Forbes and Parkes Shire Councils will become a part of the Riverina Federal Electorate, after the announcement of changes to electorate borders by the Australian Electoral Commission.
The number of electorates in New South Wales will be reduced from 48 to 47, and changes will come into effect on February 25- in time for this year’s federal election. Changes in electorate borders have come as the AEC looks to raise the number of voters in each electorate.
The most important electorate changes in Central West NSW have been to those of Calare, Riverina, Parkes and Hume. Forbes and Parkes Shire Councils will transfer from Calare to Riverina, while the Cowra, Weddin (Grenfell), Young, Cootamundra and Harden shires will transfer to Riverina from Hume.
At the same time Riverina will lose Tumut and Tumburumba to Eden-Monaro, Griffith, Leeton, Murrumbidgee, Narrandera and part of Carrathool to Farrer, and the remainder of Carrathool to Parkes. It is expected Riverina will gain around 4000 voters as a result of all changes. Member for Riverina Michael McCormack welcomed the new additions to his electorate, and said that despite them being included just months before the next election, he said he looked forward to representing them.
“It is the people of our electorate who make my job so special and I am constantly inspired by the conversations and
interactions I have with local people every day,” he said. “I look forward to meeting with as many people as I can in these new communities over the coming weeks and months and listening to their ideas and suggestions.”
In contrast member for Calare John Cobb was left scratching his head in losing Forbes and Parkes from his electorate. “To lose Forbes and Parkes, which are also part of those who do things in NSW and Australia, after all these years is a forbidding thought,” he said. “I’ve represented most of it over the years, lived in it and it’s a wonderful place. Forbes and Parkes are extraordinarily lucky they will have Michael McCormack to look after them.”
The Calare electorate is set to gain the local government areas of Wellington, Cabonne (Canowindra), Kandos, Rylstone and Bylong. Forbes Shire Council Mayor Phyllis Miller said the changing of representation would unlikely effect future planning and projects in Forbes, but she said she was concerned about communities of interest.
Cr Miller added the AEC should have considered this in addition to voter numbers before forcing Forbes and Parkes to join Riverina, an area they normally do not directly associate with. “With the methodology they use, there’s
no distance or community interest taken into consideration,” she said. “It’s all about numbers and population. To think that Mr Cobb has to have two thirds of the state just to keep his population is ridiculous.”
“I’ve spoken to Michael McCormack, and I have no doubt that he’ll do the very best job possible.” “But I’m worried about two local government areas getting ‘just plonked’ into there.”