Rainbow gone, Tiaro back in shock electoral shake-up
THE "biggest shake-up of electoral boundaries in 30 years” has left residents "gob-smacked” and de-stabilised politics across Gympie region and beyond.
Rainbow Beach will be part of Noosa, Tiaro cut off from Maryborough and Callide electorate has been banished from Gympie region's western areas.
Kilkivan and Widgee are now proposed to be part of Gympie and further west, Goomeri and Booubyjan communities will be part of Nanango electorate.
Other western communities now proposed for inclusion in Nanango include Tansey, Cinnabar, Black Snake, Wrattens Forest, Manumbar, Elgin Vale, Barambah, Manyung, Goomeribong, Boonara and parts of Windera, Crownthorpe and Johnstown.
Gympie will now take in Mudlo, Kilkivan, Oakview, Woolooga, Lower Wonga, Sexton, Bells Bridge and Widgee.
Cooran and Pomona district communities have been split between Nicklin and Noosa and, much more sensibly, near-Gympie districts from Curra, Corella and Neerdie to Bauple, Bauple Forest and Theebine have been included in Gympie, under the draft boundary proposals intended to imitate the Gympie Regional Council local government boundary.
Other communities going south on the electoral map include Kin Kin, Pinbarren, Cootharaba, Ringtail Creek and Como.
Pomona, part of Lake Macdonald and Federal and Cooroy will go mostly to Nicklin.
Gympie will also gain most of Tiaro, Talegalla Weir and Munna Creek, a new section north of Tin Can Bay, along with Gundiah, Gootchie, Paterson, Glen Echo, Miva, Glenwood, Kanigan, Gunalda, Scotchy Pocket and Anderleigh.
But the strongest reaction came from Rainbow Beach, which will be an isolated colony of Noosa, cut off from Tin Can Bay and the rest of the Cooloola Coast.
"We're gob-smacked,” said shop owner and business identity Sandy Brosnan.
And MP Tony Perrett said he had been contacted by a lot of residents who agreed.
Shock waves reverberated across Queensland when the new draft boundaries were officially released today.
The Queensland Electoral Commission announced that the redistribution was intended to draw on excess population to the south and create an electorate that would be within reach of the state quota for years to come, without any probable redistribution soon.
Western areas of the Gympie region local government area, now part of Callide, held for the LNP by Jeff Seeney, will now be partly taken over by Nanango, held also for the LNP by Opposition deputy leader Deb Frecklingon.
They include Tansey, Cinnabar and Goomeri.
"Tiaro will be part of Gympie state electorate, despite its general links to Maryborough.”
And it appears Cooran and Pomona districts are likely to be split between Nicklin and Noosa electorates at state level.
The changes make more sense in some areas than others, according to local comment yesterday.
But Gympie MP Tony Perrett was aghast at a boundary running effectively between Cooloola Cove and Rainbow Beach.
The proposed changes mean Rainbow Beach will be almost a model of West Berlin during the Cold War, an isolated outpost of Noosa, effectively surrounded by Gympie.
The beach township, along with parts of Cooloola Cove and its closely linked Inskip Point recreation and camping area, will be included in distant Noosa, despite being separated by kilometres of wilderness and having almost no community of interest with the distant resort centre.
Electoral Commission Queensland documents say population changes have been the main driver of the proposed changes.
Another aim was to follow local authority boundaries wherever possible.
It also aimed to create boundaries that would anticipate future population movements, so that another redistribution would not been needed in the near future.
Although the electorate now has more people than its quota, under a system designed to reflect one vote-one value principles (with a weighting for some larger remote electorates), estimates are that it will move closer to the quota as population growth moves steadily northwards and alters the proportion of the state's population living in various electorates.
"The proposed electorate has 35,462 electors, which is 6.93% above quota and is predicted to have 38,543 electors by 2023, which would be 4.57% above quota,” the commission says.
Both figures are within the variation allowed under electoral guidelines.
The draft proposals are still subject to a public submission and consultation period before being subject to a final draft for presentation to parliament for further debate before becoming law.
Major political parties have responded quickly to the new proposed boundaries, with both the ALP and the LNP pledging to work with the recommended boundaries.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the boundaries, recommended by an independent review panel working with ECQ, "may alter the electorate that thousands of Queenslanders belong to”.
"But it does not change my government's commitment to Queenslanders,” she said.
"At the insistence of the LNP, four new electorates have been added.
"The next election, due in almost 12 months, will be contested on 93 electorates,” she said.
Opposition leader Tim Nicholls described it as "the biggest shake-up of electoral boundaries in 30 years”.