NSW Nationals have endorsed Josh Angus as the Candidate for Hunter at the Federal Election to be held on May 18.
Mr Angus, a Hunter Valley café owner, stood as The Nationals Candidate for Cessnock in the March 23 State Election and secured a swing of almost 3 per cent against the Labor incumbent.
Now, he is taking on another tough Labor incumbent and has promised to keep fighting for the people of the Hunter. "I'm very excited to build upon what I've started here in the Hunter," Mr Angus said.
"I intend to campaign for the good of the people locally, not the good of the Labor Party machine."
A vocal mental health advocate, Mr Angus said he wanted to see more funding for headspace centres in regional areas, and a return to strong local representation.
"There are a lot of people in the Hunter who are employed either directly or indirectly by the coal industry, and we need to protect those jobs," Mr Angus said.
"But at the same time, I know our farmers are feeling anxious about these online activists who turn into offline pests. As a National, I believe in job security for our miners, but I also wanted to see tough laws that target people who want to trespass on farmland."
Mr Angus said people deserved to have someone who understood everyday problems and stood up for them.
"Our local member has had an easy ride and that stops now," Mr Angus said. "I know this is a tough fight, but the people of the Hunter deserve someone who'll fight for them, not mates in Canberra."
A farmer and coal miner who fears scores of local jobs are under threat from Labor's anti-coal stance has been named One Nation's candidate for the federal electorate of Hunter.
Stuart Bonds says he is stepping up to be a sensible and unwavering voice for countless Australians who feel their issues and circumstances are being ignored by major political parties.
"This isn't a job that can be sub-contracted out, there is just nobody else in our area willing to stand up for us in the Hunter, so I decided I have to do it," Mr Bonds said of his decision to be a One Nation candidate.
"I'm not here to be selfish and just represent my own views, I'm not the voice of just one person, I'm the voice of millions of unheard people out there that are just ignored because they don't have the voice or the means or the will to get out there... and there's nobody out there speaking up for them. I've got to do it."
Mr Bonds said his major concerns included the threat to the coal mining jobs in Hunter, the need to invest in jobs and more apprenticeships, he wants to push for more infrastructure projects (like dams, roads, bridges and a high-speed train network to the city), and common-sense approaches to climate change and immigration policy.
He supports One Nation policies that promote the construction of at least one new coal-fired power station to replace Liddell, direct grants for businesses that employ apprentices, an investigation into the abuse of the foreign work visa process, restoration of the National fuel supply to a minimum of 90 days, and removing Australia from the Paris agreement that will negatively impact Australia's mining and resources sector.
Mr Bonds is a member of the CFMEU and has the backing of One Nation to seek assistance from union members in holding the major parties to account in the campaign to secure local jobs.
"Coal mining is something that's very close to my heart and my community's heart - we generate most of the state's power in this area, and I believe we contribute, per capita, more to the state and federal coffers than probably any area," he explained.
"And because this has been a safe Labor seat for so long, we get absolutely no funding from the Labor Party."
Mr Bonds is particularly disappointed that, after some 100 years of continual representation by Labor, the Labor Party is still proposing to close the local coal industry.
"They're at the point that they're openly saying that they are closing the coal-fired power stations, they're encouraging them to be closed, and they're going to encourage 100% renewable energy, funded by our tax dollars, to be built, so, the writing is on the wall, if you vote for Labor, that's what you're voting for," he said.
"My house is run on batteries and solar power and it's prohibitively expensive; and to scale this up on a wider industrial scale is just ludicrous. It's a ridiculous thing to even suggest.
"So I can see the direction that this is heading and it's going to end up in extremely high power prices for us, and we're going to needlessly cripple an entire industry.
"If we keep going down this road, it's going to kill all our jobs in this area, and once this industry is gone, it's gone, man, it's not coming back.
"The Hunter area has been gutted of its revenue for far too long; we have the skills, we have the land, we have the resources and we have the desire to continue to be the major power supplier for the state for the next 50 years. Let's get these power plants built."
Mr Bonds believes One Nation is the only party that is maintaining sensible stances on key issues and calls on union and industry leaders in the mining sector to work with One Nation to support mining jobs in the Hunter.
"People are fed up, they have no other choice, I just want to give them an option," he explained.
"The caning that you cop from the media, for telling the truth, is just ridiculous, but I don't mind, call me what you like, it's like water off a duck's back.
"I'll cop the punches so they don't have to; I just need them to trust me, to vote for me, and we'll be right."
Janet Murray The Greens
I'm a chemical engineer and worked at BHP's Newcastle Steelworks for nearly 20 years until retrenched in 1999. People used to believe Newcastle wouldn't survive the closure of the Steelworks, but it has.
Similarly, the Hunter Valley can thrive after coal.
As a chemical engineer, I am driven by facts, data and scientific research. Together with 97% of the world's climate scientists, I believe climate change is real and that humans have been the key driver. According to the World Meteorological Organisation, the 20 warmest years on record have all been in the last 22 years, with the top four in the last four years.
It's time to get our heads out of the sand, listen to the scientists and take action on climate change. The community will embrace any plan that also ensures today's mining and power workers have access to training that leads to meaningful employment in 21st-century jobs.
I have lived in the area for 25 years. Throughout that time, I have been part of local community groups fighting to preserve the environment, rural character and amenity of the Buttai/Black Hill area.
Having seen first-hand the operation of Council, the Department of Planning and the Land and Environment Court, I know the odds are stacked in favour of developers. Local communities need to be informed earlier of plans for their area and given a genuine voice to modify projects to protect their amenity and environment. After all, we're the ones who will be living next door, long after the developers have gone!
I have two teenage children. I am standing for The Greens because we need to clean up the mess we have made, not leave it to the next generation.
Paul Davies United Australia Party 62, joined the United Australia Party to help build a better life for his children and grandchildren. Now retired, he has worked in a variety of industries, most recently as a chauffeur.
Paul was a member of the rural bush fire service while living in Orange, and has now lived in the Lake Macquarie district for more than ten years. He loves fishing and boating.
Sitting member of Hunter Labor's Joel Fitzgibbon will re-contest the election He was born in Bellingen, NSW, in 1962. Joel attended Maitland Marist Brothers and St Patrick's Primary, Cessnock. In addition to his trade qualifications he holds a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Newcastle.
After leaving high school Joel trained as an auto-electrician and ran his own business for more than ten years. Between 1987 and 1995 he served on Cessnock City Council and was Deputy Mayor of the City between 1989 and 1990.
Joel was first elected to the House of Representatives in March of 1996 to represent the Hunter electorate in New South Wales. He served as Minister for Defence in the Labor Government between December 2007 and June 2009. He also served as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry between July 2013 and September 2013.
A former player himself, Joel's favourite sport is Rugby League and he is the Patron of both the Newcastle Knights and his former club, Cessnock. Joel lives with his wife Dianne and their children in Cessnock NSW.