The Nationals candidate in the Upper Hunter has made it clear he is willing to side with farmers over large energy companies on issues such as land use and gas exploration.
In Quirindi, David Layzell said he would fight for the agriculture industry, despite much of the discussion around the by-election being dominated by coal mining.
NSW Nationals leader and deputy premier John Barilaro said last week that coal mining would "forever" be part of the local landscape, but Mr Layzell has taken a more reserved stance. He believes it will be around for "30 to 50 years".
He said the market will determine how long coal mining is viable for, but it's important to ensure it exists in unison with agriculture.
"We let mining exist, and we only let mining exist where it can do so, and as a society we are smart enough to manage that balance, that land use conflict - we can manage it," he said.
"We can make sure that some of our prime agricultural land, like the Liverpool Plains, are protected so that farming land remains for generations to come because agriculture is our future."
Something else Mr Layzell is hoping to protect "black soil country" from, is 'zombie PELs', which are petroleum exploration licences that have lain dormant for years and are now being reactivated following the approval of Santos' Narrabri Gas Project.
Mr Barilaro has hinted many of the PELs will be extinguished by the government later this year, but his party's Upper Hunter hopeful has said he will fight for all of them to be snuffed out.
Mr Layzell said he would do all he could to represent the Liverpool Plains community, despite the fact it will not be in the electorate after boundaries are changed for the 2023 state election.
"It will be in the electorate for the next two years and I have a lot of friends up this way and I love this part of the country, so I will be spending a lot of time up here in the next two years," he said.
Liverpool Plains Shire mayor Doug Hawkins said he will be meeting with the Nationals candidate to discuss what issues are facing the community, but revealed he was already in talks with Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson ahead of the change.
Mr Layzell is the first by-election candidate to visit Quirindi as part of his campaign, although he is unlikely to be the last.
Labor's Jeff Drayton will also be looking to reassure farmers in the north of the electorate they have not been forgotten, after his party refused to support a moratorium on new coal mines and has focused heavily on the energy industry.
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