Electorate boundaries face independant review

DUBBO MP Troy Grant has not ruled out the possibility he might be forced to farewell communities on the fringes of his electorate to help stave off the potential demise of neighbouring seats.

An independent and seven-year statutory review of the state’s 93 electorates is under way amid political and media speculation that change is afoot.

In Western NSW two seats are reported to be under the spotlight for want of voters.

The ABC’s electoral analyst Antony Green has predicted that Minister for Western NSW Kevin Humphries’ seat of Barwon will be 17 per cent under its quota and John Williams’ Murray-Darling electorate 14 per cent.

Both redistribution, involving the shifting of electorate boundaries, and amalgamation of electorates have been mooted.

At Dubbo yesterday Mr Grant expressed concern that any neighbouring electorate might be facing the axe.

He said there were plenty of arguments for retaining them, including the distance that needed to be travelled currently to meet with constituents on wide-ranging issues of concern.

“I talk to my metropolitan counterparts a lot and some don’t have a hospital in their electorate,” he said.

“I have 10.” 

The MP advised of the recent introduction into the Parliament of legislation aimed at providing a “greater buffer” to redistribution based on population movement.

Previously electorates with quotas under or over three or five per cent were subject to scrutiny, “now it’s between five and 10 per cent”, he said.

But the MP acknowledged it might not help neighbouring electorates.

“So the question then becomes what I may have to lose to help them,” Mr Grant said, before rattling off communities on the fringes of his electorate, including Narromine in the west, Eumungerie in the north and Forbes in the south.

“It’s possibly the most likely outcome that I’m going to lose area mass because the population of Dubbo is expected to grow by 9000 by 2020.”

Mr Grant said it would be disappointing to lose communities he had grown to know and respect.

“But it is out of my hands,” he said.

Political parties will make submissions to the three-member review panel led by former Court of Appeal president, Keith Mason QC.

The review began in November and must be completed by March 2014, 12 months before the next state election.

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