Electoral Boundaries Commission releases proposed State electoral boundaries
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Victoria’s Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) today released proposed new State electoral boundaries for public comment.
The EBC has been conducting a redivision of electoral boundaries for both Houses of State Parliament to ensure that each vote in Victorian State elections has an equal value and that each elector is represented equally in the Victorian Parliament.
The proposed boundaries can be downloaded from the EBC website, ebc.vic.gov.au, and are also available for public inspection at municipal council offices across the State.
Any person or organisation may lodge a written suggestion or objection about the proposed boundaries with the EBC. The deadline for suggestions or objections is 29 July 2013.
The EBC will take account of suggestions and objections, and prepare final boundaries by early October 2013. These boundaries will take effect at the 2014 State election.
Dr Paul Thornton-Smith
Secretary, Electoral Boundaries Commission
Why is the redivision taking place now?
The Electoral Boundaries Commission Act 1982 requires a review of electoral boundaries (called a redivision in Victorian law) when there have been two general elections since the last redivision. A redivision begins in the period 24–18 months before the next scheduled State election.
What does a redivision do?
A redivision reviews the boundaries of all 88 Legislative Assembly (Lower House) electoral districts and all 8 Legislative Council (Upper House) electoral regions.
Under Victorian law, electorates should contain approximately equal numbers of electors, not varying by more than 10 per cent from the State average. This ensures, as nearly as practicable, equality of representation for Victorian electors, based on the democratic principle of ‘one vote, one value’.
Over time, electorates may get out of balance because of demographic changes. Redivisions are necessary to restore the electorates to approximate equality.
As at 30 November 2012 (the starting point for this redivision), 34 of the 88 electoral districts are more than 10 per cent outside the average — which is 41,473 for the districts and 456,207 for the regions. District enrolments range from 48.53 per cent above average (Yan Yean) to 20.44 per cent below average (Swan Hill).
Who conducts redivisions?
The Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) conducts redivisions. The EBC is an independent statutory agency made up of the Chief Judge of the County Court (who is the chair), the Electoral Commissioner and the Surveyor-General. The Victorian Electoral Commission provides administrative and technical support to the EBC.
How are the boundaries decided?
The EBC must ensure that enrolments for all the districts and regions are within 10 per cent of the average.
As well, the EBC must give due consideration to:
- area and physical features of terrain;
- means of travel, traffic arteries and communications and any special difficulties in connection therewith;
- community or diversity of interests; and
- the likelihood of changes in the number of electors in the various localities.
The EBC invited submissions from the public, and received 17 submissions – four from political parties (the Liberal Party, Australian Labor Party, Nationals and Greens) and most of the rest from private citizens.
A public hearing on 8 April was another opportunity for public input. The EBC took submissions into account in preparing the proposed boundaries.
What changes are proposed?
Substantial changes in most parts of the State have been required to restore the electorates to approximate equality. Only two districts have been left unchanged — Gippsland East and South-West Coast. The EBC proposes to replace 12 existing districts with 12 new ones, as follows:
|Replaced existing districts||Proposed new districts|
In most cases, districts have effectively been renamed. For instance, the proposed Ovens Valley district incorporates most of the existing Murray Valley district. However, the EBC proposes to abolish two districts (Doncaster and Rodney) that do not correspond with proposed new districts, while creating two completely new districts (Sunbury and Werribee).
Under the proposed boundaries, 1,101,703 electors (30.19 per cent of the total) would be transferred to different districts.
There are fewer proposed changes to the electoral regions. Each region must be made up of 11 contiguous electoral districts. The EBC proposes to keep the same regions as at present, covering much the same areas, and mostly composed of the same districts. Under the proposed boundaries, 391,025 electors (10.71 per cent of the total) would be transferred to different regions.
What happens now?
The EBC welcomes public feedback on the proposed boundaries. Maps of each electorate (region and district) can be downloaded in pdf format. An interactive map application based on Google Maps allows a closer look at boundaries in specific areas as well as a comparison of existing and proposed boundaries. A spatial data file (Map Info) of the boundaries can be downloaded, as well as a KML version that can be viewed on Google Earth.
Any person or organisation may lodge a written suggestion or objection about the proposed boundaries with the EBC, up to close of business on Monday, 29 July 2013. Written suggestions and objections become public documents available for inspection on the EBC website.
The EBC may also hold one or more public hearings in August 2013.
After taking account of public feedback, the EBC will release final boundaries in early October 2013. These boundaries will come into effect at the State election on 29 November 2014.