Once again, the votes of our mining communities, especially here in the Hunter, will be critical to determining who wins in the critical federal electorates of Hunter, Paterson and Shortland.
NSW Minerals Council recently commissioned polling which found the race for the mining electorate of Hunter is currently neck and neck. With widely respected and longstanding MP Joel Fitzgibbon retiring, the poll found the Coalition just ahead on 51 percent, with Labor on 49 percent.
Around 8,300 miners and their families live in the electorate of Hunter, along with 1,240 local businesses who employ hundreds of other workers. With the votes of these people set to determine the outcome in Hunter, mining communities will have a serious voice at the ballot box.
The polling also found 77 percent of people support mining in the Hunter and a whopping 82 percent believe mining is important for our economic future.
These polling results should make our political leaders sit up and take notice. If these trends are similar in the neighbouring electorates of Paterson and Shortland, the votes of miners and their families could determine the outcome of the entire federal election.
Miners and their families are resilient and tough. They also know that much of the political love directed toward local mining always tends to happen only when votes are up for grabs.
The real test of support will come once the election is over. Politicians claiming to support mining before an election must back their words with actions. Anything less will risk being turfed out by the voters next time around.
Stephen Galilee, CEO, NSW Minerals Council