THE seat of Gippsland South will gain Inverloch while the seat of Bass will lose Pakenham and Clyde under proposed boundary changes released today by Victoria’s Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC).

Bass will take in the Western Port coastal communities of Warneet, Blind Bight and Tooradin from Hastings District and also Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip from Narracan District.

Labor’s Jordan Crugnale holds the seat of Bass while The Nationals’ Danny O’Brien holds the seat of Gippsland South.

 

Gippsland South

Here’s what the EBC said in its report about Gippsland South:

“Currently 9.38 per cent below quota, Gippsland South District must gain electors to ensure it remains within the 10 per cent tolerance at the next state election. The EBC determines the most straightforward solution is the expansion of Gippsland South to include the town of Inverloch.

“This received substantial support in public submissions, albeit with some reservations. Alan Thomas, for example, acknowledged the links between Inverloch, Wonthaggi and the wider Bass Coast Shire communities, but suggested ‘numeric considerations make it very difficult to maintain Inverloch where it is.’

“Mark Mulcair likewise suggested there to be few options for increasing Gippsland South’s enrolment, and that taking territory from a different part of Bass or Narracan to its north would give the district an awkward shape and potentially encroach on outer suburban Melbourne. The EBC agrees with these points and further suggests that expanding Gippsland South District to take the southern part of Morwell is unwarranted and, if implemented, could potentially deprive these communities of their natural connections with Morwell and Traralgon.

“Moreover, while linked to Wonthaggi, Inverloch is a major holiday destination, with connections to other coastal communities to the east and inland to Leongatha. Inverloch has little in common with the outer suburban communities in the north of Bass and, potentially, a greater affinity with the coastal and inland communities of Gippsland South.

“The boundaries proposed around Inverloch are tight, but deliberately so, separating the town’s residential zone from the farming and rural-living areas located beyond. Under this proposal, nearly 5000 electors in Bass would be transferred to Gippsland South, bringing the latter to less than 1 per cent above quota.

 

Bass

Here’s what the EBC said in its report about Bass:

“At 40.97 per cent above quota, Bass District has grown at a very high rate, due primarily to residential growth in its north. There is a need to more evenly balance the established, smaller and more stable communities in Bass with areas of high and rapid growth.

“Most submitters suggested excising Pakenham from Bass into a current or newly created district. According to The Nationals, removing Pakenham from Bass would prevent the latter from encroaching too much into the urban growth corridor. Island Voice proposed adjusting Bass along similar lines in the north, but also suggested extending the district eastwards to Wilsons Promontory to encourage a focus on coastal protection and to unite communities with similar demographics.

“Charles Richardson also proposed removing the urban areas from Bass, arguing that, in combination with changes in the west of the district, this would centre Bass more firmly on Western Port. Alan Thomas made similar suggestions to promote an increased focus on Western Port, Phillip Island and Koo Wee Rup, adding that this would also emphasise the South Gippsland Highway as a key transport corridor.

“In addition, numerous submitters, including most of the political parties, proposed extending Bass District north-east to take part of Narracan District. Most of these submitters used the Princes Highway as the new district boundary, arguing variously that this change was essential to re-balance Bass and neighbouring districts and to minimise flow-on effects.

“Taking these views into account and considering the numeric requirements, the EBC proposes Bass lose Pakenham and Clyde to another district, while taking the Western Port coastal communities of Warneet, Blind Bight and Tooradin from Hastings District and also Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip from Narracan District. The EBC agrees with those submitters suggesting this has the potential to re-focus Bass more towards Western Port and potentially enhance its main transport corridor. The proposed changes would result in Bass being 6.20 per cent under quota and more than able to accommodate future elector growth.”

 

Public comment

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.

Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately, one of the three members of the EBC, was pleased with the level of community engagement in the initial consultation period and issued a further call for Victorians to have their say.

“The EBC in December 2020 invited submissions from the public, and received 58 submissions – five from political parties, 15 from organisations and community groups and 38 from individuals,” Mr Gately said.

Anyone interested in providing comment on the proposed boundaries should lodge a written submission before 5pm on Friday, July 30.

The proposed boundaries can be downloaded from the EBC website, ebc.vic.gov.au. Written submissions can also be lodged via the website.

The EBC will take account of suggestions and objections, and prepare final boundaries by late October 2021. These boundaries will take effect at the 2022 state election.