Part II: The proposed boundaries - Western Metropolitan
- Western Metropolitan region includes some of the fastest growing areas of the State, on the western fringes of Melbourne, as well as districts closer to the city with relatively declining enrolments.
- Essendon’s enrolment is 2.95 per cent below average and is declining to -5.63 per cent. Submissions put forward several suggested changes to the boundaries. The EBC proposed that Essendon take from Melbourne the Flemington and Travancore areas in the City of Moonee Valley, strengthening the district’s community of interest. This created a need for Essendon to shed some electors. Several submissions suggested shifting Essendon Airport, Strathmore and Strathmore Heights from Essendon to Niddrie and/or Pascoe Vale, but these suburbs have stronger connections with Essendon than with the other districts. Instead, the EBC proposed transferring Aberfeldie from Essendon to Niddrie, as this is a discrete area with links to the west as well as to the centre of Essendon. Mr Andrew Gunter suggested renaming the district Moonee Ponds, because part of the suburb of Essendon is in Niddrie district. However, the bulk of the suburb of Essendon was in Essendon district, and the EBC considered there was insufficient justification to change a long standing district name. The proposed district’s enrolment was expected to be around the average, ranging from +2.7 per cent currently to -2.46 per cent by 2018.
- Immediately to the west, Niddrie’s enrolment is beneath the 10 per cent threshold and trending downwards, from -11.86 per cent to -14.89 per cent. Several submissions proposed that the district expand to the north, but the EBC considered that the creation of the Sunbury district prevented this course. Instead, the EBC proposed that the district expand to east and west, taking Aberfeldie from Essendon and parts of Keilor and Taylors Lakes from Keilor district. The new area in the west has strong connections with the rest of the district along the Calder Freeway and Highway. The EBC proposed that Niddrie shed Kealba to St Albans, as the suburb is cut off from the rest of Niddrie district by the Maribyrnong River, and also lose a nearly uninhabited part of Tullamarine to Sunbury district. As the proposed district included all of the suburb of Keilor, the EBC considered renaming the district Keilor, but decided that this was unjustified given that three quarters of the proposed district was made up of the existing Niddrie district. Enrolment for the proposed district was expected to fall from the average (-0.26 per cent) to -5.2 per cent.
- Keilor district is the fourth-largest district in the State, with an enrolment 30.02 per cent above the average, but its growth is levelling out, and is projected to increase comparatively modestly to +34.5 per cent by 2018. Some submissions proposed to abolish the seat, and others had difficulty keeping its enrolment within the 10 per cent tolerance. The EBC proposed transferring Keilor Downs to the new St Albans district, and parts of Keilor and Taylors Lakes to Niddrie. As the proposed district no longer included any part of Keilor, the EBC considered it appropriate to rename the district Sydenham, after the suburb in the centre of the proposed district. Enrolment for the district was 1.78 per cent above average, and was projected to rise to +9.27 per cent.
- Williamstown’s enrolment is 4.59 per cent below average, and is declining slowly to -6.64 per cent by 2018. Partly isolated on a peninsula, Williamstown can only move to the north or west. The Liberal and Greens submissions (as well those by Mr Gordon and Dr Richardson) extended the district to the west into Altona, while the ALP took a minimal change approach. The EBC proposed that the district shed Seaholme in the south-west, to create a stronger boundary along Kororoit Creek that better reflected communities of interest. In the north, the district took Seddon, Kingsville and the balance of Yarraville from Footscray district. During the VEC’s 2011 electoral representation review of Maribyrnong City Council, members of the public referred to Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville as the ‘SKY community’, stating that these suburbs shared similar aspirations24. The areas have strong links with the areas to their south, justifying their inclusion in the Williamstown district. Enrolment for the proposed district was 9.18 per cent above average, and was projected to fall to +4.53 per cent.
- Footscray’s enrolment is close to the State average at -0.43 per cent. The district is growing as a result of inner city development, and is projected to rise to +2.78 per cent. The ALP and Dr Richardson’s submission broadly maintained the status quo; the Greens shed areas in the west to create a neat Footscray-centred district; while the Liberals expanded the district to the south as far as Newport. For the EBC, the loss of Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville spurred a need to gain electors from elsewhere. A decision to create a St Albans district prevented expansion to the north-west (in fact, the new district took part of Sunshine from Footscray). Therefore, the EBC proposed that the district extend to the west, taking Sunshine West from Derrimut. Enrolment for the proposed district was 3.01 per cent above average, and was projected to rise to +6.03 per cent.
- Derrimut district is close to the average at +1.31 per cent, and is predicted to drop to -4.28 per cent. The ALP supported no change to the district’s boundaries; the Liberals proposed to expand its boundaries; and the Greens submitted that the seat should be abolished and replaced by a Sunshine district. Shifting populations made it difficult to maintain the current configuration of districts in this part of the western suburbs. The EBC proposed to replace Derrimut – a collection of segments of suburbs divided by Kororoit Creek – with a new St Albans district. St Albans is an important centre that has long been divided between various districts, and this redivision offered the opportunity to create a more coherent district centred on St Albans. St Albans district covered a similar area from 1985 to 1992. The district took in large areas from the current Derrimut and Kororoit, plus Kealba from Niddrie, Keilor Downs from Keilor and part of Sunshine from Footscray. The proposed district included whole suburbs in most areas, and had strong boundaries. Its enrolment was 9.63 per cent above average, and was projected to decline to +2.98 per cent.
- Kororoit’s enrolment is 5.34 per cent above the average, and is expected to decline marginally to +2.7 per cent. Submissions put a wide variety of models for Kororoit, some of which were unusually shaped. For the EBC, the creation of St Albans district shaped the boundaries for Kororoit. The district lost its St Albans eastern extension, while gaining Cairnlea, Derrimut and the balance of Deer Park from Derrimut. In the west, the district gained the semi-rural Rockbank/Mount Cottrell/Plumpton area from Melton, partly as a way of absorbing Melton’s excess numbers. The district had clear boundaries, and was centred on the Western Freeway and Kororoit Creek. A growing outer suburban district, its enrolment was expected to rise from +3.29 per cent at present to +7.55 per cent in 2018.
- With an enrolment 33.94 per cent above the average, Altona is the second largest district in the State, and is projected to rise further to +42.25 per cent. Submissions varied in their recommendations for Altona largely according to those for Williamstown. If they extended Williamstown to the west, as in the Liberal submission, then their Altona district consequently moved further west. If they did not move Williamstown west, as in the ALP submission, then their Altona district shrank. The EBC proposed that the district take in Seaholme, as this little suburb has a much closer association with Altona than with Williamstown. The large area north of the Princes Freeway, including Hoppers Crossing, Truganina, Williams Landing and Laverton North, was transferred to Tarneit district. The Princes Freeway formed a very clear boundary dividing communities. The only exception was that Laverton would remain in Altona, since the suburb has associations to the south as part of the City of Hobsons Bay. Finally, the EBC proposed that the district take in a small, currently uninhabited part of Werribee between Hacketts Road and the Princes Freeway. The resultant district had clear boundaries, was based on Altona, and had a definite coastal nature. The proposed district’s enrolment was 5.04 per cent above average, and with the excision of the main growth areas enrolment was expected to reduce to +1.05 per cent by 2018.
- Tarneit district covers a strip of the outer western suburbs based on most of Werribee and stretching south to the coast at Werribee South and north to Boundary Road. As part of the growth belt, its enrolment is currently 19.86 per cent above average and is projected to increase to +27.15 per cent. The Liberal submission proposed that Tarneit lose ground in the south and gain it in the west, creating a district whose enrolment would be currently 8.82 per cent above average and projected to rise to +31.13 per cent. Nearly all the other submissions supported the creation of an additional district. The EBC considered that the extraordinarily rapid population growth in this area justifies the creation of another district. With Altona losing the part north of the Princes Freeway and Lara retracting to the Greater Geelong local government boundary, there was room for two districts. The EBC proposed a new Werribee district, recreating the district that existed from 1976 to 2002. Tarneit district lost its southern half to Werribee, while gaining the part of Altona district north of the Princes Freeway. The district comprised the northern half of the City of Wyndham, centred on Tarneit and including nearly all of Hoppers Crossing. The new Werribee district included nearly all of Werribee itself, plus the City of Wyndham west of the Werribee River. The EBC believed that the proposed new boundaries were clearer than the current ones, and better reflected communities of interest. Enrolment for the proposed districts was well below the average (-8.09 per cent for Tarneit and -6.14 for Werribee), but the pace of development in the area meant that both districts were expected to exceed the 10 per cent threshold by 2018 (+13.48 per cent for Tarneit and +13.02 per cent for Werribee).
See Victorian Electoral Commission: Electoral Representation Review: Maribyrnong City Council: Final Report – 26 October 2011, p. 15.×