A PANEL has heard from concerned residents and representatives from leading political parties about proposals to shift electoral boundaries which could see Lord Howe Island rezoned from Port Macquarie into Sydney.
A public hearing was held in Sydney on April 30 and included statements by representatives from the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch), The Greens NSW, the NSW Nationals, and the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division).
More than 34 submissions were received over the proposal to move Lord Howe Island from the Port Macquarie electoral district to Sydney.
Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams is leading the battle to keep Lord Howe Island within her electorate. Mrs Williams made a submission to "strongly oppose this proposed change".
A report suggested moving Lord Howe Island into the Sydney electorate was "reflecting both the practicalities of contemporary travel and the electoral arrangements at the federal level".
"The redistribution panel notes that QantasLink offers year-round scheduled services to Lord Howe Island, with flights departing from Sydney on most days," the report states.
The Electoral Districts Redistribution Panel will now consider the submissions made in the course of Friday's public hearing, together will all the submissions lodged in late-2020 and the comments on those submissions, in preparation of a revised determination of the names and boundaries of electoral districts.
The Electoral Act provides that, if the Panel considers that the revised determination is not significantly different from the published draft, the Panel will finally determine names and boundaries. If, however, the Panel is of the opinion that the revised determination will be significantly different from the draft determination, another round of public consultation will take place.
A spokesperson said the Panel is aware of the support of many Lord Howe Island electors to remain within the electoral district of Port Macquarie, and not be transferred to the electoral district of Sydney.
In other proposed moves, Telegraph Point, Blackmans Point and The Hatch would shift from the Port Macquarie electorate and into Oxley.
There is no legislated timeframe for this part of the redistribution process.
"While the needs of individual electoral districts and the communities within them are considered and wherever possible taken into account, the Panel must have a whole-of-state perspective so that districts have approximately the same number of electors," said Hon. Arthur Emmett AO QC, Chairperson of the Panel.
Final determination of electoral district names and boundaries will apply at the March 2023 New South Wales general election.
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