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Electoral boundary change to impact Southbankers

Electoral boundary change to impact Southbankers
David Schout

Voters who reside in an eastern pocket of Southbank will cast their vote in a different electorate at the next state election in November 2022.

Changes to electoral boundaries were recently confirmed by the Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) and will see the seat of Albert Park, held since 2007 by Martin Foley, lose a small pocket of Southbank to the neighbouring electorate of Prahran.

Southbankers who reside to the east of Sturt Street (but south of Grant Street) will all vote in the seat of Prahran in the next election, even though they have not changed address.

Prior to the announcement, Albert Park’s north-eastern boundary was bound by St Kilda Rd.

However, this has now changed in the most recent shift.

Electoral boundaries are altered to reflect population changes across the state and to ensure that all electorates are “approximately equal”.

The seat of Prahran has been held by the Greens’ Sam Hibbins since the 2014 election when he, alongside fellow Greens member Ellen Sandell in the neighbouring seat of Melbourne, won the first ever seats for the party in the Victorian lower house.

He told Southbank News he was looking forward to meeting with locals.

“I welcome the addition of part of Southbank into the Prahran electorate,” Mr Hibbins said.

“I look forward to meeting with residents and working hard to ensure Southbank is a liveable and vibrant community.”

The Greens hold three of 88 seats in the Victorian Legislative Assembly; Mr Hibbins, Ms Sandell and member for Brunswick Tim Read.

Mr Foley, the 14-year Albert Park member and current Victorian Health Minister, said the government’s work would not change based on an “arbitrary line”.

“Regardless of lines on maps the Victorian Andrews Labor Government will continue to work for all communities,” he said.

“Recovery, jobs, action on climate, public transport and education are all big issues to the Southbank community. I will work with residents and businesses on whatever side of an arbitrary line they fall to continue to get things done as we safely emerge out of this global pandemic.”

State electoral boundaries are created by the EBC, an impartial statutory agency independent of the government.

According to the commission, the latest boundary update impacted more than one in five electors with 910,384 Victorians (or 21.28 per cent of all electors) transferred to different electoral districts.

A spokesperson said the EBC canvassed the thoughts and opinions of many before defying the new boundaries.

“The EBC has taken account of the information and arguments included in submissions and public hearings. The reasons for particular changes vary, but broadly the EBC considers that the final boundaries fit communities of interest better than the proposed boundaries while ensuring that all electorates are approximately equal.”

The EBC does not consider the political implications of boundary changes •

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