Colac Otway Shire mayor Joe McCracken and Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson say they will object to the Australian Electoral Commission’s proposal to split the shire across two federal electorates.
The AEC is proposing to move Colac and northern parts of the shire into the electorate of Wannon.
But Apollo Bay, Birregurra and other towns would remain part of the electorate of Cox, formerly called Corangamite.
“I’m bitterly disappointed that parts of the Colac Otway Shire could potentially be moved into the Wannon electorate as part of the proposed electoral redistribution,” Cr McCracken said.
“With all due respect to our friends in the west, this proposed change will have a serious detrimental effect on our community,” he said.
“Our social and economic interests are inextricably linked with Geelong and the Surf Coast. Almost all of our shire’s strategic and collaborative partnerships are to our east, including the G21 network of councils.”
Colac and district has benefited in recent years from being part of Corangamite, which is a marginal electorate. Wannon has been a Liberal Party stronghold since 1955.
Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson said she would object to the draft boundaries and the re-naming of the Corangamite electorate.
“There is a very strong case for all of Colac Otway Shire to remain in the electorate,” she said.
“The city of Colac, in many respects, is the heart and soul of this federation seat. The communities of interest between Colac and Geelong, including the social and economic links, are exceptionally strong.
“Severing Colac from the electorate would leave the city isolated from the many organisations and communities it services, particularly in the agricultural, tourism, health and education sectors.
“It has been an honour to serve the people of Colac Otway and I hope I can continue to do so.
“As a federation seat, the electorate takes its name from Lake Corangamite, an aboriginal word meaning “salty lake”. Maintaining this aboriginal heritage and history is so important.”
Colac Otway Shire Council will also lodge a written objection to the redistribution report.
“We won’t just stand by and let Colac be transferred into the political wilderness,” Cr McCracken said.
“We will strongly resist this proposed boundary change, because it is clear that Colac Otway’s economic interest and indeed its economic future is in the booming Geelong region,” he said.
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.