Thank you to everyone for your patience, resilience and strength shown recently during the Upper Hunter electorate's COVID-19 lockdown.
However, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant, because it will only take a single community transmission for us all to be back under stay at home rules for 14 days.
Be COVID-Safe by sanitising your hands, physically distance from other people, continue wearing a mask when required indoors and get vaccinated.
If you intend to travel during the spring school holidays it is advisable to plan your trip.
Do not travel to stay at home areas without a reasonable excuse.
If you enter these areas for any reason, stay at home rules will also apply to you for 14 days after you were last in any of these areas.
The latest COVID-19 rules and restrictions can be found at www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules or contact Service NSW at www.service.nsw.gov.au/contact-us or call 137788.
The NSW Government has announced an additional $287.5 million in COVID-19 financial support to assist workers and vulnerable communities in regional and rural NSW.
This additional funding will see the COVID-19 test and isolate support payments, emergency hardship payments and community empowerment grants expanded to the whole State.
If you have any symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or loss of taste or smell please attend your nearest COVID testing clinic.
The test and isolate payment of $320 is available for eligible workers aged 17 and over, who have COVID-19 symptoms to get tested and isolate until a negative result is returned.
The payment is available to NSW workers who do not have sick, carer's or pandemic leave.
The Red Cross is administering the emergency hardship, one-off payment of $400 which has now been expanded to temporary visa/ no visa holders in NSW who are facing severe financial hardship and are not eligible for other government income.
Community supports grants have been expanded to help organisations deliver emergency food relief, promote vaccination and testing services, and provide culturally appropriate support and care to diverse communities.
Virtual hospital tour
As the first anniversary rapidly approaches of the new Wilson Memorial Hospital, Murrurundi opening to patients, a virtual tour of the facility is now available.
With an official opening another casualty of the global pandemic, Hunter New England Local Health District has released the two minute tour video.
The project, part of the NSW Government's $300 million Multi-Purpose Service stage five program, commenced in June 2020 with the final works completed in May this year.
Murrurundi now has a hospital with an eight-bed inpatient unit, multiple rooms for emergency services, primary and ambulatory care services and allied health services plus purpose-built staff accommodation.
I invite you to take the virtual tour by using this link, www.facebook.com/HNEHealth/videos/wilson-memorial-hospital-murrurundi/2998699193711633/
Nomination deadline extended
There's still time for the Upper Hunter electorate's most outstanding and influential women to be nominated for the 2022 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
Entries can now be lodged up until Monday night 27 September 2021 Award categories include the Woman of Excellence, Aboriginal Woman of the Year, Aware Super NSW Community Hero of the Year, Young Woman of the Year and Regional Woman of the Year.
Nominations must be submitted online via https://facs.smartygrants.com.au/WOTYA2022
Sport grants close soon
Sporting organisations and councils are urged to apply for the final round of grants from the Regional Sport Facility Fund.
Eligible organisations can seek funding to develop quality core sport infrastructure that will meet current and future needs by creating spaces and facilities that enable communities to enjoy and take part in sport.
Grants of between $100,000 and $1 million will allow lighting to be installed as well as amenity buildings, clubrooms, change rooms and grandstands to be built.
Applications close on 8 October 2021 with more information at www.sport.nsw.gov.au/grants.