Pop­u­la­tion growth drives elec­toral change

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew New­ton

AF­TER a heated de­bate that lasted al­most half an hour, Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil has rec­om­mended that the in­ter­nal di­vi­sion bound­aries of the Whit­sun­day Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Area should be sig­nif­i­cantly al­tered ahead of the 2016 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

The changes, il­lus­trated be­low, would see ev­ery sin­gle di­vi­sional bound­ary al­tered to al­low for equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion across the re­gion.

At the heart of coun­cil’s rec­om­men­da­tion – which it has sub­mit­ted to the body in charge of the bound­ary re­view, the Elec­toral Change Com­mis­sion – is that the pop­u­la­tion of the south­ern half of the re­gion will con­tinue to grow at a faster rate than the north­ern sec­tor.

The re­view was trig­gered af­ter data in­di­cated that the pop­u­la­tion of Di­vi­sion 2 was out of pro­por­tion with the rest of the re­gion.

Coun­cil’s sub­mis­sion has in­flamed ten­sions within coun­cil, and in the town of Bowen.

Deputy mayor An­drew Will­cox and coun­cil­lors Dave Clark and Peter Ramage have come out strongly against the pro­posal.

The three coun­cil­lors would like to see a “sim­ple” bound­ary re­align­ment be­tween Di­vi­sion 2 and Di­vi­sion 3, leav- ing the rest of the re­gion un­changed. Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney said the guide­lines for the sub­mis­sion clearly stated that the pro­posed di­vi­sions had to cater for fu­ture growth and that a sin­gle re­align­ment would not work.

The Elec­toral Change Com­mis­sion is ac­cept­ing sub­mis­sions from the public un­til Fri­day 5pm. Email whit­sun­day re­gion­al­coun­cil­re­

Pro­posed changes GROW­ING CON­CERN: A closer look at pro­posed changes to the Whit­sun­day Re­gional Coun­cil's elec­toral bound­aries.

Cur­rent di­vi­sions

Pro­posed di­vi­sions

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