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Hunter electorate ‘forgotten’ in coal energy debate

There is a good chance the modern conveniences of anyone living along the eastern seaboard of Australia have been switched on with energy produced in the coal-rich NSW Hunter region.

And while the ultra-marginal seat of Hunter could, in theory, decide who wins government, it seems a transition to renewable energy has not been entertained as a campaign-worthy concern by the two major parties.

Residents are desperate to see a clear plan of how their community could bend and change as global climate emission reduction targets inch closer.

A lack of local policy announcements is causing nervousness amongst voters.

Neither Prime Minister Scott Morrison nor Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have visited the region’s major population centres of Singleton or Muswellbrook during the campaign.

These are the areas where the intensive mining happens.

Residents say they are tired of watching money from the coal they produce spent around the country while they wait for infrastructure and services promised time and again, by all sides of politics.

Muswellbrook resident Jessica, who did not want to give her surname, said her town had been forgotten about.

Projects such as the Muswellbrook Bypass, which was first promised and costed in 2000, have been wheeled out again.

It was re-promised by the Coalition in the early days of the campaign and very quickly matched by Labor.

It marked the only major campaign announcement for Muswellbrook by the Nationals as they pushed to win Hunter for the first time.

And with a margin of just 3 per cent, they’re in with half a chance.

Reporting by Bridget Murphy and Amelia Bernasconi.

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