kensignKen Smith, the Member for Bass, is well known for his support of local football and netball clubs and he’s not about to drop Inverloch-Kongwak off his list despite proposed changes to the electoral boundaries.

KEN Smith, the Member for Bass and the Speaker of the Victorian Parliament, is prepared to fight to keep Inverloch in his electorate. He made those comments last week after the Victorian Boundaries Commission published its new State electoral boundaries, which propose cutting off Inverloch and adding it to Gippsland South, based in Sale. “I’m unhappy about it being put into Gippsland South,” Mr Smith said last week. “The people of Inverloch have little or no community of interest with the Gippsland area going east. “Their community of interest is with Bass Coast, Wonthaggi and going up to Melbourne. “The idea that Inverloch and this part of the region gets its services coming out of the Latrobe Valley and Sale is just plain ridiculous and always has been. They’re not servicing Bass Coast. “The people of Inverloch are looking to Wonthaggi and then beyond to Melbourne for their regional services.” Mr Smith, who has confirmed that he’ll be standing again for the seat of Bass at the November 29, 2014 election, said he would be backing a challenge, being mounted by the Liberal Party, to the changes in Bass. “We’ll be telling them they have to put Inverloch back in,” he said. “As it stands, we have the line at Pound Creek where the boundary of the South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires is located and that’s appropriate. “They want boundaries that mean something and that’s pretty clear. “I mean, people from Inverloch aren’t going to want to go up to Sale to see their local member. Whatever happens I’ll still be prepared to look after them if they come in here (office at Wonthaggi) but if it goes the way the Boundaries Commission wants it, their local member will be Peter Ryan. “There’s nothing wrong with Peter, he’s a good local member but the community of interest for Inverloch is all this way,” he said. Mr Smith said one of his enduring interests locally was supporting the future of local football and netball clubs, via his signs around the boundary and through his sponsorship of ‘On The Bench’, the 3mfm footy show, based in Inverloch. “That’s not going to change. Football and netball clubs are one of the best things about the country. Not only are they bringing the community together around a healthy lifestyle but it makes them feel like they are part of the community themselves, not just a gang in the street. “I visited a youth detention centre recently where I wasn’t surprised to hear that 80 per cent of the kids there had never been involved in sports.” Mr Smith said there were also boundary changes proposed in the growth areas around Pakenham, Officer and Berwick. “I lose Berwick and part of Officer but retain the centre of Pakenham and Officer South while picking up the Clyde area.” Mr Smith would also take over representation of Nyora and Loch from Gippsland South, so if there was to be a change, the two electorates could swap Inverloch for Nyora and Loch which is expected to grow after the arrival of sewerage.

Gippsland South Changes have also been proposed to the Gippsland South electorate which is below average by 4.3 per cent and  expected to decline slightly. Submissions to the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) suggested relatively minor adjustments to the current boundaries. The Nationals and most of the private submissions suggested transferring Inverloch from Bass to Gippsland South, and the EBC has taken up this proposal, giving its reasons as “partly to reduce numbers in Bass and partly because of Inverloch’s links with Gippsland”, although Mr Smith rejects this claim. Gippsland South is also proposed to take in rural areas in the south and north-east of Morwell district (Boolarra, Yinnar and Cowwarr).

Why change 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 Monday, July 29, 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 November 2014 State election. Check out this link for maps of the proposed boundaries for Bass and Gippsland South: http://www.ebc.vic.gov.au/proposedBoundaries.html