ELECTORAL boundaries have had a major shake-up in Victoria’s first redivision in 12 years.
The seat of Rodney, centred on Echuca and held by Nationals MP Paul Weller, will disappear when it merges with the seat of Swan Hill, held by the Nationals' Peter Walsh, to create the new seat of Murray Plains.
Bendigo West, held by Labor’s Maree Edwards, has altered slightly while Bendigo East, held by Labor’s Jacinta Allan, will become more marginal.
Only two districts remain unchanged – Gippsland East and Gippsland South.
Under the new boundaries tabled in Parliament yesterday, almost 30 per cent of electors have been transferred to different districts.
Rodney is one of 15 districts abolished in the reshuffle, which comes into effect from the 2014 November state election.
Electoral Boundaries Commission secretary Paul Thornton-Smith said there were a large number - 214 out of a total 608 - public submissions about the seat of Rodney.
Mr Thornton-Smith said the submissions had argued they were proud of the electorate, that it worked with Echuca as its centre, and were opposed to it being merged with Swan Hill.
He said the commission had taken on board the submissions but to keep the rural seat would have meant forcing other electorates together that had nothing in common with each other, and this was seen as worse.
Mr Weller said he was “naturally disappointed” that the commission had chosen not to retain Rodney.
“I’m disappointed rural and regional Victoria has lost a voice in Parliament, but the Electoral Boundaries Commission has made its decision,” he said.
Bendigo West will gain Marong but lose Newbridge, Tarnagulla, Taradale and Elphinstone to other electorates.
Maree Edwards said Bendigo West was over quota as a result of population changes and it was clear the seat would have to change a little.
Jacinta Allan said said the new Bendigo East boundary would take in Elmore and parts of Loddon shire. It had tightened the margin, but “it has always been and always will be a marginal seat”.
The redivision was done so each electorate has roughly equal numbers of electors.