RESIDENTS and a local politician have expressed their disappointment regarding a proposal to abolish the Victorian Electorate of Rodney.
The Electoral Boundaries Commission released its proposed State electoral boundaries review last Thursday, recommending removing the Rodney electorate and realigning neighbouring electoral boundaries.
The review found the Rodney and Swan Hill electorates had significantly less voters registered in these areas compared with the State quota of 41,473 people.
The Swan Hill electorate had 20.44 per cent less voters than the required quota, with the Rodney electorate also having a low total.
To ensure there was equal representation in the region, the review recommends abolishing the Rodney electorate, which covers Gunbower and Echuca.
These towns would be represented in a realigned electorate of Swan Hill, which covers the area between Nyah West, Ultima, Boort, Pyramid Hill, Rochester and Kyabram.
Member for Rodney, Paul Weller described the review as a backwards step for the people of rural and regional Victoria.
“With regards to the first draft of the changes to Victoria’s electoral boundaries, the crucial issue is the loss of representation for rural and regional Victoria,” he said.
Mr Weller said over time, electorates may get out of balance because of demographic changes and redivision is necessary to restore the balance.
“This is all very well, however I believe that the focus should be on the proper representation of rural and regional people and that’s what I’ll be fighting for,” he said.
“The seat of Rodney is one of the original electorates centred on one of the fastest growing cities in the northern region and it seems to make little sense to have it eliminated.
“I am very disappointed that important rural seats have been compromised.”
Neighbouring Swan Hill is held by his Nationals colleague, Peter Walsh, who is deputy leader and Minister for Agriculture and Food Security and Minister for Water.
Cohuna Progress Association president, Denise Morrison said the proposed changes would be “devastating” for the district.
“Again we feel like we are being swallowed up by bigger towns and people who live in them who have no idea of how our community operates and what our needs are,” she said.
“Paul Weller has been a great advocate for Cohuna and Leitchville; he understands our area and has many contacts that he can call upon if he feels an issue needs addressing.
“The boundary change is another way country communities are becoming disenfranchised so they have no power to make their own decisions. It will be very disappointing if this goes through.”
Written submissions will be accepted by the commission until July 29, with public hearings planned for August. Information regarding submitting a response is available atwww.ebc.vic.gov.au
Final boundaries will be published in October, and will be used for the first time during next year’s State election.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.