11 September 2023

ACT Legislative Assembly announces district boundaries for 2024 election

| Lizzie Waymouth
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Legislative Assembly building

Canberrans are set to go to the polls on 19 October, 2024, but some may now be voting in a different district as a result of the electoral changes. Photo: Region.

The ACT Electoral Commission has announced the electoral boundaries for the 2024 Legislative Assembly elections.

The commission said on Monday (11 September) it has decided to accept the electoral boundaries proposed by the ACT Redistribution Committee, which set out the redistribution of the ACT into five electorates, each represented by five MLAs. These are:

  • Brindabella, comprising the district of Tuggeranong and the districts of Booth, Cotter River, Paddy’s River, Rendezvous Creek, Tennent and Mount Clear;
  • Ginninderra, comprising the district of Belconnen (excluding the suburbs of Giralang and Kaleen);
  • Kurrajong, comprising the district of Canberra Central (excluding the suburbs of Deakin, Forrest, Red Hill and Yarralumla), and the districts of Jerrabomberra (including the entire suburb of Hume), Kowen and Majura;
  • Murrumbidgee, comprising the districts of Molonglo Valley, Weston Creek, Woden Valley, Coree (including the village of Uriarra) and Stromlo, and the Canberra Central suburbs of Deakin, Forrest, Red Hill and Yarralumla; and
  • Yerrabi, comprising the districts of Gungahlin and Hall and the Belconnen District suburbs of Giralang and Kaleen.

“In determining the most appropriate solution, the commission considered all viable and logical options … After this comprehensive evaluation, the commission has upheld the original proposal of the committee,” the commission said in a statement.

The commission has also published a detailed response outlining its reasons for accepting the proposed boundaries.

The proposed changes were met with some criticism from locals, with five objections received by the commission.

One of these complaints was lodged by Susanne Tongue, who argued the changes were “illogical, irrational and unreasonable”.

Speaking to Region earlier this year, Ms Tongue criticised the proposed move to transfer the suburbs of Forrest and Old Red Hill out of the Kurrajong district into the Murrumbidgee district, and said it would cause division in the Inner South community.

“It has to be recognised that the Inner South is a community of interest, [meaning] the shops, schools, churches, sporting groups and things of interest that join people together,” she said.

“You don’t want to do anything that splits up these communities and this is an example of splitting a community.”

As the objection lodged by Ms Tongue introduced matters that had not previously been raised in earlier submissions to the committee, a public hearing was held on 17 August to discuss these issues.

In its final decision, the commission argued a change in electoral boundaries would not diminish the socioeconomic links and sense of community within the Inner South suburbs.

“These bonds represent a significant community of interest in the inner south suburbs of Canberra. The establishment of an electoral boundary consistent with the Act will not, of itself, diminish these links. That is, the links are likely to remain irrespective of the drawing of electoral boundaries.”

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The commission also received two objections to the continuation of the arrangement whereby the Belconnen District suburbs of Giralang and Kaleen are included in the Gungahlin electorate of Yerrabi, rather than the Belconnen electorate of Ginninderra.

Submissions by Roz Chivers and Brett Goyne both objected to the change because it would not provide adequate political representation for the suburbs.

“If there is no option but to split the Belconnen electoral district, then the commission should be sharing the lack of representation around. Kaleen and Giralang do not deserve the ongoing neglect that we are seeing from the ACT Government and our so-called elected representatives,” Ms Chivers said.

However, the commission noted that the Belconnen district is too large to be contained within one electorate.

“The projected data indicated that the boundaries for the Belconnen District would exceed the allowable number of electors at the time of the next election, as stipulated by the Act.

“This dictates that, at a minimum, Belconnen District cannot be wholly contained within a single electorate. Some localities from the Belconnen District must be allocated to a neighbouring electorate.”

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The commission said the current and projected enrolment figures for Ginninderra and Yerrabi presented the opportunity to keep the boundaries of the two electorates unaltered. It also considered the fact the legislation “seeks to maintain a certain level of stability between redistribution”.

“Therefore, in the absence of submissions proposing a logical alternative to address the situation concerning Kaleen and Giralang … the Commission accepted the previous proposed boundaries put forth by the Committee for the Ginninderra and Yerrabi electorates.”

As the commission has now accepted the proposed changes, there are no further opportunities for public objection and the redistribution process will be formally completed.

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