Country Labor's new candidate for Upper Hunter Melanie Dagg is ready to hit the hustings

NSW Labor's shadow treasurer Ryan Park, Country Labor candidate for Upper Hunter Melanie Dagg and Kate Washington, shadow minister for Hunter visit Singleton to launch Melanie's campaign for the state election.
NSW Labor's shadow treasurer Ryan Park, Country Labor candidate for Upper Hunter Melanie Dagg and Kate Washington, shadow minister for Hunter visit Singleton to launch Melanie's campaign for the state election.

Ready and willing to serve the people and communities of the Upper Hunter is Country Labor’s new candidate for the seat  Melanie Dagg.

Melanie told the Argus on her visit to Singleton to launch her campaign for the March 23 state election that her home in Branxton is located a mere 200 metres outside the electorate’s boundary.

“But my family have strong connections to the region, my father and my husband Josh work in the mining industry and our family have a farm at Stanhope,” she said

Melanie described herself as being the underdog in the campaign up against sitting member The Nationals Michael Johnsen, well known Scone resident Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Lee Watts and Muswellbrook’s Tony Longeran standing for the Greens.

Melanie was a last minute replacement for Muswellbrook Mayor’s Martin Rush who resigned last month as the Country Labor candidate following media reports of an alleged altercation between himself and a female housemate last year.

Despite categorically denying the allegations, that were based on an anonymous letter, Mr Rush resigned due to pressures on himself and his family. He was considered a good chance of unseating Mr Johnsen having come within 2 percent last election thereby turning a once safe Nationals seat marginal.

Melanie said she had received wonderful support from Martin and he would continue play a vital role in her campaign.

Melanie will be fighting to put the local schools and hospitals ahead of the Nationals' $2.2 billion splurge on Sydney stadiums.

Melanie, 34, is a mother of two who has lived all her life in the Hunter region. Her family roots here stretch back over a century.

Melanie and husband Josh are raising their two daughters in the area, and Josh’s family have also lived in the Upper Hunter for generations. She is currently deputy mayor of Cessnock Council.

Melanie is passionate about education, health and securing better local services for the Hunter community. 

Speaking in Singleton on Wednesday NSW Labor, shadow treasurer, Ryan Park said Singleton High School has seen its maintenance backlog more than triple in one year.

“In 2016-17 the maintenance backlog at Singleton High was $329,241. It is now $1.12 million,” he said. 

Muswellbrook high is the worst affected school in Upper Hunter and has seen its maintenance backlog nearly quadruple in just one year, to $1.2 million.  

“The maintenance backlog problem is clear evidence that the Berejiklian Government is focused on vanity projects in Sydney liked the stadiums and scandal plagued Sydney Light Rail,” Mr Park said.