Kirsty O'Connell asks a simple question - if the Upper Hunter generates more than a billion dollars in coal royalties each year why did it fall to the community to raise the funds to upgrade Muswellbrook Hospital's oncology unit?
"My mother in law volunteered and raised that money," Ms O'Connell who is standing as an independent candidate in the May 22 byelection, said.
"We should not have to leave it to community volunteers to do things that the state should be doing for us."
The extraordinary wealth generated for the state in the Upper Hunter compared to what returns to the region is a recurring theme in the byelection campaign.
Ms O'Connell described the $25 million Royalties for Rejuvenation fund, announced by Deputy Premier John Barilaro this week, as a "positive start" to redressing the balance.
The annual fund is designed to drive job creation and provide community support in coal mining communities as they make the transition to a clean energy economy over coming decades.
"It's about 2.5 per cent of what we actually generate for the state and I think we deserve a much better deal than that," Ms O'Connell, who was born and raised in Muswellbrook, said.
Like others she has pointed out that, on the same day as the government announced the fund, it paid mining giant Shenhua $100 million to withdraw from its Watermark coal mine project on the fertile Liverpool Plains.
"If the government had listened to the Liverpool Plains community in the first place they wouldn't have had to spend taxpayers money buying it back," Ms O'Connell, a fifth-generation farmer said.
"They could have used that money to help transition in our region."
With 14 candidates running in the byelection as of Thursday morning, policy differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult.
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A mother of two, Ms O'Connell said both major parties had failed to present a clear vision for the Upper Hunter that transcended party politics.
"I think they have delivered some very similar policies and unfortunately what we have heard from both of them is a very clear focus on coal and not much else," she said.
"We haven't really heard what they are going to do for other industries, we haven't heard about investing in jobs in other industries or the future or getting a fairer share for our local community."
Ms O'Connell is yet to begin preference negotiations with other candidates.
"I don't think there could be anything more powerful than putting an independent into the state parliament who can hold the balance of power until the next state election," she said.
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