The NSW Government last week introduced the Workers Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment Bill 2022 to support the operation of the Dust Diseases Care Scheme.
If passed, the Bill will simplify benefit calculations to ease the administrative burden on injured workers affected by work related dust diseases and their families.
The changes will mean that all current benefit rates are protected and there is no reduction in entitlements.
The introduction of this Bill was brought forward in the same week that the NSW Government passed the Workers' Compensation (Dust Diseases) Amendment (Scheduled Diseases) Regulation 2022 (Regulation).
The Regulation ensures the expansion of the Schedule 1 list of diseases, as recommended by an independent review, to include: Diffuse dust-related pulmonary fibrosis, Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Pneumoconiosis (any form), Silica-induced carcinoma of the lung and Systemic sclerosis.
Local Land Services (LLS) staff are working with landholders to raise awareness about emergency animal diseases in response to the current risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and lumpy skin disease.
Hunter LLS is holding a series of workshops for landholders at Tocal and Singleton on Wednesday 24 August, Denman on Friday 26 August and Scone on Friday 2 September.
The workshops will cover what landholders can do on farm, what LLS does to prevent Emergency Animal Diseases and provide an update on feral animal control.
It is critical that all livestock owners know what these diseases look like and report any suspect signs immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888 or your local district vet on 1300 295 299.
RSVP for the Hunter LLS workshops at: www.eventbrite.com/cc/emergency-animal-workshops-960929
Applications are open for the NSW Government's Resources for Regions program to pave the way for new projects that will improve amenities and infrastructure in the Upper Hunter Electorate.
The $140 million-round nine will deliver projects that improve local facilities for mining communities, while creating new jobs and providing work for local tradespeople and suppliers.
Since the program was introduced in 2012 to give back to mining communities, the eight rounds of Resources for Regions have delivered 242 projects worth $420 million.
Applications for round nine close on 30 September with further information including program guidelines and eligibility criteria available at: www.nsw.gov.au/resourcesforeregions
Entrepreneurs in new and emerging industries in regional NSW will be supported by the NSW Government's new $2 million Accelerating Regional Innovation Fund.
The new fund will assist businesses access the right expertise to improve their capability and competitiveness, drive economic growth and equip regional entrepreneurs with the skills they need to lead change.
Grants of between $300,000 and $700,000 will be provided to accelerator and incubator programs in regional NSW, Newcastle and Wollongong that support regional entrepreneurs and start-ups in emerging sectors and future industries to grow their business, revenues, raise funds and create local jobs.
Applications close on 30 September with program guidelines and eligibility criteria available at: www.nsw.gov.au/ARIF
Critical flood mitigation infrastructure repairs to protect the Hunter Valley have secured $71.5 million from the NSW Government.
The funding of the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme includes $21.5 million for planned maintenance and extra resources, such as flood specialists, to ensure the scheme remains ready for future flood events.
Remediation of around five kilometres of riverbank across 14 separate sites on the Hunter, Paterson and Williams Rivers is also part of the infrastructure repairs.
The investigation and design work needed to facilitate complex repairs is expected to be complete by June 2023.
Urgent repair works are already underway at a number of locations and further critical sites will be repaired as a priority.
The flood mitigation scheme plays a vital role in minimising the impact of flooding for more than 250,000 people across the Hunter including Aberdeen, Singleton, Maitland and Raymond Terrace.
Transport for NSW is conducting essential maintenance work on two bridges in the Upper Hunter electorate from this week.
Beckers Bridge on Glendonbrook Road, Glendon Brook north-east of Singleton undergoes road repairs and the replacement of guardrail damage with work expected to be completed in three weeks, weather permitting.
Vacy Bridge on Gresford Road will be the subject of bridge maintenance and vegetation control work over two weeks, weather permitting.
Work is scheduled 7am-5pm, Monday to Thursday with traffic control of single lane closures and a 40km/h speed limit in place during working hours, which may affect travel times.
Minister for Regional Transport Sam Farraway visited Singleton recently to announce a program that has fitted more than 2,500 dedicated school buses with seatbelts will be extended to selected Hunter region school routes.
The NSW Government extending the seatbelt program to 100 school buses in the Singleton, Cessnock, Maitland and Port Stephens areas after considered analysis of roads with higher risk ratings and the need to keep more kids safe when travelling to school.
In March, 37 new buses in the Upper Hunter Electorate had seatbelts installed whilst a further 35 existing school buses had been retrofitted with seatbelts.
For more on the program: www.transport.nsw.gov.au/operations/buses-and-coaches/rural-and-regional-seatbelt-program-taskforce
Community organisations can now apply for a share of $400,000 from the latest round of the Community Road Safety Grants program.
The grants of $5,000 or $30,000 encourage organisations to propose local road safety initiatives to bring the state's road toll towards zero.
Not-for-profit groups, who know the road safety issues in their local communities and can deliver targeted programs that directly address road safety issues at a grassroots level are encouraged to apply.
Community groups can submit ideas for round eight until Tuesday 13 September.
Dave Layzell is the MP for Upper Hunter
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