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Cost of living, health and roads key election issues in Hunter


The cost of living, health and roads appear to be among the key issues for residents as they head to the polls on Saturday.

In the Hunter, five of the nine electorates being contested – Cessnock, Maitland, Port Stephens, Upper Hunter and Wallsend – boast seven candidates, representing a variety of parties, from Labor to the Liberals, One Nation to The Greens, the Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption to the Shooters Fishers and Farmers.

However, only four are vying for the seat of Charlestown, the least amount of challengers in the region.

Lake Macquarie Independent Greg Piper.

In Maitland, held by Labor’s Jenny Aitchison, the Newcastle Weekly spoke to a few locals about their main concerns.

Sarah, a working mother-of-two from Rutherford, admitted rising bills were a big worry.

“It’s not getting any easier, everything seems to be increasing at the moment,” she said.

“If it’s not petrol, it’s food or home repayments.

“It is probably more of a federal problem to deal with, but not much has altered in NSW either.”

Lorraine, a grandmother from Aberglasslyn, said she feared for the state of the Hunter’s hospitals.

“They’re a joke,” she stated.

“I waited more than 12 hours at Maitland recently; and left without seeing anyone.

“From what I understand, it’s not much better at John Hunter.

“That isn’t right in this day and age.”

Michael, a single dad from Maitland, highlighted the region’s poor thoroughfares.

“I’m on the roads every day… and it’s a lottery out there,” he said.

“The bottlenecks and congestion, at particular times, are disgraceful.

“This [current] government has had a decade to change things but hasn’t.

“I guess it’s an easy vote for me [today].”

Those incumbents eyeing off another successful term include Clayton Barr (Cessnock, Labor), Jodie Harrison (Charlestown, Labor), Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie, Independent), Jenny Aitchison (Maitland, Labor), Tim Crakanthorp (Newcastle, Labor), Kate Washington (Port Stephens, Labor), Yasmin Catley (Swansea, Labor), Dave Layzell (Upper Hunter, The Nationals) and Sonia Hornery (Wallsend, Labor).

Voting closes at 6pm on Saturday 25 March.

Upper Hunter MP Dave Layzell on the hustings.

2023 NSW Election candidates listed in ballot paper draw order


  • Fenwick, Andrew (Legalise Cannabis Party)
  • Barnham, Ash
  • Jones, Graham (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
  • King, Quintin (One Nation)
  • Davies, Victoria (Animal Justice Party)
  • Nairn, Llynda (The Greens)
  • Barr, Clayton (Labor)


  • Harrison, Jodie (Labor)
  • Antcliff, Jack (Liberal)
  • Rolfe, Marie (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
  • Watkinson, Greg (The Greens)


  • Lesage, Jason (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Piper, Greg (Independent)
  • Gore-Escalante, Felipe (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
  • Beer, Joshua (Liberal)
  • Ryan, Steve (Labor)
  • Grierson, Kim (The Greens)


  • Knox, Campbell (The Greens)
  • Cooper, Michael (Liberal)
  • Turner, Neil (One Nation)
  • Ferguson, Sam (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
  • Lee, Alex (Independent)
  • Dryden, Daniel (Legalise Cannabis Party)
  • Aitchison, Jenny (Labor)


  • Mackenzie, John (The Greens)
  • Triebsees, Thomas (Liberal)
  • Leka, Niko (Socialist Alliance)
  • Claydon, Tim (Legalise Cannabis Party)
  • Crakanthorp, Tim (Labor)
  • Taylor, Freya (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)


  • Buckmaster, Michelle (Animal Justice Party)
  • Jensen, Jordan (The Greens)
  • Ketas, Angela (Informed Medical Options Party – IMOP)
  • Washington, Kate (Labor)
  • Errington, Nathan (Liberal)
  • Watson, Mark (One Nation)
  • Jelfs, Beverley (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)


  • Ellis, Alan (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)
  • Foord, Heather (The Greens)
  • Anderson, Megan (Liberal)
  • Catley, Yasmin (Labor)
  • Jackson, Paul (Liberal Democrats)


  • Lonergan, Tony (The Greens)
  • White, James (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Layzell, Dave (The Nationals)
  • McNamara, Dale (Independent)
  • Watson, Peree (Labor)
  • Lillicrap, Tom (Legalise Cannabis Party)
  • Blair, Calum (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)


  • Watkins, Rebecca (The Greens)
  • Nolan, Anna (Animal Justice Party)
  • Di Girolamo, Pietro (One Nation)
  • Hornery, Sonia (Labor)
  • Starrett, Joshua (Independent)
  • Pull, Callum (Liberal)
  • Akers, Paul (Sustainable Australia Party – Stop Overdevelopment/Corruption)

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