2 February 2023

Time to have a say on ACT's Assembly electoral boundaries

| Ian Bushnell
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Damian Cantwell

ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell. Photo: Region.

The ACT’s elections agency needs to redraw the Territory’s Legislative Assembly electoral boundaries before the 2024 poll, but not before hearing from the community first.

ACT Electoral Commissioner Damian Cantwell has announced that public consultation process for the redistribution has officially begun.

He said the ACT Redistribution Committee was inviting suggestions for boundaries and names for the ACT’s five electorates of Brindabella, Ginninderra, Kurrajong, Murrumbidgee and Yerrabi.

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Any interested persons or organisations have until 28 February 2023 to make submissions to the Redistribution Committee. They will then be made available for public comment from 1 March 2023 until 14 March 2023.

After considering the public submissions, the Redistribution Committee will publish a proposed redistribution of the ACT into five electorates in mid-2023. People will then have 28 days to object to the proposed boundaries.

The Redistribution Committee consists of Mr Cantwell, Chief Planner Ben Ponton, ACT Surveyor-General Greg Ledwidge and the Director of Demography at Australian Bureau of Statistics, Beidar Cho.

Enrolments in each electorate must be within +/- 5% of the quota at the time of the next election. The quota for each electorate is a fifth of the ACT’s total enrolment.

The Redistribution Committee must also take account of the community of interests: economic, social and regional; means of communication and travel; the physical features and area of each proposed electorate; the boundaries of existing electorates; and the boundaries of suburban divisions and sections.

The ACT Electoral Commission provides a graphical boundary mapping tool on its website to allow users to define and submit their electorate boundaries and name suggestions online.

This is the Redistribution Committee’s preferred method for receiving submissions, although electronic or hardcopy written submissions may also be lodged with the Electoral Commission.

The Commission also provides projected enrolments and quotas for each suburb and district in 2024.

It will have to take account of the growth in Canberra’s new suburbs in the Molonglo Valley and Gungahlin, as well as the city and inner north. Enrolments are projected to fall in Tuggeranong, Woden, Weston Creek and Belconnen.

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In the last distribution in 2019, Yarralumla and Deakin left their inner south cousins in Kurrajong for the Woden and Weston Creek-based electorate of Murrumbidgee, but not before objections from Labor, and Kambah was split between Murrumbidgee and the southern electorate of Brindabella.

It will be interesting to see if Kambah remains divided.

In the north, Belconnen suburbs Giralang and Kaleen went to the mainly Gungahlin-based electorate of Yerrabi.

The electorate names did not change.

The ACT Legislative Assembly election will be held on 19 October 2024.

To learn more, visit the ACT Elections website.

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