Massive population growth in Melbourne’s north and north-west has driven changes to state electoral boundaries announced last week.
A new electorate called Sunbury has been created, looking remarkably similar to the old Tullamarine electorate which Liberal Bernie Finn lost to Labor’s Liz Beattie in 1996.
The new seat brings a much larger Sunbury back into the fold with Gladstone Park.
It also includes Tullamarine and Westmeadows, syphoned off from the more northern seat of Yuroke, which Ms Beattie now holds after Tullamarine was abolished in 2002.
Diggers Rest, Wildwood and Clarkefield will also join Sunbury.
The change has left Yuroke with a smaller boundary, keeping Greenvale, Craigieburn, Mickleham, Attwood and Oaklands Junction.
Mill Park, Thomastown and Yan Yean electorates remain relatively unchanged.
Under the changes, 1,068,389 electors (29.27 per cent of voters) will be in different electoral districts. Fifteen electorates have been abolished and 15 created.
There are big changes to the seat of Macedon, which loses Sunbury but gains Kyneton, Daylesford and Trentham. Now it includes Malmsbury, Taradale, Barfold, Toolern Vale, Coimadai and Blackwood.
Sunbury resident Lawrence Seyers wanted to see its special characteristics recognised by having its own electorate. “It’s a different growth area to others . . . Sunbury is neither a metropolitan nor country area,” he said.
“I thought a unique identity was best reflected in its own electorate. It puts Sunbury in a good position to advocate for Sunbury projects.”
Labor Party sources say that, based on the margins in the 2010 state election, the new seat of Sunbury stands to have a 4-5 per cent margin in Labor’s favour.
“Both parties will need to get their pre-selections done quickly to start campaigning for next year’s election,” the sources told the Weekly.
Ms Beattie, a Roxburgh Park resident, is believed to be undecided whether to take on a new term, while former Hume mayor Ros Spence, a Greenvale resident, is said to be ready to sign up for Labor’s pre-selection contest.
Long-time Macedon MP Joanne Duncan has still not declared her plans, but the pressure will be on for the popular local to stave off a predicted stoush with arch-rival Donna Petrovich, who is believed to be working with federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt following her defeat in the federal poll for the seat of McEwen.
The new boundaries will come into effect at next year’s state election on November 29.