Part II: The proposed boundaries - Eastern Metropolitan
- Eastern Metropolitan region comprises a group of suburban districts that are nearly all under the State average in enrolment (with five districts more than 10 per cent below average), and are tending to decline further. The EBC’s broad approach was to move districts to the east to gain the necessary numbers of electors. The EBC tended to place districts along major transport routes.
- Bulleen district is one of the State’s smaller districts, with an enrolment 14.91 per cent below average and predicted to fall to 19.59 per cent below. Several submissions, including those by the Liberal Party and ALP, suggested extending the district to the east up the Yarra River to include Warrandyte. The EBC preferred a different approach. The current boundary between Bulleen and Doncaster includes substantial parts of the suburbs of Doncaster and Doncaster East in Bulleen district. The EBC considered that on community of interest grounds, all of Doncaster should be included in Bulleen district, and the segment of Doncaster East should be excluded. The resultant eastern boundary, along Wetherby Road, Victoria Street, King Street and Blackburn Road, was clearer than the present boundary. Enrolment for the proposed district was 6.53 per cent above average and was projected to decline slightly to +4.82 per cent.
- Doncaster's enrolment is 11.9 per cent below average and is predicted to drop fractionally to -12.89 per cent. Most submissions recommended expanding the district, though the Greens and Dr Richardson proposed abolishing it. There were not enough electors between the proposed Bulleen district and the current Warrandyte district to make up a district. The EBC proposed to abolish Doncaster district and to include most of it in Warrandyte district. The current Warrandyte district stretches from the centre of Ringwood and Croydon north-west to the suburb of Warrandyte. The EBC proposed to reallocate Ringwood and Croydon to other districts. The proposed district was based on the City of Manningham. There is a clear continuity between Doncaster East, developed in the 1950s and 1960s, the more recently developed areas east of Blackburn and Springvale Roads, and on to the semi-rural areas of Park Orchards, Warrandyte and Wonga Park. The proposed district included Warranwood, which, as the name suggests, has associations both with Warrandyte and Ringwood. The district also included North Warrandyte. Although this went against the EBC’s usual practice of treating the Yarra River as a boundary, there is a strong link between North Warrandyte and Warrandyte. A submission by Mr Harry Gilham and Ms Sue Dyet argues that North Warrandyte does not have strong connections with communities along the Hurstbridge line:
“Its connections are with the Warrandyte township. The North Warrandyte area and Warrandyte township has developed around the bridge over the Yarra. Much of their social and transport links are to the south towards Manningham Local Government area...”
The proposed district did not include the two patches of the City of Manningham (parts of Nunawading and Donvale) that are south of Eastlink, as Eastlink is a strong boundary. Enrolment for the proposed district was 4.16 per cent above average, and was expected to fall to 4.33 per cent below average.
- Kew district is in Southern Metropolitan region, but fits logically in a discussion of Eastern Metropolitan region. The district’s enrolment is 10.78 per cent below average, and is tending to decline, to an expected -16.24 per cent by 2018. With the Yarra River on its northern and western sides, and a strong boundary with Hawthorn to the south, effectively the only direction in which the district could expand was to the east. Nearly all submissions made this proposal to varying degrees. The district already includes the part of Balwyn North west of Balwyn Road. The EBC (like Dr Richardson and Dr Mulcair), proposed that Kew district take the rest of Balwyn North from Box Hill district. The proposed district satisfied communities of interest. Its enrolment was 5.16 per cent above average, and was projected to fall to -2.33 per cent by 2018.
- The next district to the east, Box Hill, is presently 6.11 per cent below average and is predicted to decline to -10.16 per cent. Of the submissions, the Liberal Party had a minimal change approach; the Greens, Mr Gordon and Mr McSweeney changed the district to a north-south orientation; and the ALP, Dr Richardson and Dr Mulcair moved the district to the east. The EBC proposed an eastern shift, shedding Balwyn North to Kew and parts of Surrey Hills and Canterbury south of Canterbury Road to Burwood and Hawthorn, and gaining Blackburn, most of Blackburn North and parts of Nunawading and Forest Hill from Mitcham district. The proposed district was built around the main eastern Whitehorse Road-Lilydale railway line corridor, and was mostly made up of the City of Whitehorse. On the eastern boundary, the EBC mostly favoured clear major roads (Surrey Road, Springfield Road, Whitehorse Road and Springvale Road) rather than locality boundaries, which tend to be convoluted and indistinct in this area. The proposed district’s enrolment was 3.24 per cent above average, and was predicted to decline very slightly by 2018.
- Mitcham, the next district to the east, is currently 10.83 per cent below average and is expected to fall to 15.37 per cent below. The Liberal Party submission made minimal changes, but its proposed district was predicted to be 11.81 per cent below average by 2018. The ALP submission abolished the district, with the area being taken up by Box Hill and Forest Hill districts. The Greens and Dr Richardson supported an eastward movement. The EBC also considers that the district should expand along the eastern corridor, having lost a substantial area in the west to Box Hill district and parts of Forest Hill and Vermont to Forest Hill district. The EBC proposed that the district take Ringwood East, most of Ringwood and Ringwood North and part of Croydon South from Warrandyte, Kilsyth and Bayswater districts. In the north, the boundary was advanced to Eastlink, taking small parts of Nunawading and Donvale from Doncaster district. These were major changes. The district still included Mitcham, but Ringwood was its main centre and one of Melbourne’s major activity centres, and the EBC proposed to rename the district Ringwood. A Ringwood district existed from 1967 to 1992. The proposed district’s enrolment was 4.95 per cent below average, and it was projected to decline slightly to 6.55 per cent below by 2018.
- Kilsyth district’s enrolment is on average at -0.11 per cent, and is projected to fall to -5.4 per cent. Flow-on effects from nearby districts meant that most submissions suggested substantial changes for Kilsyth. The EBC’s previous decisions meant that the district lost part of Ringwood East to Ringwood district and parts of Montrose, Mooroolbark and Kilsyth to Monbulk district. The EBC proposed to create a new Croydon district, composed almost equally of electors from Kilsyth and Warrandyte. The new district was centred on Croydon, and the eastern transport corridor formed its spine. The district’s enrolment was 4.88 per cent below average, and was projected to decline to -8.64 per cent by 2018.
- Bayswater is another district where enrolment is beneath the 10 per cent tolerance, as it is currently 11.42 per cent below average and is projected to drop to -15.94 per cent. Most submissions suggested a general enlargement of the district. The EBC proposed a movement to the east, with the district losing the large area between Burwood Highway and Boronia Road to Ferntree Gully district, most of Ringwood to the new Ringwood district, and a fragment of Vermont east of the Whitehorse municipal boundary to Forest Hill district. The EBC focussed on trying to unite Boronia, whose centre is currently divided three ways between Bayswater, Monbulk and Ferntree Gully. Under the proposed boundaries, all but a fraction of Boronia west of Scoresby Road was included in the district. Bayswater and Boronia are closely associated along the Ferntree Gully rail line, and to combine them in one district reflects communities of interest. The proposed district also took Bayswater North from Kilsyth district, and advanced in the east to the edge of the Dandenongs, incorporating parts of The Basin and Kilsyth South. The proposed district’s enrolment was 3.46 per cent below average and was predicted to decline to -6.74 per cent.
- Forest Hill has 13.66 per cent fewer electors than the State average, and its enrolment is expected to decline to 15.93 per cent below average. Submissions have suggested a variety of models. The EBC opted for a straightforward change, with the district expanding in the north-east to take parts of Forest Hill and Vermont from Mitcham district, and the piece of Vermont east of the Whitehorse municipal boundary from Bayswater district. The north-eastern boundary followed locality boundaries, and, while not strongly defined, it meant that nearly all of the suburb of Forest Hill and all of Vermont were included in the district. The proposed district’s enrolment was very close to the average at -0.98 per cent, and was predicted to fall to -4.32 per cent.
- Ferntree Gully and Scoresby are associated districts at the foot of the Dandenongs. Unusually for the Eastern Metropolitan region, Ferntree Gully’s enrolment is above average at +7.82 per cent (predicted to decline to +4.08 per cent), while Scoresby’s enrolment is under the average at -6.63 per cent (and is predicted to decline slightly to -8.39 per cent). Both districts have a north-south orientation, with Scoresby crossing Dandenong Creek and Ferntree Gully abutting the Ranges. The Liberal and ALP submissions (plus those by Dr Richardson and Dr Mulcair) sought to maintain this orientation, though with differing boundaries. The Greens, however, suggested an east-west orientation of Ferntree Gully and Rowville districts.
- An undesirable feature of the current Scoresby district is that it straddles Dandenong Creek, combining parts of Glen Waverley and Wheelers Hill with suburbs east of the creek. Dandenong Creek is an excellent boundary, with the creek itself and a wide belt of parklands marking a clear divide between communities. The proposed Mulgrave and Mount Waverley districts absorbed the areas west of the creek, making the creek the western boundary of Scoresby. The current boundary between Scoresby and Ferntree Gully cuts through the middle of Rowville, one of the main suburbs in the area.
- The EBC considered that an east-west orientation would better fit communities of interest and transport routes. Its proposed Ferntree Gully district included the bulk of the suburb of Ferntree Gully, and extended west along the Burwood Highway to Dandenong Creek. The district covered all of the suburb of Wantirna South and the majority of Wantirna and Knoxfield. The district’s boundaries were mostly strong, using main roads, watercourses and locality boundaries. The proposed Ferntree Gully district’s enrolment was 2.59 per cent under the average, and was expected to drop to -6.51 per cent.
- The proposed Scoresby district comprised the southern parts of the existing Scoresby and Ferntree Gully, plus a small part of Narre Warren North (Lysterfield South) and a fragment of Monbulk. The district covered the area between Dandenong Creek and the ranges, and was almost entirely composed of the southern part of the City of Knox. It had strong east-west transport routes along Wellington Road and Ferntree Gully Road. The proposed district’s enrolment was low at 7.55 per cent under the average, but was expected to stay within the 10 per cent tolerance, declining to -8.99 per cent.