Part I: Introduction - The setting

The setting

  1. Enrolments as at 30 November 2012 formed the basis for the redivision. The average, or ‘quota’ for the State is derived by dividing the total number of electors enrolled on the last day of the month preceding the date of the Government Gazette notice of the redivision by the number of electoral districts and regions10. For the current redivision, the quota for electoral districts was 41,473 (with an upper 10 per cent variation of 45,621 and a lower limit of 37,326), and the quota for electoral regions was 456,207 (with an allowable variation between 410,586 and 501,828).
  2. As at 30 November 2012, 34 of the 88 electoral districts were outside the 10 per cent margin, with 19 districts below the lower threshold and 15 districts above the upper threshold. Nine districts were more than 20 per cent outside the average, with all but one of them being more than 20 per cent above the average11. Previous redivisions have been initiated when more than about a quarter of the districts were outside the 10 per cent tolerance. Clearly, substantial changes were required to bring all the districts back to approximate equality.
  3. The geographic distribution of enrolments showed clear patterns12 (see maps). In inner Melbourne, Albert Park district was 14.74 per cent above average, and Melbourne district was close to passing the threshold at +9.59 per cent. Surrounding this area was a wide zone of middle suburbs that were mostly below average, with 16 districts in the northern, eastern and south-eastern suburbs falling more than 10 per cent below tolerance. On the western, northern and south-eastern fringes of metropolitan Melbourne was a belt of districts that were far above the average, reaching a peak in Yan Yean at +48.53 per cent. Coastal areas and the large provincial cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo also tended to be above average, though to a lesser extent. Finally, northern and western rural Victoria was an area of smaller enrolments, with Swan Hill district having the lowest enrolment in the State at 20.44 per cent below average.
  4. The EBC engaged the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) to prepare small area population projections. The Spatial Analysis and Research Branch of the Department used the cohort component demographic model, information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and housing and development data to produce estimates of the 18+ population as at 30 June 2014 and 30 June 2018 down to SA1 level 13. The projection to mid-2018, shortly before the November 2018 State election, covers the period which the EBC has to consider, as the Act will require the next redivision to take place before the following election. There were some comments regarding the DPCD’s projections. The Greens argued that the projections under-estimated the scale of development in the inner suburbs, and gave examples of large current developments. The Liberals stated that the projections did not sufficiently recognise future infill developments in the middle suburbs, as well as Armstrong Creek in Geelong and Fisherman’s Bend in Albert Park district. The EBC took account of these comments. The EBC acknowledges that there are uncertainties in all population projections, as the rate of immigration may change, or property developments may take longer than expected to get underway. However, the EBC is confident that the DPCD projections incorporate the latest development data, and provide a good general guide to population shifts.
  5. The DPCD projections indicated that the trends evident in the November 2012 enrolment figures are set to continue, with explosive growth on the metropolitan fringes, continuing development in inner Melbourne, and relative decline in middle Melbourne and outer country areas. On the current boundaries, 51 districts are projected to be outside the 10 per cent tolerance by mid-2018.





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10

See Electoral Boundaries Commission Act 1982 s. 5(5).

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11

No regions were more than 10 per cent outside the average.

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12

Refer to the maps after paragraph 34.

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13

SA1s are the smallest available statistical area, with 13,339 SA1s covering the State.

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