1999 New South Wales Redistribution Final Report: Part Two

Updated: 7 December 2007

Proposed Redistribution of New South Wales into Electoral Divisions

Report of the Redistribution Committee

16 JULY 1999




Reasons for the proposed redistribution of the State of New South Wales

Statistical summary:

  • Determination of quota at 26 February 1999
  • Enrolment projections of existing Divisions at 30 June 2003
  • Summary of proposed Divisions


Four maps showing the proposed Electoral Divisions for New South Wales.

Compact Disc of Suggestions and Comments.

This report is published under Section 68 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918.


Direction for a redistribution of New South Wales Electoral Divisions

  1. Section 59 of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act) provides that a Redistribution of a State into electoral Divisions shall commence whenever the Electoral Commission so directs, and that the Commission must direct a Redistribution if a period of seven years has elapsed since the State was last distributed.
  2. New South Wales was last distributed on 31 January 1992. Accordingly, the Commission, by notice published in the Gazette on 26 February 1999, directed that a Redistribution commence in New South Wales.

Appointment of the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales

  1. In accordance with Section 60 of the Act, the Electoral Commission appointed the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales on 2 March 1999.
  2. The Redistribution Committee consists of the following members:
    • Electoral Commissioner: Mr Bill Gray AM
    • Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales: Ms Frances Howat
    • Surveyor-General of New South Wales: Mr Donald Grant AM
    • Auditor-General New South Wales: Mr Anthony Harris
  3. The Committee held its first meeting on 12 May 1999, and subsequently met on 20 May 1999, 9 June 1999 and 14 July 1999.

Invitation to submit Suggestions and Comments

  1. In accordance with Section 64 of the Act, the Electoral Commissioner invited written Suggestions and written Comments on those Suggestions by notices published in the Gazette, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph of 17 March 1999. This information was also available on the Commission's website, www.aec.gov.au.
  2. At the closing date on 16 April 1999, Suggestions had been received from:
    • Mr Ron Eagle
    • Mr Michael Secomb
    • Mr Murray Wilson
    • Mr Allan Wilcox
    • Tambaroora Community Action Group
    • Mr Greg Greening
    • Cr Genia McCaffery, Cr Michel Reynolds and Cr Andrew Gunter
    • Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division)
    • Mr Peter Andren MHR
    • National Party of Australia – New South Wales
    • Australian Labor Party – New South Wales Branch.
  3. The period during which Comments could be made on these Suggestions closed on 30 April 1999, and at that date Comments were received from:
    • P R & M H Beven
    • Mr Peter Thomas
    • Council of the City of Lithgow
    • Mr Jock Donaldson
    • Mr Greg Watson
    • Mrs Phyllis Jones
    • Proportional Representation Society of Australia – New South Wales Branch
    • Challenge Disability Services
    • Kempsey Shire Council
    • Cowper Electorate Council (National Party of Australia New South Wales)
    • Mr Peter Andren MHR
    • Mr Richard Burns
    • Mr John Burns
    • Mr Denis Yeo
    • Fr Paul Devitt
    • Bishop Patrick Dougherty
    • Ms Moira Reynolds
    • National Farmers Federation
    • Mrs Jean Collins
    • Ms Judy Jakins
    • Ms Fiona Nash
    • Liberal Party of Australia (New South Wales Division)
    • Central West Council of Adult and Community Education
    • Mr Garry Nehl MHR
    • National Party of Australia – New South Wales
    • Mr Brent Barlow
    • Australian Labor Party – New South Wales Branch
    • Evans Shire Council
    • Central West Community College and Central West Recruitment
    • Mr Larry Anthony MHR, Mr Ian Causley MHR, Mr Don Page MLA, Mr Thomas George MLA, Cr Alan Brown
    • Ms Thalia Sligar and 15 others
    • Ms Kay Hull MHR
    • Cr Michael Neall
    • Ms Heather Sams
    • Mr Tony Bowe
    • Mr Noel Toms
    • Ms Margaret & Mr Trevor Sheaves
    • Mr Bob Baldwin
    • Ms Bethany Langford
    • Ms Pamela Langford
    • New South Wales Farmers' Association.

Statutory requirements for the making of a proposed redistribution

  1. Section 66(1) of the Act requires the Redistribution Committee for New South Wales to make a proposed redistribution of the State.
  2. Sections 66(3) and 66(3A) of the Act prescribe that:
    1. In making the proposed redistribution, the Redistribution Committee:
      1. shall, as far as practicable, endeavour to ensure that, if the State or Territory were redistributed in accordance with the proposed redistribution, the number of electors enrolled in each Electoral Division in the State or Territory would not, at the projection time determined under section 63A, be less than 96.5% or more than 103.5% of the average divisional enrolment of that State or Territory at that time; and
      2. subject to paragraph (a), shall give due consideration, in relation to each proposed Electoral Division, to:
        1. community of interests within the proposed Electoral Division, including economic, social and regional interests;
        2. means of communication and travel within the proposed Electoral Division;
        1. the physical features and area of the proposed Electoral Division; and
        2. the boundaries of existing Divisions in the State or Territory;
        and subject thereto the quota of electors for the State or Territory shall be the basis for the proposed redistribution, and the Redistribution Committee may adopt a margin of allowance, to be used whenever necessary, but in no case shall the quota be departed from to a greater extent than one-tenth more or one-tenth less.
    1. A. When applying subsection (3), the Redistribution Committee must treat the matter in subparagraph (3)(b)(v) as subordinate to the matters in subparagraphs (3)(b)(i), (ii) and (iv).

Impact of the 1998 Amendments to the Commonwealth Electoral Act

  1. In 1998 amendments to Part IV of the Act changed the redistribution method by:
    • moving the time for striking the quota to the commencement of the redistribution process
    • introducing provision for the Commission to alter the projection time in which to achieve equality of enrolment when a further redistribution is expected before the usual seven years
    • altering the tolerance to be applied in achieving equality of electors at the projection time to 3.5%
    • requiring that consideration of the boundaries of existing Divisions be subordinate to the other criteria to be applied in the redistribution.


  1. At the end of 26 February 1999, the day the Commission directed that a Redistribution must commence, the number of electors enrolled for New South Wales was 4 110 100.
  2. In accordance with section 65(2) of the Act, the Electoral Commissioner determined that the quota of electors for New South Wales was 82 202 (4 110 100 divided by 50). In making its proposals for the State, the Redistribution Committee must propose Divisions whose enrolment is within 10% of the quota. In New South Wales, this margin is 73 982 to 90 422.

Enrolment projections

  1. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), using Commission enrolment data as the base, used a cohort-component method to project enrolment of each Census Collector District (CCD) to 30 June 2003. The Commission's Divisional Returning Officers (DROs) were asked to examine the ABS projections in the light of their local knowledge and experience, and adjust the projections where appropriate. DROs made use of information supplied by relevant local planning and statistical groups, as well as their own resources in undertaking this task. The Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales reviewed the projections, and any changes made by DROs, to ensure a consistency of approach.
  2. The projections were then available in hardcopy and on floppy disk to persons or organisations interested in using them as an indication of the likely growth in the State and as an aid to the preparation of Suggestions or Comments. An explanation of the methodology used by the ABS was supplied with the projections.
  3. The Act requires the Committee to propose boundaries so that at the projection time, the number of electors enrolled in each Electoral Division in the State would not be less than 96.5% or more than 103.5% of the average divisional enrolment of that State or Territory at that time.
  4. The projected total enrolment for New South Wales at 30 June 2003 is 4 392 223 and the average projected enrolment for the 50 Divisions at that time is 87 844. Applying the 3.5% tolerance to that average requires proposed Divisions to have a projected enrolment between 84 770 and 90 918.

Community of interests, means of communication and travel, physical features and area, and boundaries of existing Divisions

  1. The criteria set out in section 66(3)(b) of the Act – community of interests, means of communication and travel, physical features and area, and boundaries of existing Divisions – are subordinate to the two enrolment objectives discussed above. The boundaries of existing Divisions are subordinate to all other criteria. Within the constraints imposed by the numerical criteria and the other considerations, the Committee adopted the view that it is highly desirable for electoral boundaries to be readily identifiable and so sought to use local government boundaries, locality boundaries, main roads, waterways and other clearly discernible features as boundaries.

Technical procedures

  1. The Australian Electoral Commission maintains the electoral roll on the basis of alignment to CCDs, and thus is able to provide statistical data on enrolments and projected enrolments on this basis. Accordingly, in formulating its proposals, the Committee used the CCDs as its basic building block. New South Wales is divided into 11 618 CCDs as used at the 1996 Population Census. The CCDs each have defined boundaries and are of differing sizes and shapes. Where the Committee considered that a particular CCD boundary was inappropriate for an electoral Division boundary, the CCD was split to provide a more useful boundary.
  2. As an aid to the rapid development and testing of various boundary options, the Committee used the Australian Electoral Commission's Electoral Boundary Mapping System (EBMS) which was developed within the proprietary 'MapInfo' software package. EBMS was also made available for public use at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales and for parliamentarians at the Parliamentary Library, Canberra.

Suggestions and Comments

  1. When the period for the receipt of Suggestions closed on 16 April 1999, the Committee had received 11 Suggestions. Copies of these were made available for inspection at the office of the Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales from 19 April 1999. Photocopies of the Suggestions were also made available to interested persons and organisations.
  2. Four Suggestions covered most of the State. The remaining Suggestions were confined to local and regional issues.
  3. The Committee was pleased that most Suggestions took into account the Committee's statistical requirements while drawing attention to other features such as community of interest.
  4. The Committee received 41 written Comments relating to the Suggestions by the close of the Comments period on 30 April 1999.
  5. As required by section 64(4) of the Act, the Committee considered all of the Suggestions and Comments.

General strategy

  1. New South Wales has experienced further disparity in growth rates since 1992. Some metropolitan fringe areas continue to experience high initial development and there is substantial redevelopment fuelling moderate to high growth in some inner metropolitan areas. There is low growth forecast for many rural and regional areas.
  2. The current Redistribution differs from its predecessor in that there is no change in New South Wales' entitlement to Divisions. Although disparate growth rates mean that some Divisions require significant adjustment to meet the enrolment targets, the Committee is pleased to make a proposal that does not change the representation of either metropolitan or non-metropolitan New South Wales, as a regional breakdown of proposed Divisions shows.
  3. The Committee believes that Local Government Area (LGA) boundaries are appropriate indicators of community of interest, and have used them extensively. However, there are some LGAs that cannot be contained in one Division as they are above the enrolment quota. Natural features are considered to be clear boundaries, and the Committee has also made use of unambiguous built features, such as motorways, in defining electoral Divisions.

West of the Great Divide: New England, Gwydir, Parkes, Calare, Hume, Riverina, Farrer

  1. The Committee's proposal for these Divisions retains the delineation between inland and coastal Divisions. In the north, New England is currently 9.58% under quota and Gwydir is outside the permitted range at 10.58% under quota. The proposed New England contains 15 complete LGAs, and has a stronger identification with the New England region. The LGAs of Tenterfield, Inverell, Parry and Dumaresq are united in New England, whilst Merriwa and Gunnedah LGAs are united in Gwydir. The proposed Gwydir brings together other LGAs that share commonalities, such as having Bourke and Brewarrina in the same Division as Walgett and Coonamble.
  2. Dubbo remains the largest centre in a geographically smaller Parkes. Warren LGA is split between Gwydir and Parkes, but this is necessary to achieve quota. Bland LGA, linked by the Newell Highway to Forbes and Parkes, is united in the proposed Division of Parkes.
  3. The proposed Calare retains a central west flavour with Orange remaining the Division's largest centre, and the Division contains eight complete LGAs. Bathurst and Lithgow are also retained in Calare, and the Division does not cross the Blue Mountains in the East. In response to a suggestion from the Tambaroora Community Action Group, the township of Tambaroora is united with Hill End in Calare.
  4. The proposed Hume begins just south of Camden, providing a clear delineation between metropolitan and non-metropolitan Divisions. The Hume Highway acts as a spine for the Division, and Mulwaree LGA is united in Hume whilst Yarrowlumla LGA is united in Eden-Monaro.
  5. Riverina and Farrer required minimal changes to meet quota requirements and retain their current character. It is proposed to unite Wagga Wagga LGA in Riverina, which is a Division that still encompasses most of the Riverina region. Farrer gains Tumut LGA from Hume to meet quota and Albury remains its largest centre.

The North East: Richmond, Page, Cowper, Lyne, Paterson

  1. These proposed Divisions utilise strong natural boundaries in adjusting for the significant growth in New South Wales' northeast corner. Richmond, which is currently 17.12% over quota, has become more compact. The Committee has chosen to meet Richmond's numerical requirements by splitting Ballina LGA between Richmond and Page; the town of Ballina has strong links with Lismore and Casino, which remain in Page. The Clarence River between Grafton and Yamba is used as Page's south-eastern boundary.
  2. Cowper's largest centre, Coffs Harbour, is now the geographical centre of the proposed Division. Kempsey LGA is split but this is necessary to meet quota constraints. Changes to Lyne have allowed Hastings LGA to be united in Lyne and places the towns of Kempsey and Port Macquarie, which have strong links, in the proposed Division of Lyne.
  3. Paterson follows mostly LGA boundaries, and gains most of Great Lakes LGA, although the township of Nabiac remains in Lyne. Maitland LGA is still split but this is necessary for both Paterson and Hunter to meet quota.

Hunter and Central Coast: Hunter, Newcastle, Charlton, Shortland, Dobell, Robertson

  1. The proposed Hunter is more compact and homogeneous than currently. It no longer contains any part of Newcastle LGA or Lake Macquarie LGA. Charlton and Shortland will retain their characters as Divisions west and east of Lake Macquarie respectively. The village of Seahampton is to be included in Charlton and the necessary split of Charlestown follows a more robust boundary in the Pacific Highway. Wyong LGA must be split between Shortland and Dobell as it is projected to have more than 91 000 electors at 30 June 2003. Dobell required little other change, while there are no changes proposed to the Division of Robertson.

The South East: Cunningham, Throsby, Gilmore, Eden-Monaro

  1. Cunningham has acquired parts of Wollongong LGA from Hughes. Throsby's minimal changes have united some suburbs and Gilmore has maintained its standing as a coastal Division. Mulwaree LGA is now entirely in Hume, but Moss Vale remains in Gilmore. Eden-Monaro now contains eight complete LGAs, including a united Yarrowlumla, and has only experienced small changes.

Metropolitan North: Mackellar, Warringah, Bradfield, North Sydney

  1. The proposed Divisions north of the Harbour are coherent, with a clear divide between the Northern Beaches and the North Shore. Mackellar regains the suburbs of Davidson and Belrose from Bradfield, uniting them with the bulk of Warringah LGA. Warringah now utilises Pittwater Road as its boundary with Mackellar, thereby achieving the split of Dee Why in a neater fashion than currently is the case.
  2. Bradfield is proposed to become a fully North Shore Division, and Ku-ring-gai LGA is entirely contained within it. The southern boundary with North Sydney is clearer, using main roads and suburban boundaries. The proposed North Sydney now contains Hunters Hill LGA as well as retaining Lane Cove LGA, with which Hunters Hill has close ties.

Metropolitan North West: Berowra, Bennelong, Mitchell, Macquarie

  1. Berowra has become more uniform by gaining part of Hornsby LGA from Mitchell and the proposed Bennelong has well defined boundaries of main roads and LGA boundaries. The proposed Mitchell is fully within Baulkham Hills LGA whilst Macquarie contains all of Hawkesbury LGA and four of the five 'Macquarie towns'.

Metropolitan South East: Wentworth, Kingsford Smith, Sydney, Grayndler, Lowe, Banks, Barton, Blaxland, Watson, Cook, Hughes

  1. The proposed Wentworth and Kingsford Smith feature a clear boundary, while Woollahra LGA is united in Wentworth and South Sydney LGA is united in Sydney. Grayndler changes to absorb the surplus from Sydney, and minimal change has been proposed for Lowe.
  2. Blaxland, Banks and Watson required minimal change to achieve quota. A new feature is the use of King Georges Road, a major arterial road, as a strong boundary for these three Divisions. Cook is a clear coastal Division, whilst Hughes becomes fully inland but entirely metropolitan in ceding parts of Wollongong LGA to Cunningham.

Metropolitan West: Reid, Parramatta, Greenway, Chifley, Lindsay

  1. Olympic growth areas in Reid have led to a projected 17.54% growth rate. This growth is managed by using the M4 as a boundary and shifting part of Holroyd LGA to Parramatta, which will still contain both the Parramatta business district and the historic Parramatta settlements. The proposed Greenway and Chifley also use the M4 as their southern boundary, whilst Lindsay begins at the South Creek.

Metropolitan South West: Macarthur, Werriwa, Fowler, Prospect

  1. Macarthur is proposed to be mainly metropolitan, with the exception of the historic Macarthur settlements, and has decreased in area to come back into quota range. Werriwa now features strong boundaries based on LGA and suburban boundaries, and its enrolment starts quite low to accommodate the continuing high growth which is projected. The proposed Fowler contains all of suburban Liverpool, and Prospect will gain clear and unambiguous boundaries.

Names of proposed Divisions

  1. Naming of federal Divisions has been the subject of a number of recommendations from Parliamentary Committees. The subject was dealt with most recently by the 1995 Inquiry of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters into Redistributions. From these recommendations, there has developed a set of guidelines or conventions that have been used by Redistribution Committees. These guidelines were offered to interested persons in the advertising of this Redistribution.
  2. The Committee's deliberations have resulted in proposed Divisions that can be readily identified with the existing 50 Divisions. Three Suggestions proposed a change to Divisional names, however due to the lack of wholesale change to boundaries, the Committee proposes retention of the names of the existing Divisions.
  3. The Committee wishes to correct an error in the spelling of the name of the Division of Kingsford-Smith. Since its original proclamation, this Division had been spelt with a hyphen, however the Committee believes that as the Division is named for the aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who did not spell his name with a hyphen, that it would be appropriate for the Division to follow this spelling.

Bill Gray AM
Presiding Member

Frances Howat

Donald Grant AM

Anthony Harris


16 July 1999


Number of Divisions into which New South Wales is to be distributed 50
Number of electors enrolled in New South Wales 4 110 100
Quota for New South Wales 82 202
Permissible maximum number of electors (+10%) in a Division 90 422
Permissible minimum number of electors (-10%) in a Division 73 982
Number of Divisions into which New South Wales is to be distributed 50
Projected number of electors in New South Wales 4 392 223
Projected average enrolment for New South Wales 87 844
103.5% of projected average enrolment 90 918
96.5% of projected average enrolment 84 770