State Labor leader Michael Daley has pledged to switch off coal-fired power stations if he is elected on March 23.

It is a dramatic about-face for the party that traditionally supported coal miners and their jobs, with tens of thousands of jobs at risk.

In the Hunter Valley alone, more than 20,000 people work in mining and mine-related jobs, while another 4000 businesses rely on the mining industry to survive.

Closing down coal mines would have a devastating impact not just on the entire Hunter region, but also everybody who works in the supply chain, from train drivers to port workers, as well as the petrol stations and corner shops those workers frequent.

Powerful unions such as the CFMMEU and industry groups like the Minerals Council of NSW have already voiced their concerns about Labor’s hard wing to the left on coal, but it remains to be seen if voters will follow suit in rejecting the war on coal.