In perhaps the most anticipated exercise of drawing lines on a map in recent Queensland history, the Queensland Redistribution Commission is finalising its Proposal for the Redistribution of Queensland’s State Electoral Boundaries.
Originally slated for December 2016, we can now expect its release by late February, 2017.
There will be an increase in the number of electorates from 89 to 93 and because of population growth in Queensland over the past seven years; the numbers of electors in each area will climb to around 32,500 electors on average.
Except for the Far West and Far North, the electorates must be equal within a tolerance of 10 per cent – so high growth areas will tend to be around 29,500 electors whilst more stable, or areas experiencing population decline, will be set at around 35,750 electors. This is to ensure that they remain within the tolerance for the next seven years.
The growth areas are around Cairns, Whitsunday, Sunshine Coast, outer northern Brisbane, northern Gold Coast and Springfield, with three of the four seats likely going to the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich regions.
The location of the final seat seems to be a toss-up between somewhere in North Queensland or North Brisbane, with North Brisbane more likely – with every other boundary ‘sliding up’ the coast.
The electoral district of Indooroopilly is the one to watch in Brisbane, as it is the only district to span both sides of the river. Should it get squeezed to north of the river only, the knock-on impacts across Brisbane will be fascinating.
Historically, not much changes following the release of the proposed boundaries, however, interested parties have 30 days to make objections.
There is a short, 10-day period for comments on the objections once published, and then, 60 days after the closing date for objections, the boundaries are finalised.
If the timetable holds, this would be sometime in May.