Eighty rare and threatened animal species and 16 threatened ecological communities will be better protected after the iconic Gardens of Stone was officially reserved as a State Conservation Area.
The more than 30,000 hectare area near Lithgow links the Wollemi and Blue Mountains National Parks and features ancient rock pagodas, highland swamps, Aboriginal cultural sites and sandstone cliffs. The gazettal follows a $50 million NSW Government commitment to establish an eco-adventure tourism destination.
The Lost City Adventure Experience will be one of the State's biggest ever regional ecotourism projects featuring Australia's longest zip line, rock climbing and a spectacular elevated canyon walk. The first stage of the Lost City Adventure experience is expected to open in 2023.
Applications are now open for the 2022 Community Building Partnership (CBP) grant funding program.
The Upper Hunter Electorate has been allocated $400,000 for community infrastructure projects.
Local councils and not-for-profit groups are urged to apply for the funds to deliver projects with social, environmental and recreational outcomes.
Local sports clubs, charities, schools and museums are just some of the groups that can benefit from the CBP program. Applications must be submitted by 5pm Friday 10 June with more information available at: www.nsw.gov.au/cbp
New laws passed in the NSW Parliament last week will benefit family-owned farming businesses with stamp duty exemptions extended on the transfer of primary production land to a company or other entity directed by a family member.
Under the current stamp duty legislation, if someone wanted to pass their farm on to a child's trust or company to operate, there would be stamp duty charged on that transfer.
As of 1 July, the new laws will help ensure the removal of stamp duty for family-owned companies, trusts or entities helping support the next generation of NSW farmers.
Budding agriculturalists are being encouraged to get involved in the NSW Government's new Agricultural Pathways Program.
Recent school graduates are being targeted to join the managing teams of the Department of Primary Industries' 13,000-hectare research station program.
The program adds to the Government's approach to support the future agriculture workforce of NSW, with education and skill-based programs that start in primary and secondary school, through to tertiary and post-tertiary education levels, including Indigenous Pathway opportunities and the dedicated educational institution Tocal College. Like many industries, agriculture is faced with the ongoing challenge of an ageing workforce - with the average age of farmers in NSW being 58-60.
The NSW Government is offering $20 million in grants to establish up to 3,500 electric vehicle (EV) chargers for Australia's largest destination charging network.
A range of destinations can apply including motels, wineries, cafes, restaurants, natural attractions, visitor information centres and museums.
The co-funded grants will be for between $2,000 and $40,000 per site for EV chargers in regional NSW, with the aim of boosting regional tourism. The EV destination charging grants can be used for the purchase and installation of select electric vehicle (EV) chargers as well as software to tap into the smart capabilities of each charger.
The Report on the Review of Grants Administration in NSW has made 19 recommendations for achieving best practice grants administration.
The review was tasked with reviewing the administration of NSW Government grants to ensure that grants deliver value for public money, are robust in their planning and design, deliver a high-quality customer experience, and adopt key principles of transparency, accountability and probity.
Grants are a significant part of the way the Government supports communities and individuals from COVID responses, to sports fields, to flood recovery, to small business assistance. The NSW Government is carefully considering the recommendations to improve the administration and assessment of government grants with a response to be made in the coming weeks.
Support from the NSW Government will assist children whose parent or sibling has died by suicide to attend virtual and in-person day camps specially designed to help them process grief and loss. The Let's Talk Suicide camps run by the charity Feel the Magic are the first of their kind in Australia and carefully balance grief education and fun activities to appeal to children from seven to 17 years.
If you have been impacted by suicide, the StandBy: Support After Suicide counselling service is available seven days a week. This NSW-wide service provides a range of practical and emotional support, including counselling, accessing financial assistance, and navigating the coronial process.To contact StandBy: Support After Suicide call 1300 727 247.
Dave Layzell is the Member for Upper Hunter
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