Part III: The final boundaries - Flemington/Parkville
- The Flemington Association and six residents of Flemington objected to the proposed transfer of Flemington and Travancore from Melbourne district to Essendon. They argued that Flemington’s community of interest is with the neighbouring inner suburbs of Kensington and North Melbourne with which it shares a wide range of community facilities, contrary to the statement in the EBC’s Proposed Boundaries Report (paragraph 127) that Flemington has stronger associations to the north-west. They described Flemington as a typical inner suburb – multicultural, socially diverse, reliant on public transport and with small house blocks – very different from the middle band suburbs around Essendon. They were concerned that the proposed change to the State district boundary would compound the mistake made in the 1990s when Flemington was transferred from the City of Melbourne to the City of Moonee Valley, and that on both levels of government Flemington would be a misunderstood and neglected minority.
- The EBC acknowledges the strength of the arguments about the social character of Flemington. Nevertheless, there is perhaps not as sharp a distinction between Flemington and the suburbs to the north as the residents who lodged submissions maintain. Observation suggests that, rather than a clear dividing line, there is a gradual change of housing type between Flemington and Ascot Vale. Travancore, with its larger houses and its location on Mount Alexander Road, would appear to have more in common with the suburbs to the north-west than with the inner suburbs. The concern that the member for Essendon might overlook Flemington seems overstated, as it is most unlikely that an elected member would purposefully neglect an area comprising 12 per cent of the constituents. At the municipal level, Mr David Langsam at the 13 August public hearing appreciated the way in which all Moonee Valley councillors came to support a campaign by Flemington residents.
- The critical problem in this area is that of numbers. Melbourne district is close to breaching the 10 per cent threshold and is growing rapidly. The district has to shed electors to ensure it remains within the 10 per cent tolerance. The question is: which area should be cut? Mr Langsam suggested dividing Melbourne district in two, but this is not practicable. The Australian Greens and Dr Mulcair proposed transferring more of Parkville from Melbourne to Brunswick, but the EBC is not convinced that the area has stronger associations to the north than towards the city, and in any case, the transfer of a few hundred electors would be insufficient. It comes down to Flemington and Travancore, as the only area that has enough electors to solve Melbourne’s numbers problem, while complying to some degree (through its position outside the City of Melbourne and in the City of Moonee Valley) with community of interest. The EBC considers it cannot agree with the Flemington Association’s request.
- Mr Andrew Gunter suggested that the electoral boundary follow the municipal boundary perfectly by including a small group of properties on the south side of Racecourse Road in Essendon district. The EBC considers the boundary running along the middle of Racecourse Road to be clearer.