NSW Labor has endorsed local coal miner Jeff Drayton as their candidate to contest the Upper Hunter by-election on May 22, 2021.
Jeff has lived and worked in the Upper Hunter for his whole life. He was born in Denman and attended Muswellbrook High School where he met his wife Susan. He’s been employed in many of the industries that have made the region the economic powerhouse it is today.
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.
Mr Drayton said: “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.
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 for the people of the Upper Hunter. He’s lived here, worked here, and fought for his community for his whole life.
“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 Upper Hunter is a diverse region offering a diversity of jobs in agriculture, equine, tourism and viticulture. Jeff will help grow those jobs and support the towns and communities that make this region great.”
“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.”