Labor and the Greens hit the ground running on day one of the federal election campaign in the Hunter, but don't expect a repeat of the big funding promises that dominated the state vote.
Labor holds all four Hunter seats by big margins and should have little trouble retaining them on May 18.
Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said she had been preparing for the election for several years but started the official campaign period by assembling on the banks of Throsby Creek on Thursday with Shadow Environment Minister Tony Burke and state Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp to spruik the party's $200 million urban waterways rejuvenation strategy.
Mr Burke said Novocastrians could back Throsby Creek's inclusion in the strategy by registering their support on his website.
The shadow ministerial visit did not produce a funding promise, a far cry from the billions pledged by Labor and the Coalition in two marginal Hunter electorates before the March 23 state poll, but Mr Burke said he could be back in Newcastle soon if Throsby Creek was one of the rivers chosen to share in the booty.
Another thing absent from Thursday's announcement was the Throsby Creek Catchment Agencies Plan, a document flowing out of the Throsby Creek Government Agencies Committee which Mr Crakanthorp chairs. He said a community consultation period had ended and the plan was being finalised.
While Labor was busy talking up the possibility of money for Throsby Creek, Greens senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi and Newcastle candidate Dr John Mackenzie were outside the university's NeW Space building launching the party's policy for free higher education.
The policy includes a return to free university and TAFE study, boosting university funding by 10 per cent per student, tying student loan repayment thresholds to the median wage and raising student support payments.
Ms Claydon has no operating coalmines in her electorate but acknowledged that federal energy policy would be a crucial issue for many voters across the region and a key point of difference between the two major parties.
The Greens want Australia to shift to 100 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030, while Labor has committed to a 50 per cent transition by that date.
"We have a lot of skin in the game when it comes to this transitioning from a high-carbon economy to a low-carbon economy," Ms Claydon said, referring to her party's transition plan to help retrain and find jobs for power-station workers.
"We have learnt important lessons from when BHP closed down. There was a generation then that never worked another day in their life. We cannot repeat that."
Labor's Pat Conroy holds the seat of Shortland with a margin of 9.9 per cent, Meryl Swanson has a margin of 10.7 per cent in Paterson, Joel Fitzgibbon enjoys a 12.5 per cent cushion in Hunter, and Ms Claydon has a 13.8 per cent margin in Newcastle.
The Nationals have not named anyone to run in Hunter, but One Nation have nominated mine worker, farmer and tattoo enthusiast Stuart Bonds.