Part II: The proposed boundaries - Northern Metropolitan
- The Northern Metropolitan region extends from central Melbourne to the forests of the Great Divide. Inner Melbourne is undergoing tower block development; the outer fringes are growing explosively; and in between is a belt of suburbs that are relatively shrinking.
- High-rise residential development is proliferating in and around Melbourne’s Central Activities District. Enrolment is rising at the same time, though more slowly than the population because of the relatively low enrolment rate in Melbourne district. Enrolment is 9.59 per cent above the average, and is projected to rise to +21.03 per cent by 2018. The task in the redivision is to deal with this growth, by transferring electors in appropriate areas to neighbouring districts. The Liberal Party’s submission proposed allocating areas in the east of the district to Richmond and Brunswick, while other submissions chose areas in the north-west. The Greens submission contracted the district too far, reducing current enrolment for their proposed district to 11.82 per cent below the average. The projected enrolments for the Liberal and ALP submissions went the other way, growing beyond the 10 per cent threshold.
- The EBC proposed transferring the part of the City of Moonee Valley currently in Melbourne district to Essendon district. These suburbs – Travancore and Flemington – could be considered as having stronger associations to the north-west than with Melbourne. In addition, adapting an idea of Dr Richardson, the EBC proposed transferring the part of Parkville north-west of the Royal Park rail line to Brunswick district. This small area is somewhat isolated from the rest of the district, and is much closer to Brunswick. The proposed district’s enrolment was 4.77 per cent below the average. Its projected enrolment was within the 10 per cent tolerance, rising to +9.82 per cent.
- Richmond district’s enrolment is 2.31 per cent above the State average. The district is undergoing inner city development, and its enrolment is projected to rise to +5.87 per cent. The Greens’ submission stated that the DPCD’s projections underestimated the scale of growth in the district, and gave examples of current large-scale developments. Hemmed in by Melbourne district and the Yarra River, Richmond district has little room to change. Most submissions either changed the northern boundary, or made no changes at all. The EBC proposed a minimal change, realigning the northern boundary along Park Street (which is clearer than the current boundary) and swapping parts of Fitzroy North with Brunswick district. The proposed district’s enrolment was 3.3 per cent above average and was projected to rise to +6.61 per cent.
- Brunswick district’s enrolment is 4.48 per cent above the State average, but is projected to decline to the average. Submissions either opted for the status quo (the ALP and Mr McSweeney) or moved the district southwards, into Melbourne and Richmond districts. Given Brunswick’s growth patterns and clear current boundaries, the EBC believed major changes were not warranted. The proposed district gained part of Parkville that is close to Brunswick from Melbourne district, and straightened the boundary with Richmond to run along Park Street. The proposed district’s enrolment was 5.01 per cent above the average, and was projected to decline to +1.25 per cent.
- Pascoe Vale district, immediately to the north of Brunswick, is in Western Metropolitan region but is more logically covered in the context of Northern Metropolitan region. The district’s enrolment is nearly on the average at -0.37 per cent, and is expected to decline slightly to -4.15 per cent. Some submissions shifted the district to the south – part of the flow-on effect from their southward movement of Brunswick. Other submissions expanded the district in different directions. The southern boundary is stable and numbers are not a major concern, allowing the EBC to consider how to strengthen the current boundaries. At the north-western extremity of the district, the suburb of Gowanbrae is cut off by Moonee Ponds Creek and has no connection with the rest of the district. Gowanbrae fitted better in the new Sunbury district. To balance this loss, the northern boundary was shifted to the north, so that all of Hadfield and the bulk of Glenroy were in the district. The proposed district’s enrolment was 6.15 per cent above the average, and was predicted to decline to +2.16 per cent.
- Enrolment for Broadmeadows district is just beneath the 10 per cent threshold at -10.42 per cent, and is projected to slip slightly to -12.73 per cent. Most submissions shifted Broadmeadows to the south – a consequence of the southward movement of districts to the south of Broadmeadows. The Liberal Party proposed that the district move west to include Greenvale and Gladstone Park, while in the ALP submission the district included Gladstone Park and Roxburgh Park. To compensate for the loss of parts of Glenroy and Hadfield to Pascoe Vale district, the EBC proposed that the district take Fawkner from Thomastown district. This change reinforced the character of Broadmeadows as a district built around the Sydney Road corridor, and gave the district a strong eastern boundary along Merri Creek and the Hume municipal boundary. The EBC considered transferring areas from Yuroke to absorb part of Yuroke’s growth, but could not find satisfactory boundaries, and determined to stay with the current clear transmission line boundary on the northern and western sides of the district. The proposed district’s enrolment was 2.95 per cent below the average, and was projected to decline marginally to -3.91 per cent.
- The neighbouring district of Thomastown is currently 11.82 per cent below average, and is projected to decline further to -13.79 per cent. Thomastown abuts the growing Yan Yean district, and it makes sense for Thomastown to take in parts of Yan Yean to try to equalise the districts’ enrolment. Most submissions had this view, though the Liberal and ALP submissions took a different approach of not including growth areas. The EBC proposed to move the district northwards to take in growth areas. In the south-west, Fawkner, which has few links with the rest of the district, was transferred to Broadmeadows. In the south, Preston district took part of Reservoir bordered by Edgars Creek. In the east, the boundary was pushed as far as Darebin Creek, uniting the suburbs of Thomastown and Lalor in the district. In the north, the district expanded into Yan Yean, taking in most of Epping and Wollert. The district was centred around High Street and Epping Road, and included the Epping/Wollert growth corridor. The proposed district’s enrolment was 9.15 per cent below the average, and was projected to rise to +12.24 per cent, slightly above the 10 per cent tolerance.
- Yuroke district is in Western Metropolitan region, but fits more conveniently in a discussion of Northern Metropolitan region. The district is currently 24.1 per cent above average, and is growing explosively to reach an estimated +45.62 per cent by 2018. The district includes established suburbs such as Westmeadows and Gladstone Park, but its growth is taking place in Craigieburn and surrounding areas. All submissions faced the challenge of containing Yuroke’s growth, with varying degrees of success but in all cases with the projected enrolment breaching the 10 per cent threshold. The EBC proposed to transfer Tullamarine, Gladstone Park, Melbourne Airport, Bulla and part of Westmeadows to the new Sunbury district, as these areas have stronger links with Sunbury than with the rest of Yuroke. The district’s new southern boundary along Moonee Ponds Creek was clear, and the district was more focussed on the Craigieburn/Roxburgh Park area and the Hume Highway corridor. The proposed district’s enrolment was 7.83 per cent below average, and was projected to reach +18.01 per cent by 2018.
- Northcote’s enrolment is virtually on average at -0.93 per cent, and is projected to fall to -6.24 per cent. With strong watercourse boundaries on three sides (Merri Creek, the Yarra River and Darebin Creek), effectively the only area where boundaries could change was in the north. Most submissions suggested only minor changes or none at all. The current boundary runs east along Miller Street, north-east along Plenty Road, and then east again along Murray Road. The EBC proposed to swap areas between Northcote and Preston and create a new boundary along Bell Street (as the Greens submission proposed). This boundary was clearer than the existing one, and fitted the numbers. Enrolment for the proposed district was 1.66 per cent above average and was predicted to fall to -3.41 per cent.
- Preston’s enrolment is 5.86 per cent below average, and is relatively dwindling to an estimated -10.37 per cent by 2018. All submissions favoured expanding the district, with the ALP and Liberal Party advocating an extension to the north-east into Kingsbury while other submissions suggested more limited changes. The EBC proposed to realign the boundary with Northcote along Bell Street, and to take part of Reservoir between High Street and Edgars Creek from Thomastown district. The proposed district embraced the great majority of Reservoir; elector number considerations prevented all of Reservoir being included. The proposed district’s boundaries were generally clearer than the current ones. Enrolment was on average at -0.47 per cent, and was projected to fall to 5.07 per cent below average by 2018.
- Ivanhoe’s enrolment is 6.98 per cent below average and is declining to a projected -12.26 per cent by 2018. Like Northcote, Ivanhoe has clear watercourse boundaries on three sides (Darebin Creek and the Yarra and Plenty Rivers) and can readily expand to the north. The Liberal and Greens submissions, however, proposed crossing the Plenty River to include Lower Plenty in the district. Other submissions had variations of expansion to the north. The EBC proposed that Ivanhoe take most of Yallambie and Macleod from Bundoora district. The new boundary followed the Banyule-Darebin municipal boundary for part of its length, and was somewhat clearer than the existing boundary. The proposed district’s enrolment was 5.4 per cent above average, and was predicted to decline to the average (-0.78 per cent).
- The number of electors for Bundoora district is presently 12.72 per cent below the State average, and is predicted to decline marginally to -14.26 per cent. Most submissions favoured a northward movement, though the Liberals proposed that the district move east into Montmorency and the Greens suggested replacing the district with a Greensborough district. The EBC considered that the district needed to expand to the north to compensate for the loss of parts of Macleod and Yallambie to Ivanhoe district in the south. The EBC proposed that the boundary be shifted north from the Metropolitan Ring Road to Childs Road, taking parts of the suburbs of Bundoora and Mill Park from Mill Park district. The splitting of Mill Park was not ideal from a community of interest standpoint, but was required on numbers grounds. The new district did embrace all of the suburb of Bundoora. The proposed district’s enrolment was 5.69 per cent below average, and was not expected to move significantly by 2018.
- Mill Park’s enrolment is practically on average (+0.42 per cent) and is predicted to remain so. Submissions put forward a wide variety of models, including expansion to the east and west (by the Liberal Party), to the north-west (ALP) and south to La Trobe University (Greens). Under the EBC’s proposals, the loss of large areas in the south to Bundoora and to Thomastown required a move to the north. The EBC proposed that the district take South Morang and the parts of Epping and Wollert east of High Street from Yan Yean. The inclusion of parts of the Plenty Road and Epping growth corridors helped to absorb some of Yan Yean’s excess numbers. Apart from the excision of part of the suburb of Mill Park, the proposed district better reflected communities of interest and had improved boundaries. Enrolment for the proposed district was close to the average at -1.24 per cent, and was projected to rise slightly to +2.76 per cent.
- Eltham district is in Eastern Metropolitan region, but fits better in a discussion of Northern Metropolitan. The district is relatively declining in enrolment, from 5.34 per cent below average at present to -9.67 per cent by 2018. Most submissions proposed that the district shift to the east, taking in much of the semi-rural country around Kangaroo Ground and beyond. The Greens favoured a district coterminous with Nillumbik Shire, which fitted both communities of interest and numbers requirements. The submission by Mr Gilham and Ms Dyet and one by Mr Bob Phillips explained the connections among the various communities along Diamond Creek, including Montmorency, Eltham, Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge, and requested a seat that combined these communities.
- The numbers requirements of the Act ruled out a district incorporating all the communities of the Diamond Valley. The EBC proposed that the district expand to the north and east, taking parts of Greensborough, Diamond Creek and the rural fringes of Research from Yan Yean. These areas are all associated with Eltham. The proposed district’s enrolment was 6.71 per cent above average, and was expected to be +1.6 per cent by 2018.
- Mr Gilham and Ms Dyet proposed that the seat be renamed Barak, after the nineteenth century Aboriginal leader, and Mr Phillips suggested one of the artists associated with the area. The EBC recognised the strength of these suggestions, but noted that Victoria has no tradition of naming electorates after people, but uses geographical names. Therefore the EBC proposed to leave the name unchanged.
- Yan Yean is the classic peri-urban district, including outer suburbs, burgeoning housing estates, rural areas and forests. Explosive development has propelled it to an enrolment 48.53 per cent above the average (the largest district in the State), and to an expected 85.78 per cent above average by 2018. Some submissions, such as that by the Liberals, changed Yan Yean into a more rural seat. Submissions that kept growth areas in the district ran into trouble with projected enrolments. The EBC proposed to return Yan Yean to approximate equality by allocating areas to neighbouring districts that have associations with those areas. Thus, North Warrandyte was transferred to Warrandyte district; parts of Greensborough, Diamond Creek and Research to Eltham district; the Kangaroo Ground/Christmas Hills/Arthurs Creek hill country to Eildon district; and South Morang, Epping and Wollert to Mill Park and Thomastown districts. Yan Yean’s only gain was to take Wallan and Beveridge from Seymour, to strengthen Seymour’s rural character. The proposed boundaries maintained Yan Yean’s essential nature as a peri-urban district north of Melbourne. Enrolment for the proposed district was 9.39 per cent below average, and it was projected to rise to 11.01 per cent above average.