We often say and we often hear other people say that our politicians never listen to us. Well now is your chance to let our state politicians and really politicians across all levels of government know what you think.

We often say and we often hear other people say that our politicians never listen to us.

Well now is your chance to let our state politicians, and really politicians across all levels of government, know what you think.

If you want to break the cycle of being a forgotten or taken for granted electorate then now is your best chance to get that message across.

You can take the time to talk to the politicians and candidates when you go to vote as they have been at pre-polling since they opened and no doubt they will be out and about on Saturday.

And then you can send a message through the ballot box because this by-election will not change the government. It may put it into minority government but at this stage it will remain on the government benches and in charge of the treasury.

There are some serious issues facing the Upper Hunter, not least what will drive our economic future, when coal mines and coal fired energy sources reach their closure date or become unviable due to changes in technology and world demand for thermal coal.

To ignore this fact is to ignore the people who live and work in the electorate. We have to look to our future and we have to support the other industries that already exist such as agriculture and tourism. Wine and tourism in the region generates $630 million/year and employs 20,000 people.

According to Phillip O'Neill, professor of economic geography at Western Sydney University, of the state's 93 electorates, the Upper Hunter electorate boasts the fifth largest agricultural workforce - with 3583 locals working in the sector at the last census. Mining in the electorate employed more locals, with 5080, but it's not a lot more.

Being economically diverse offers us our best chance to survive the changes now underway in the resources sector.

At the same time we need significant government support to assist mine workers and businesses closely linked to the industry to transition, yes that word has to be stated, to a new economy working in renewables, manufacturing, agricultural processing, health, education and training.

To achieve this we need investment in high quality training facilities in our region.

And we need clean air for our health - this is not an issue to argue about it is a fact that we endure poor quality air. Our health matter so real action is required.