Part III: The final boundaries - The regions
- A number of submissions relating to the redivision of the Legislative Council boundaries focussed on the appropriate region for Yan Yean district. With the abolition of Rodney district, the EBC had to find an additional district for Northern Victoria region (to make up the 11 required districts for a region), and proposed that Yan Yean district be transferred from Northern Metropolitan region to Northern Victoria.
- The National Party strongly opposed the change, contending that Yan Yean district is an increasingly metropolitan peri-urban seat, and that its inclusion in Northern Victoria region would dilute the representation of country communities. The Liberal Party pointed to the EBC’s guiding principle in the 2005 Legislative Council redivision of separating urban and rural areas, and argued that Yan Yean district should stay in Northern Metropolitan region so that it and Northern Victoria region maintained their established characters. A round of district exchanges was then required so that each region had 11 districts. The Liberal Party suggested that Ripon district be transferred from Western Victoria to Northern Victoria, Werribee district from Western Metropolitan to Western Victoria, and Yuroke district from Northern Metropolitan to Western Metropolitan.
- Ripon district, which is located partly in north-western Victoria, could reasonably fit in Northern Victoria region. Yuroke district is now centred on the Hume Highway, and fits better in Northern Metropolitan region than in Western Metropolitan. The key question is whether Werribee district or Yan Yean district is more appropriately located in a non-metropolitan region.
- The EBC acknowledges the rapid suburban growth in Yan Yean district. The district contains two of Melbourne’s main growth belts - the Plenty corridor and the Wallan-Beveridge area. However, the district still contains large rural areas, and semi-rural green wedge communities such as Yarrambat, Cottles Bridge, Nutfield and Humevale. Some 22 per cent of the district’s electors are enrolled in such country localities.
- Werribee district also contains large open areas, comprising the bulk of the geographic area of the district. However, more than 95 per cent of the district’s electors live in the explosively growing suburbs around Werribee.
- The EBC would prefer to place both districts in a metropolitan region, but the legislative requirements for regions preclude this. The EBC considers that Yan Yean district is less metropolitan in nature than Werribee, and so should be placed in the Northern Victoria region.
- Mr Darren McSweeney suggested a reconfiguration of the regions, with two country regions and six metropolitan ones. Although he raised some reasonable arguments, the EBC believes that the current structure of five metropolitan and three country regions is stronger at this time.
- Mr McSweeney also suggested that Scoresby district should be in Eastern Metropolitan region and Mount Waverley district in South-Eastern Metropolitan. While Scoresby district has close links with the neighbouring Ferntree Gully district, the EBC considers that regions resulting from these changes would have contorted shapes and would not reflect their names.
- The EBC concludes that the proposed boundaries of the regions should not change.