Electoral Boundaries Commission releases State electoral boundaries
Thursday, 17 October 2013
Victoria’s Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) today released new State electoral boundaries. The boundaries will come into operation at the November 2014 State election. The EBC report, which was tabled in Parliament today, includes the boundaries and an explanation of how and why the EBC determined them.
The EBC has conducted 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 EBC released proposed boundaries on 27 June 2013 and invited public comment. After considering 608 written suggestions and objections and holding three public hearings, the EBC has amended the proposed boundaries in 21 areas, transferring 42,744 electors to different electoral districts, and has also changed the names of four districts.
Comparing the existing boundaries with the new boundaries released today, a total of 1,068,389 electors (29.27 per cent of all electors) are in different electoral districts. Fifteen electoral districts have been abolished and 15 new ones created.
Changes to Upper House boundaries have not been on the same scale, with no new electoral regions being created and a total of 392,844 electors transferred to different regions.
Dr Paul Thornton-Smith
Secretary, Electoral Boundaries Commission
Why did the redivision take place?
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 were more than 10 per cent outside the average — which was 41,473 for the districts and 456,207 for the regions. District enrolments ranged 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.
A redivision is a consultative process, in which the EBC invites and takes account of submissions from the public. In the first stage of the redivision, the EBC received 17 submissions – four from political parties (the Liberal Party, Australian Labor Party, Nationals and Greens) and most of the rest from private citizens. After the proposed boundaries were released on 27 June 2013, the EBC received 608 written suggestions and objections about those boundaries – five from political parties, two from members of Parliament, 15 from municipal councils, seven from councillors, 48 from local organisations and the rest from private citizens.
Public hearings on 8 April and 12, 13 and 16 August were further opportunities for public input.
What are the changes?
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 Gippsland South. The EBC has replaced 15 existing districts with 15 new ones, as follows:
Abolished existing districts:
Ballarat East, Ballarat West, Benalla, Clayton, Derrimut, Doncaster, Keilor, Kilsyth, Lyndhurst, Mitcham, Murray Valley, Rodney, Scoresby, Seymour, Swan Hill.
Buninyong, Clarinda, Croydon, Eildon, Euroa, Keysborough, Murray Plains, Ovens Valley, Ringwood, Rowville, St Albans, Sunbury, Sydenham, Wendouree, Werribee.
There are significant changes to many of the continuing districts, such as Carrum, where 47 per cent of the electors of the existing district are in the new district.
Under the new boundaries, 1,068,389 electors (29.27 per cent of the total) have been transferred to different districts.
There are fewer changes to the electoral regions. Each region must be made up of 11 contiguous electoral districts. The EBC has kept the same regions as at present, covering much the same areas, and mostly composed of the same districts. Under the new boundaries, 392,844 electors (10.76 per cent of the total) have been transferred to different regions.
What happens now?
The new boundaries are final, and are not subject to review by Parliament.
The boundaries will come into effect at the next State election, scheduled for 29 November 2014.
Any by-election occurring before the State election will be held on the existing boundaries.
Maps of each electorate (region and district) can be downloaded from ebc.vic.gov.au in pdf and gif formats. 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 new 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.