Under the Constitution Act 1975 (s. 27), Victoria is divided into eight regions for the Legislative Council. Each region must comprise 11 contiguous Legislative Assembly electoral districts. In 2005, the EBC conducted a redivision of Legislative Council electoral boundaries, creating five regions covering metropolitan Melbourne, and three covering regional Victoria. The regions are named according to compass directions and to whether they are predominantly metropolitan or regional.
It is noteworthy that all submissions accepted this framework for the Upper House boundaries and the regions covering much the same areas as at present. The EBC considered that the current regions fit the broad communities across Victoria, and proposed a minimal change approach for the redivision.
In the Northern Victoria region, the abolition of the Rodney and Benalla districts was balanced by the creation of Eildon and Sunbury. The EBC proposed to include Yan Yean district in Northern Victoria instead of Sunbury, because Yan Yean is more rural than the proposed Sunbury district and so better fitted the predominant nature of the Northern Victoria region.
The EBC proposed that the Western Victoria region include the same 11 districts as at present (with Ballarat and Buninyong replacing Ballarat West and Ballarat East). With Lara district losing part of Werribee, the proposed region was more regional in nature than currently.
The Eastern Victoria region also contained the same 11 districts as at present. The north-western corner of the region appeared to protrude to the north. This was the result of the Eildon district (in Northern Victoria region) taking in more of the Upper Yarra Valley than under the current boundaries. Inclusion of the Eildon district in Eastern Victoria was not adopted, because it would change the nature of a region based on Gippsland and the country to the east of Melbourne.
The EBC proposed an exchange of two districts for South-Eastern Metropolitan region. Under the proposed boundaries, Mount Waverley district was transferred to Eastern Metropolitan region, and Scoresby district was switched from that region to South-Eastern Metropolitan. Retention of the current districts would have created an awkwardly shaped region, while the proposed swap better fitted the names of both regions.
In the Eastern Metropolitan region, the new Croydon and Ringwood districts replaced the abolished Kilsyth and Mitcham. The abolition of Doncaster district meant that another district had to be added to the region. The EBC proposed to take Ivanhoe district from the Northern Metropolitan region. This went against the EBC’s general approach of using the Yarra River as a boundary, but was unavoidable. In the 2005 redivision, the EBC weighed up whether Eltham or Ivanhoe should be included in Eastern Metropolitan, and narrowly decided for Eltham. Both districts are socially similar to districts on the other side of the river, and both could now be included in Eastern Metropolitan region.
The EBC proposed that Southern Metropolitan region be composed of the same districts as at present. The EBC considered whether Kew district, which has strong connections to the east, should be allocated to Eastern Metropolitan, but concluded that Kew has at least equally strong links with Hawthorn district to its south, and should remain in Southern Metropolitan.
Northern Metropolitan region, having lost Yan Yean to Northern Victoria and Ivanhoe to Eastern Metropolitan, needed to pick up two more districts. The EBC proposed that Northern Metropolitan take Pascoe Vale and Yuroke districts from Western Metropolitan. These districts were now solidly centred on the Hume Highway, and fitted better in a northern suburban region.
In the Western Metropolitan region, the new St Albans and Sydenham districts replaced Derrimut and Keilor. The district lost two districts to Northern Metropolitan, but gained the new Sunbury and Werribee districts.
The proposed configuration of the regions reflected communities of interest marginally better than the current boundaries. Enrolments for the proposed regions were all within 10 per cent of the average, and were projected to remain so. Under the proposed boundaries, 391,025 electors – 10.71 per cent of the total – were transferred to different regions.