Jordan Crugnale MP with WSC principal Darren Parker and Education Minister James Merlino checking on the development of the senior campus. The Bass electorate remains “marginal” despite the boundary changes and can expect some meaningful election promises over the next 12 months.

 

JORDAN Crugnale, the Member for Bass will be pleased.

Her beloved Inverloch has remained part of her electorate of Bass following a late flip to the proposed electoral boundary changes.

It was an approach to a redivision by the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) that was backed by the Bass Coast Shire Council in submissions earlier in the year.

Neither Ms Crugnale nor her neighbour in Gippsland South Danny O’Brien has commented but it’s likely Mr O’Brien will be pleased as well, having picked up some additional rural areas to represent.

In fact, the changes to these two seats in Gippsland and on the metro fringe, were among the key changes across regional Victoria.

The changes were released on Thursday, October 28, 2021.

Making the changes in accordance with the Electoral Boundaries Commission Act 1982, the Commission started its boundaries review on November 26, 2020, two years before the 2022 State election.

At November 30, 2020, there was an average of 48,625 electors per district (the district quota) and 534,877 electors per region (the region quota)

Enrolments for 28 of the 88 districts and one of the eight regions were more than 10% outside the average. The EBC has to ensure that the number of electors in every district and region is within 10% of the average.

The EBC took account of the information and arguments in submissions as it prepared the final boundaries.

As a result, several key areas changed from the proposed boundaries were made including the following:

  • Gippsland: Four-way exchange transferring Moe from Narracan District to Morwell District, rural areas around Boolarra and Toongabbie from Morwell District to Gippsland South District, Inverloch from Gippsland South District to Bass District, and the Bunyip-Garfield area from Bass District to Narracan District.

Details

Proposed Gippsland South District 155. Gippsland South District was 9.38% below quota as at 30 November 2020, and needed to gain electors. The most straightforward solution was expanding Gippsland South to include the town of Inverloch, a change proposed in many submissions, albeit with some reservations.

Many submitters acknowledged the connections between Inverloch, Wonthaggi and the wider Bass Coast Shire communities, but argued that numeric considerations alongside a lack of options for Gippsland South District to be expanded west or north made it difficult to maintain Inverloch in Bass.

The EBC considered these arguments to have merit. As a major holiday destination, Inverloch was also considered to have connections with other coastal communities to the east and inland to Leongatha and in contrast little in common with the outer-suburban communities in the north of Bass District.

Under the proposed changes, nearly 5,000 electors in Bass District would have been transferred to Gippsland South District, bringing the latter to less than 1% above quota.

Proposed Bass District 156. Due mainly to residential growth in its north, Bass District had grown to 40.97% above quota, prompting a need to balance the established, smaller and more stable communities in the district more evenly with areas of high and rapid growth.

There was strong support in submissions for excising the more urban, high growth areas from the north of Bass and for re-focusing the district more towards Western Port. Most submitters suggested moving Pakenham from Bass District into a current or newly created district.

There was also strong support, including from most of the major political parties, to extend Bass District north-east to take part of Narracan District, and to include towns such as Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Garfield and Bunyip. Submitters considered this change essential to balance elector numbers in Bass and surrounding districts and to limit flow-on effects.

Considering these views and the numeric requirements, the EBC proposed that Bass District lose Pakenham and Clyde to another district, while gaining 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 agreed this would likely re-focus Bass District more towards Western Port and potentially enhance its main transport corridor, at the same time bringing it to 6.2% under quota.

Leaving Bass under quota allows for expected future growth while the electorate of Gippsland South is likely to be more stable.

The addition of the Boolarra and Toongabbie areas is unlikely to make a difference to the electoral status of Gippsland South as safe National and while Ms Crugnale has lost all of Pakenham, with the boundary set at Ballarto Road, she retains Clyde and Cranbourne South.

Bass is however likely to stay on a knife-edge politically which is good news for those hoping to benefit from the Bass electorates status as a genuine “marginal” electorate.