14 June 2024

Big changes for southern NSW in electoral redistribution proposal

| James Day
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The 2022 federal election will be held Saturday 21 May.

The Division of Cook will be co-named for both Captain James Cook (1728-1779) and former Prime Minister Joseph Cook (1860-1947). Photo: AEC Images.

Following a review of NSW’s electoral divisions, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has proposed abolishing the seat of North Sydney, and moving the Snowy Valleys to Riverina and Goulburn to Eden-Monaro.

Earlier this month, the AEC handed down its proposals for Victoria and WA, respectively eliminating the seat of Higgins for the new seat of Bullwinkel.

The electoral redistribution proposals are part of the AEC’s efforts to ensure each state and territory gains representation in the Lower House in proportion to their population and that each division has a similar number of electors (voters).

Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers said the Redistribution Committee he chairs was faced with a situation where a NSW division had to be abolished. As a result, 40 of the existing 47 divisions were outside the requirements of the Electoral Act.

While the electors of North Sydney will be shared between the surrounding divisions of Bennelong, Bradfield and Warringah, the impact of its extinction has led to significant changes in the state’s south.

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In the Riverina’s west, many suggestions recommended the Parkes and Forbes Shire Councils be transferred into the proposed Division of Parkes. This move means the seat of Riverina will lose 20,721 voters while keeping the local government areas (LGAs) of Cowra and Grenfell.

In the east, Riverina is set to gain 8943 voters from Hume by taking Boorowa and the Upper Lachlan region. It will also take the Yass Valley and Snowy Valleys councils from the Division of Eden-Monaro, representing a projected 23,480 voters.

Proposed redistribution of Riverina Electoral Division.

The Division of Riverina is set to gain 8943 voters from Hume. Image: AEC.

The committee said these decisions will see Riverina keep around 75 per cent of its current electors but also result in a significant decrease in the geographic area of the Eden-Monaro.

The Division of Hume will concede 23,930 voters from the Goulburn Mulwaree Council to Eden-Monaro. Further south, the Division of Gilmore will give up 2302 voters in the Turlinjah and Tuross Head pocket.

Proposed redistribution of Eden-Monaro Electoral Division.

The Eden-Monaro Division will gain more voters under the proposal. Image: AEC.

Up north, the seat of Whitlam is set to expand its western boundaries from Berrima to Wombeyan Caves, taking another 10,512 voters from Hume.

Despite the twofold increase in its geographic area from 1331 to 2996 square kilometres, 90.32 per cent of Whitlam’s current voters will remain in the proposed seat.

Proposed redistribution of Whitlam Electoral Division.

The proposed changes will also unite the suburbs north of Lake Illawarra in the Division of Cunningham, removing 12,506 voters from what is currently Whitlam. Image: AEC.

The Redistribution Committee noted that, despite the significant change in the geography of its proposal, more than 75 per cent of electors currently in the Division of Hume would remain there.

The AEC will accept written objections in favour or against any aspect of the proposals for NSW by 12 July.

Original Article published by James Day on PS News.

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