and farm dams will still only be allowed on first or second order streams.
The Natural Resources Access Regulator will enforce the strict rules.
The Coastal Harvestable Rights Review and information on these changes are available at; www.industry.nsw.gov.au/water/licensing-trade/landholder-rights/harvestable-rights-dams/increase
DUNGOG NETBALL SCORES GOAL
Congratulations Dungog District Netball Association for receiving $63,700 from the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants program.
The money to refurbish the local netball courts comes from the ClubGrants Category 3 Fund which reinvests a contribution from registered clubs gaming machine profits back into community projects.
Applications are open until Monday 22 November for the next round of the program giving more local groups the chance to gain funding for projects.
Infrastructure Grants can be used toward the costs of construction, alteration, renovation, completion and fit-out of buildings and community infrastructure.
Applications are encouraged for Arts and Culture, Community Infrastructure, Sport and Recreation and Disaster Readiness projects.
GET A ‘HAG’ ON THE LINE
Passionate anglers now have the chance to change the face of their favourite fishing spots for the better by putting fishing licence fees to good use.
I encourage all recreational fishing groups, Landcare organisations, high schools and our local councils to take advantage of the Habitat Action Grants (HAG) program with applications closing on 10 December.
The grants are funded from the Recreational Fishing Trusts, where all funds raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee are placed.
The HAG allow fishers to submit ideas to see local native fish habitats flourish.
Previously improvements to waterways have included revegetation with native plants and the reintroduction of lost woody habitat into rivers and estuaries for fish.
To apply visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hag.