Rockhampton Region’s proposed boundary rearrangement
SWEEPING changes to Rockhampton Region’s divisional boundaries have been proposed by the Electoral Commission of Queensland, but at least one councillor says they will create confusion, disruption and instability.
Proposed changes include Mt Morgan and Bouldercombe, currently Division 5 and 4 communities, added to Division 6, which includes The Range.
A substantial part of Wandal would be added to Division 7, which is on the north side of the Fitzroy.
Cr Drew Wickerson is calling on the community to “strongly voice their opinion on the significant changes”.
ECQ has published reports and detailed interactive maps of these proposed changes on its website and placed notices through local media.
“In my opinion, while I understand ECQ motives to equalise electoral quotas across all divisions, these significant boundary realignments will create confusion, disruption and instability ahead of anticipated major external boundary realignments to the north of the city in the relatively near future,” Mr Wickerson said yesterday.
“It would be prudent and logical to defer or minimise any major revision to internal boundaries until such matters are resolved.”
The ECQ states that any proposed boundary alignments be informed by communities that share either social, economic or cultural common interests.
Physical features such as highways, rivers and mountain ranges will often form natural and logical boundaries between divisional areas.
Equally, divisional communities should have equitable access to local services and political representation.
Mr Wickerson contends that these criteria have been totally ignored in the proposed realignments of the Rockhampton region boundaries.
“The people of Mount Morgan and environs are a close-knit community with an enduring resilience, pride and strong identity,” he said.
“The community has developed a sense of unity and stability that is long overdue considering the history of frequent boundary changes.
“Caring and highly effective representation has resulted in outstanding redevelopments throughout the Mount Morgan area, with many more in the final planning stages.
“Similarly, I believe the community of The Range, in the greater part professional people and business owners, would naturally have a strong affinity and identity with the Rockhampton CBD, currently in the same division.
“It would seem that this area has only been reallocated to Division 5 with the sole purpose being to balance the population lost by transferring Mount Morgan into Division 6.
“Proposing to include a large area of Wandal with Division 7 on the northern side of the Fitzroy River raises serious concerns about identity, serviceability and effective representation.”
The situation is looming as yet another instance where Rockhampton Region insists it should determine its own destiny and not be directed by decisions made in Brisbane.
“The only way to ensure this is by the community assertively stating their opinions and responding to the proposed boundary alignment changes,” Mr Wickerson said.
The alignments and reports can be reviewed a the Electoral Commission website.
Submissions close in just one week, at 5pm on September 30.