Many may wonder what it will take to change the ugly jigsaw puzzle that currently constitutes the Federal electorate of Wide Bay. Noosa is the piece that simply doesn’t fit.
It’s stuck down at the bottom end of the Wide Bay electorate with little in common with its rural and regional cousins up in Gympie and Maryborough and the surrounding region.
The priorities of our current local member reflect the need to shore up his rural and regional vote; the National Party wing of the LNP and One Nation constituency. Perusing the local member’s Budget media releases and Facebook posts, it is easy to see where his, and the Government’s, priorities lie. Our local vote seems irrelevant and devalued in an electorate centred on Gympie and Maryborough.
A federal electorate that better reflects the social, economic, and geographic profile of Noosa is clearly needed.
The release of last year’s Census data later in June will confirm what we already know; that Queensland’s population and, in particular, that of southeast Queensland, has increased significantly in recent years. Much of it at the expense of Victoria and New South Wales.
By any measure this should trigger a redrawing of the electoral boundaries and possibly the creation of an extra seat from Queensland’s current number of 30 House of Representative seats.
Despite the near certainty of boundary changes because of population increases in southeast Queensland, a redistribution under normal circumstances is not required in Queensland until March 2025. This is still three years away. The dramatic population shift of the past two years has changed all that.
In considering electoral boundaries, section 66 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires the Redistribution Committee to consider:
- Community of interests within the proposed electoral division including economic, social, and regional interests;
- The means of communication and travel within the proposed electoral division;
- The physical features and area of the proposed electoral division; and
- The existing boundaries of divisions in the State.
One wonders how these criteria were applied when the boundaries of the current Wide Bay electorate were drawn up.
The Commonwealth Electoral Act therefore provides an opportunity, when the time comes, for Noosa residents to argue strongly for an electorate that more accurately reflects Noosa’s community of interests. We hope that time will come very soon.