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Pollies target Hunter before Easter break


Both parties are pushing hard to get their message out ahead of a campaign truce during Good Friday, as week one of the election campaign nears its end.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese will visit Cessnock, and possibly Maitland, in the seat of Hunter before he is expected to move on to other marginal seats in the state

Labor has also announced a promise to keep Centrelink shopfronts open, as well as hire 200 new workers.

The opposition said almost 30 shopfronts have closed under the government, guaranteeing there would not be a net reduction.

Despite a tough start to the campaign for Labor, after Mr Albanese failed to name the national unemployment rate, deputy leader Richard Marles said it was still early days.

“There is a long way to go between now and the election,” he admitted.

“We’ve got a whole lot of policies that we’ll be putting forward.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce is also in the Hunter region for two infrastructure announcements – one at Morisset in Lake Macquarie and one at Newcastle.

The first is for $55 million to upgrade and expand the terminal at Newcastle Airport to increase capacity for international commercial and freight flights into the Hunter.

“Making Newcastle Airport an international gateway to the world will further enhance the Hunter’s capacity as a regional powerhouse that drives the development of our nation and makes us as strong as possible as quickly as possible,” Mr Joyce said

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made his first visit of the campaign to Tasmania, where he will unveil a $220 million package for the forestry industry.

He’ll spend the day in Bass, a marginal seat held by the Liberals by just 0.4%, and a crucial electorate he needs in order to reform government.

Mr Morrison says his government would never shut down native forestry and would work with state governments to establish permanent timber production areas.

“The pressures on the building industry and the uncertain international trade situation has made it clear that local wood products and local skills are critical,” he said.

Defence Minister Peter Dutton said despite the coalition being behind in the polls, the election was not a popularity contest.

“There’s probably been about three elections since federation where you can say that you got a perfect character running as prime minister for either side,” he said.

“Just because you’re a member of a particular party, some people would never consider you, so people look at the runs the government’s got on the board.”

Meanwhile, the Greens will be in the Illawarra region to announce a plan to invest $500 million in green steel to shift Australians away from the use of coal and gas.

Green steel is made with hydrogen instead of coal, meaning its by-product is water and delivers the lowest possible carbon footprint.

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