Canberrans will have a better level of representation after legislation passed yesterday increasing the size of the ACT Legislative Assembly from 17 to 25 MLAs from the 2016 election.
With bipartisan support, the Assembly passed two bills introduced by Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, to increase representation of ACT citizens and improve representative democracy in the territory.
“Following the recommendations of the expert reference group, the Assembly has decided to increase its size from 17 to 25 members, and increase the number of electorates from three to five,” Mr Corbell said.
“As Canberra’s population has grown, it is appropriate to increase the number of representatives at a territory level to ensure the best government possible for the people of Canberra.
“As highlighted by the expert reference group, the ratio of elected representatives to the number of enrolled voters in the ACT is higher than any other state or territory in Australia. That is, there are more enrolled voters per elected representative than anywhere else Australia. The ACT has 5.6 representatives per 100,000 people compared to the national average of 26 representatives per 100,000.”
In making its recommendation to increasing the size of the Assembly, the expert reference group considered factors such as the ability of the Assembly to adequately represent the ACT community and to deliver effective government to the ACT community.
The combined effect of the Australian Capital Territory (Legislative Assembly) Bill 2014 and the Electoral Amendment Bill 2014 is to increase the membership of the assembly and the number of electorates, plus a number of consequential amendments such as changes to ballot papers.
The next step will be the redistribution of electoral boundaries, including the naming of the new electorates. This process will commence with a call for public submissions by the Redistribution Committee, chaired by the Electoral Commissioner, and will include several opportunities for public comment throughout a six to eight-month process. The final determination of the new electoral boundaries will be made by the Augmented ACT Electoral Commission.