THE State Electorate of Bass, represented by former Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor and Inverloch resident Jordan Crugnale, has grown so quickly it presently has a voter population that is 40.97 per cent above the average (quota).
As at November 2020, Bass had 68,545 electors (expected to go higher by the November 26, 2022 election), almost 20,000 above the 48,625 quota but needing to come in under the average to account for future growth.
It’s the second biggest variation above average in the state, only surpassed by Cranbourne at 41.32 per cent underscoring the dramatic rate of growth in the Cranbourne-Pakenham area.
Something has got to give and both local MPs, Danny O’Brien and Jordan Crugnale have acknowledged this week that the boundaries of Bass and Gippsland South will be changed before the next state election.
Ms Crugnale has refrained from predicting what might happen to her seat as the Electoral Boundaries Commission starts its redivision process in recent week, except to refer to an early assessment by ABC election expert Anthony Green.
“Cranbourne is 41.3% over-quota. Bass is 41.0% over quota and Gembrook 12.7% with rural Narracan to the east 13.0% above; all three seats over-quota due to population growth around Pakenham,” Mr Green said recently.
“There will be a new seat created by the redistribution, with three seats replacing Cranbourne and the northern end of Bass. The rapidly growing areas may still be split between seats to avoid creating one electorate with all the population growth.
“The Bass Coast Council end of the existing Bass may be transferred to a rural electorate.”
Mr Green has voiced another scenario, abolishing Bass altogether.
“Any new seat based around Pakenham will solve Narracan’s problem, and could abolish Bass on Melbourne’s fringe and push Bass Coast Council into Gippsland South.”
But Gippsland South MP Danny O’Brien has come up with a simpler scenario.
“Adding Inverloch and surrounds to Gippsland South would be a much simpler change and has been a part of Gippsland South in the past,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Cutting Pakenham (32,710) away from Bass and creating a new seat there, while adding parts of West Gippsland to Bass, much like the old Gippsland West seat, would see it remain a rural, metro fringe electorate with historic community of interest.”
Mr O’Brien doesn’t dismiss the possibility, however, that he could face off against Ms Crugnale under a more radical redivision.
Adding Inverloch and surrounds (4920) to Gippsland South (44,065) would ensure Gippsland South was slightly above the quota (48,986), the main complication being, Ms Crugnale lives in Inverloch!
Make a submission
Interested members of the community are urged to make submissions about the electoral boundary changes with a range of resources, including an interactive map, available at: https://www.ebc.vic.gov.au/CurrentRedivision/
You can view a video of the information session hosted by Chief Judge Peter Kidd on December 6, 2020.
Stage One submissions are now open and close at 5pm on March 1, 2021. Public hearings will be held from March 29 to April 2.
Final boundaries will be released on October 14, 2021.
Note: An earlier version of this article referenced ‘Chief Justice Peter Kidd’. This was incorrect. The correct title is Chief Judge Peter Kidd.