POWER AND THE PASSION: Upper Hunter needs 'more than lip service' for a post-mining economy

MUSWELLBROOK mayor, Steve Reynolds, is calling for a genuine focus on future employment in the region as the nation awaits a return to the polls.

"This is the biggest federal election that they're going to have for a long time and the seat is open," Cr Reynolds said."But really they're not talking about jobs and that's what we want to hear."

Cr Reynolds - who worked in the mining industry until 2016 when he suffered a permanent injury on site - points to a regional reliance on the coal industry for jobs, saying now is the time for Muswellbrook to start expanding its portfolio.

"I need to say that I don't see the export market going anywhere for some time," he said.

"But we have really got the opportunity for agribusiness, tourism, manufacture and if Newcastle airport becomes a major terminal we can go straight from the paddock to plate in the Asian market.

"Our main aim at the moment is to drive that conversation and have businesses look at Muswellbrook as the viable option."

Have to capitalise: Muswellbrook mayor, Steve Reynolds, says he is looking to ensure a future for the region post-mining. Picture: Peter LorimerIn the 2019 to 2020 financial year, the NSW government received around $1.5 billion in royalties from the coal mining industry.