The campaign to win the hearts and minds (or simply the votes) of the people of Macquarie has intensified following Prime Minister Scott Morrison's announcement of the date for the 2019 federal election.
Mr Morrison announced May 18 as the day voters would go to the polls last Thursday, April 11, with Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove then dissolving the 45th Parliament of Australia.
Mr Morrison visited Macquarie the same night, popping into Windsor RSL with local Liberal candidate Sarah Richards to call the bingo.
The visit was the third to Macquarie by the Prime Minister since his first appearance on Australia Day, signalling the importance of the seat to both major parties.
Indeed, the very day Mr Morrison travelled to South Windsor to call the bingo, Labor wheeled out a big gun of its own in the form of left wing heavyweight, Anthony Albanese, for a politics in the pub event at North Richmond.
Incumbent MP Susan Templeman holds Macquarie for Labor by 2.2 per cent following her 2016 victory against the Liberals' Louise Markus.
Ms Templeman told the Gazette she did not take the community for granted, and hoped "the people of the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains will continue to support me to be their representative in Parliament.
"I have never taken this community for granted, and have been fighting for them since I first put my hand up as a candidate in 2009," she said.
"Since being elected in 2016, we have had more than 15 visits to Macquarie by members of Labor's Shadow Cabinet, starting with Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, shortly after the 2016 election and most recently, Shadow Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, who took questions from of an audience of more than 100 people at a politics in the pub event in North Richmond.
"I look forward to the next few weeks of discussing how a Shorten Labor Government will reduce out of pockets for cancer sufferers, reduce waiting lists for elective surgery, and boost funding to public schools in the electorate by $16.5 million. Not work only for the top end of town.
"A Shorten Labor Government will provide $200 million for a third crossing of the Hawkesbury and we will ensure there is proper and thorough consultation."
Liberal candidate Sarah Richards also predicted the battle for Macquarie would be hard-fought.
"It's going to be a very close race in Macquarie and there is a lot at stake for our electorate - it's a choice between the Labor Party who want to impose $387 billion in higher taxes or a Morrison Government that is fixing the budget, delivering tax relief and building a stronger economy," she told the Gazette.
"Right here, more than 64,000 taxpayers in Macquarie will benefit from tax relief in our government's latest budget. More than 17,000 small and medium businesses will also get tax relief. But not under Labor. They can't manage money so they're coming after yours.
"That's why I'm fighting to get the Liberals and Nationals Government re-elected to protect our economy and our future. With a stronger economy we will deliver the essential services to the electorate of Macquarie, from roads to hospitals and schools. We will deliver the third Hawkesbury River crossing, which couldn't be done without a stronger economy.
"That's why I'm not resting until I've had the opportunity to meet as many people as possible in our community. The accident set me back for a moment or two, but it hasn't stopped me from getting back out on the road.
"Macquarie is one of the best places to live and the Morrison Government has a plan to secure our future."