Electoral Newsfile 82: 1999 Redistribution of Federal Electoral Boundaries - Proposal for NSW Announced

Updated: 5 December 2007

On 26 February 1999, the Electoral Commission directed that a Redistribution of electoral Divisions commence in New South Wales. The redistribution process was outlined in Electoral Newsfile number 80.

Section 66 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 requires the Redistribution Committee to divide the State into electoral Divisions by meeting statistical requirements, so that, as nearly as practicable, each Division has the same number of electors. In developing its proposal, the Redistribution Committee must take into account communities of interest, communication and transport links, natural features and current boundaries.

Following a public consultation process, which resulted in 11 suggestions and 41 comments on those suggestions, the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales has announced its proposal for the names and boundaries of 50 Federal Electoral Divisions in New South Wales.

The proposed Divisions

The enrolment statistics and projections for New South Wales show that growth has been uneven across the State. Growth rates of more than 10% are projected for the current Divisions of Dobell, Eden-Monaro, Macarthur, Mitchell, Reid, Richmond, Sydney and Werriwa. The remainder of the State is projected to grow at less than 10%.

In developing the proposed Redistribution, the Redistribution Committee has recognised local government areas as appropriate indicators of communities of interest. Particular attention has been paid to transport and communication links across and between communities. Geographical features, such as main roads, waterways and mountain ranges, have been used to ensure that the electoral boundaries are readily identifiable. Finally, since the State's entitlement remains at 50 Divisions, the Redistribution Committee has sought to minimise the number of electors being moved from one Division to another. Under the proposed Redistribution, about 430 000 electors (less than 11%) would be moved from their current Divisions.

Redistribution Committee Members

Electoral Commissioner Mr Bill Gray AM

Australian Electoral Officer Ms Frances Howat for New South Wales

Surveyor-General Mr Donald Grant AM of New South Wales

Auditor-General Mr Anthony Harris New South Wales

Under this proposal, the North Coast is redistributed using only local government boundaries on the western side and, where possible, complete local government areas. Where the statistical requirements of the Act make it impossible to follow local government boundaries, strong geographical features have been adopted, for example, the Clarence River between the Divisions of Page and Cowper, and the Macleay River between the Divisions of Cowper and Lyne.

The proposed boundaries for the Divisions of New England, Gwydir, Parkes, Calare, Riverina, Farrer, Hume, Eden-Monaro and Gilmore also make extensive use of local government boundaries.

A clear delineation is proposed between the Sydney metropolitan Divisions and non-metropolitan Divisions. The Hawkesbury River provides a natural boundary between the Sydney metropolitan area and the Central Coast. The Blue Mountains form a natural boundary with the Central West. In the South-West and South, the Nepean River and the Sutherland Shire boundary offer clear divisional boundaries. The highly localised growth in the Sydney metropolitan area has been addressed while minimising the movement of electors from their current Divisions.

Maps outlining the proposed Divisions and a statistical summary of each Division are included in this Newsfile.

Names of proposed Divisions

The Redistribution Committee believes that the proposed Divisions are readily identifiable with existing Divisions. It has therefore proposed that current Divisional names be retained, while correcting the spelling of the Division of Kingsford-Smith, by removing the hyphen.

Further information

The proposed Redistribution was advertised in the Commonwealth Gazette, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph on Friday 16 July 1999.

The Redistribution Committee's detailed report, including maps, was published on 16 July 1999. The Report is available for inspection at all Divisional Offices of the Australian Electoral Commission in New South Wales, at the Commission's Head Office in each capital city and the Central Office in Canberra.

For the address of the nearest Australian Electoral Commission office, please ring 13 23 26 (cost of a local call). Copies of the report are available from the office of the:

Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales
Level 6 Roden Cutler House
24 Campbell Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: (02) 9375 6302
Fax: (02) 9281 9384

Further public consultation

Objections to the Redistribution Committee's proposed boundaries and names must be lodged at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales by 6pm on Friday 13 August 1999.

These objections will be available for public inspection at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales from 9am on Monday 16 August 1999.

Comments on any objections must be received at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales by 6pm on Friday 27 August 1999.

All objections and comments will be considered by the augmented Electoral Commission, which consists of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Hon Trevor Morling QC, the non-judicial Commissioner, Mr Bill McLennan AM, Australian Statistician, and the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales.

The augmented Electoral Commission may hold public hearings and, if necessary, will make a revised proposal. The augmented Commission will also consider any further objections lodged in response to a revised proposal, and will then make a final determination of Divisional boundaries and names.

Details of the determination will be published and tabled in Federal Parliament. The final determination is not subject to appeal. The new boundaries will come into effect at the next General Election.

What is a redistribution?

A redistribution is a redrawing of electoral boundaries to ensure that, as nearly as is practicable, there are the same number of electors in each Division within a State or Territory.

A quota is used to determine the number of Divisions to which each State and Territory is entitled. At the time of a Redistribution, the number of people enrolled in each new electoral Division may not vary from the State average by more than 10%. The boundaries are drawn so that after 3.5 years (30 June 2003 for New South Wales), the number of people enrolled in each Division should not vary from the State average by more than 3.5%.

What causes a redistribution?

The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 defines three triggers that can cause a redistribution. A redistribution is held when:

  1. there is a change in the State or Territory's entitlement to Members of the House of Representatives; or
  2. the number of electors in more than one-third of the Divisions in a State or in one of the ACT Divisions deviates from the average Divisional enrolment by more than 10 percent in three consecutive months; or
  3. seven years has elapsed since the State or Territory was last redistributed.

Previous New South Wales redistributions

New South Wales was last redistributed in 1992, when the State's entitlement was reduced from 51 Members of the House of Representatives to 50.


Outline Maps showing the proposed Electoral Divisions for New South Wales can be viewed here:

AEC Contacts

Central Office

Electoral Commissioner
(02) 6271 4400
Bill Gray

Deputy Electoral Commissioner
(02) 6271 4410
Andy Becker

Director, Information
(02) 6271 4415
Brien Hallett

Assistant Director, Information
(02) 6271 4431
Silvana Puizina

Editor, Newsfile
(02) 6271 4505
Margaret Meneghel

State/Territory Head Offices
The administration of federal elections in each State and Territory is under the control of the Australian Electoral Officer (AEO) for that State or Territory.

AEOs may be contacted on the following numbers.
New South Wales
Frances Howat
Ph. (02) 9375 6333
Fx. (02) 9281 9384
South Australia
Geoff Halsey
Ph. (08) 8237 6555
Fx. (08) 8231 2664
David Muffet
Ph. (03) 9285 7171
Fx. (03) 9285 7178
Alex Stanelos (Acting)
Ph. (03) 6235 0500
Fx. (03) 6234 4268
Bob Longland
Ph. (07) 3834 3400
Fx. (07) 3831 7223
Northern Territory
Kathy Mitchell (Acting)
Ph. (08) 8981 1477
Fx. (08) 8981 7964
Western Australia
Andrew Moyes
Ph. (08) 9470 7299
Fx. (08) 9472 3551

Redistribution Secretariat contacts

Wayne Seymour
Ph. (02) 6271 4688

New South Wales
Kate Sullivan
Ph: (02)9375 6302

Further information
The AEC produces a range of information materials for political parties, journalists and other people interested in the electoral process.

These are available from all AEC offices or call 13 23 26 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call.

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