Australian Electoral Commission proposed changes to the Richmond electorate.
Australian Electoral Commission proposed changes to the Richmond electorate. Australian Electoral Commission

Nimbin loss is Nationals’ gain

LABOR and the Greens are lamenting the loss of Nimbin after it was removed from the federal electorate of Richmond following redistribution of NSW's electoral boundaries.

The Australian Electoral Commission last week released its draft redistribution boundaries for NSW following a decrease in the state's entitlement from 48 to 47 seats in the House of Representatives.

The draft proposal means that more than 19% of the state's voters will change from their current federal electoral division at the next poll, which must be held before January 2017.

Labor MP Justine Elliot, who has represented Richmond since 2004, said she would miss the more left-leaning area of Nimbin, which had been transferred to the neighbouring seat of Page.

The more conservative town of Ballina will now be included in Richmond under the draft changes.

"It has been an honour to represent the people of Nimbin and I'm very disappointed that the draft redistribution changes have nominated that Nimbin move into the Page electorate," Mrs Elliot said.

"Nimbin is an exciting eclectic community and I would very much like Nimbin to remain in the Richmond electorate."

Mrs Elliot said she was still considering whether to appeal the draft changes, with objections able to be lodged with the AEC until November 13.

Greens candidate for Richmond Dawn Walker said the party would challenge the loss of Nimbin.

"On a personal level it's sad to lose Nimbin because I've had a close relationship with many of the people there," Ms Walker said.

"It is one of the highest green votes in Australia. We'll be looking very carefully at the proposed changes and I'd love to see Nimbin in the seat."

However, both Mrs Elliot and Ms Walker welcomed Ballina to the fold, where the state MP is the Greens' Tamara Smith.

The inclusion of Ballina has been welcomed by the Nationals, with aspiring candidate Mathew Fraser expecting the change to favour his party.

Mrs Elliot defeated Mr Fraser at the 2013 poll, on the back of a strong preference flow from the Greens.

The Nationals are not due to pre-select their candidate until February next year.

In making its proposal, the AEC's Redistribution Committee considered enrolment numbers, public suggestions, communities of interest, communication and transport links, geographic or constructed features able to be used as readily identifiable electoral boundaries, and the current federal electoral boundaries.

Once a redistribution is final, the AEC automatically transfers existing elector enrolments to the correct electoral division.

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