Make sure objections are valid

The Colac and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry board will oppose the AEC’s proposed boundary changes. From right, Alana Pittard, Kane Leerson, Alex McKenzie, Ernie Andres, Heather Reid, Darren Milverton, Peter Shaw and Michael Menzies.

Objections to moving Colac into a different federal electorate might be invalid if they focus on wanting to stay in a marginal seat, a business leader says.

Colac and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Ernie Andres said the Australian Electoral Commission’s proposal, which would see 12,000 voters move from what is currently the electorate of Corangamite into Wannon, would be “detrimental” for Colac.

But he said residents’ desire to retain Colac’s location in a marginal seat – perceived as contributing to an increase in federal funding for projects – was unlikely to sway the commission’s planned redistribution.

“I don’t think they’d look at it favourably; by saying we’re a marginal seat because we’re only out to get something by being a marginal seat. It’s the wrong way to approach it,” Mr Andres said.

Corangamite will be renamed Cox under the proposal and have its boundaries significantly redrawn, no longer including Colac or Beeac.

Liberal MP Sarah Henderson won Corangamite by a narrow margin of 3.9 per cent at the 2016 federal election. Dan Tehan won Wannon, considered a safe Liberal seat, by 10.1 per cent in 2016.

Mr Andres said the Colac and District Chamber of Commerce would instead submit an objection based on Colac’s strong economic and community ties to Geelong and the Surf Coast.

“The people who don’t shop here go to Geelong. They don’t go to Warrnambool to shop,” Mr Andres said.

He said Warrnambool was “its own regional centre” that “looks after itself”.

“If anything happened, they’re not going to worry about Colac,” Mr Andres said.

“We are connected with G21, with Geelong and all the associations there, and I think that will be in jeopardy if this happens.”

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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