NSW Labor have confirmed Muswellbrook's Jeff Drayton as their candidate for the upcoming Upper Hunter by-election.
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay will be in Singleton with the candidate this morning to address the media.
Jeff is well known in the area having lived and worked in the Upper Hunter his whole life being employed by many of the industries in the region. He was born in Denman and met his wife at Muswellbrook High School.
Jeff worked in the coal industry for 20 years, beginning at BHP’s Mount Arthur Coal Mine then as a respected union representative supporting mining workers across the Hunter Valley and the Northern District of NSW. His wife Susan owns a small business in Muswellbrook. He began his working life in the wine industry at Rosemount, one of the Hunter Valley’s acclaimed wineries, before spending 10 years at Energy Australia.
“I’m putting my name forward to represent Labor in the Upper Hunter because I want to stand up for working people in my community, to fight for secure and good jobs across the Upper Hunter, and to make sure that women and men - and the industries they work in – get the respect they deserve," said Jeff.
“I’m sick of the Upper Hunter being forgotten when it comes time to benefit from all the heavy lifting we do here."
“Whether it’s people having a go at coalminers who are the backbone of our community, our manufacturing jobs and industries being shipped overseas, or our local TAFE campuses being sold off - we just don’t get a fair go here. We feel like we’ve been taken for granted.”
NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay said Jeff will be a fantastic representative.
“I grew up in the Hunter and I am looking forward to campaigning alongside Jeff. He is genuine in his love of the area and is a fighter for working people. He’s someone who’ll treat this community with the respect it deserves. He knows the opportunities and the challenges. He knows when things go wrong and how to make them better. He is exactly the person we need in the NSW Parliament.
“Jeff has raised his family in the Upper Hunter and not only knows the importance of keeping jobs and creating jobs, but also of ensuring that young people have the opportunity to get a safe, secure and reliable job.”
“The Nationals have taken this community for granted for far too long. They’ve sold the Scone TAFE campus, sent manufacturing jobs offshore and they supported Michael Johnsen for years. The people of the Upper Hunter deserve better and I am confident Jeff is the person to make that happen.”
Yesterday, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party announced local businesswoman Sue Gilroy as their candidate for the by-election.
Sue is also the President of the Singleton Business Chamber, a role she has stepped aside from until the election on May 22. Danny Eather will stand in as acting-President.
The NSW Nationals candidate is Dave Layzell, the Liberal-Democrat is Eva Pears and one Independent Kate Fraser has put her hat in the ring.
More announcements are expected this week on other independents including, possible, former One Nation candidate Stuart Bonds.
Image credit: Jodi McKay MP and Grant Broadcasters/Jessica Rouse