The electoral district of Upper Hunter is located within Northern NSW. Upper Hunter covers rural areas to the northwest of Newcastle. It covers all of Dungog, Gloucester, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter local government areas, most of the Liverpool Plains council area, the populated parts of the Singleton council area, and parts of Great Lakes and Mid-Western areas. The seat’s major centres are Singleton, Muswellbrook, Scone and Dungog.
According to 2016 Census data, Upper Hunter has:
A population of 75,527 (47,296 voters turned out in 2015 out of 53,484 enrolled);
A higher than average median age at 40;
A lower than average level of highest educational attainment with 9.9% of constituents achieving a Bachelor Degree level and above; and
A lower than average median weekly household income of $1,302 (vs. $1,486 for NSW).
Upper Hunter has existed since 1859, except for a decade around the turn of the century and three terms in the 1920s. Upper Hunter has been held by the Country/ National Party since 1931. Nationals candidate Michael Johnsen won Upper Hunter in 2015.
The Labor Party had fielded Mayor of Muswellbrook Martin Rush as their candidate for Upper Hunter until allegations of assault were levelled against him by a former housemate and he pulled out of the race recently.
Michael Johnsen (NAT)
Johnsen is the Nationals candidate for Upper Hunter in the 2019 election, and the current member.
Prior to being elected to the NSW Parliament, Johnsen founded his own small business in financial planning.
Johnsen also served on the Upper Hunter Shire Council in 2008 and became Mayor of the region from 2009-2012.
Johnsen has not held a ministry.
Melanie Dagg (LAB)
Dagg is the Labor Party’s candidate for Upper Hunter in the 2019 election.
Dagg is currently the Deputy Mayor of Cessnock Council and lives close to the boundary of Cessnock and Upper Hunter.
Dagg is a mother of two who has lived all her life in the Hunter region. Her family roots here stretch back over a century.
Dagg and husband Josh are raising their two daughters in the area, and Josh’s family have also lived in the Upper Hunter for generations.