Tweed splits in two

By HUGH KEARNEY

IT'S official. Murwillumbah has left the Tweed - the Tweed electorate, that is.

So has Uki, Tyalgum, Chillingham, Kunghur, Stokers Siding and all localities between.

From March 2007, all these communities will be included under the umbrella of the electorate of Lismore.

Dungay, we're not so sure about.

The Electoral Districts Commissioners yesterday announced the final determination of electoral districts which will come into effect at the next New South Wales election to be held in 2007.

The redistribution of electoral districts was necessary to maintain the population variance allowed under law between electorates.

Population growth in the Tweed, especially along the coastal strip, has meant the Tweed was overdue for electoral boundary surgery.

The redistribution has virtually cut down through the centre of the Tweed electorate, consigning many Tweed Valley communities, west of the new boundary, to Lismore.

The new boundary basically follows Tomewin Road to Dungay, then follows creeks and roads to Condong.

It then skirts south and east around Murwillumbah, over the Burringbar Range and over to the coast.

While Condong, Burringbar, Upper Burringbar, Crabbes Creek, Nunderi, Kiel Vale and Fernvale remain in Tweed, Stokers Siding, Dunbible and Chowan Creek will move to Lismore.

But what about Dungay? Does the new line follow the road or the creek?

With the State Electoral Office (SEO) not answering their phones, the Daily News asked Tweed Shire Council staff if they could help shed any light on the placement of the small village in the new electoral arrangement.

Map-making staff were of the general opinion the line should follow Dungay Creek north of the village, while the SEO's convoluted official boundary description seemed to indicate it followed the road, splitting the tiny village.

Dungay resident Iris Baker said she is not sure whether the new boundaries place her house in Tweed or Lismore, but she wasn't worried.

"I think it goes behind my property along Dungay Creek, which would put me in Lismore, but if it follows the (Tomewin) road then I might be still in Tweed," she said.

"Either way, it makes no difference to me, I'm beyond worry," she said.

"I can't do anything about it, it comes from above.It's out of our hands, yours and mine."

Mrs Baker said she didn't care who her State representative was.

"You only hear from them at election time, and let's face facts. I'm 82 so I might not even be here for the next one."

Mrs Baker said she could recall some years ago when the boundary between the Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah elector- ates ran along Dungay Creek.

"The people in Dulguigan had to do an absentee vote to vote here," she said.

"I've seen a lot of changes and this is just another one."

Meanwhile, Tweed MP Neville Newell said he was very disappointed by the redistribution.

"Murwillumbah and the surrounding villages have no community of interest with Lismore or Kyogle which makes the decision very hard to understand," he said.

"I know the population numbers meant a redistribution had to occur but they could have gotten to right numbers by some other permutation.

"Murwillumbah has more of a community of interest with towns to the south, Mullumbimby and Ocean Shores - I can't understand how the Commissioners can justify the changes," he said.



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