Campaspe Shire electorates to stay the same

By James Arbuthnott

THE Victorian Electoral Commission is looking unlikely to do away with separate wards in Campaspe Shire, as the latest representation and subdivision review for Campaspe Shire draws to a close.

A review into the structure of the council boundaries and wards proposed two main options, keeping the current ward-based divisions with minor boundary adjustments (option A) or an un-subdivided model of nine councillors (option B).

In a preliminary report filed in the past month, the VEC said the current electoral structure continues to be the most effective method of representation for districts in Campaspe Shire.

“Uneven population growth in the shire has necessitated adjustments in the present electoral structure,” the report said.

As part of its research, the VEC considered a variation of the current electoral structure that combines Rochester and Waranga wards to accommodate the declining number of voters in Waranga ward.

Additionally, a variation that built on the above model by also combining Echuca and Western wards was considered to do away with all single-councillor wards.

The VEC found that forming an un-subdivided council would overcome population and boundary adjustment issues as well as uncontested candidates, however could affect the ‘distinct identity’ of towns in the district.

Chiefexecutive Ray Burton said council supports option A, which retains the current structure comprising nine councillors across two three-councillor wards and three single-councillor wards.

“Council considers the current ward-based structure as the most appropriate and effective model to ensure voter representation for the diverse communities of interest across the shire,” he said.

“Campaspe Shire continues to experience population growth, particularly within the multi-member wards of Echuca and Kyabram-Deakin.

“Overall the council is satisfied with the findings and supports the VEC's preferred option.”

The preliminary report received seven responses, with the majority in support of option A.

A public hearing will be held today at 5.30pm at Campaspe Regional Library, 310 Hare Street, Echuca.