Federal Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson believes there needs to be changes to the way electorates are distributed to stop regional electorates such as O’Connor and Durack from getting bigger.
Mr Wilson said the trend of falling population in regional areas meant that regional seats were having to increase their geographical size to accommodate the principle of one vote, one value.
As a result at the last redistribution in 2016, the Shire of Collie in the South West region was added to the electorate of O’Connor, which already included Albany, Esperance and Kalgoorlie-Boulder, to maintain the population level in the electorate.
Despite numerous objections, the Australian Electoral Commission stated in 2016 that it wasn’t possible to keep Collie grouped with other South West towns in the electorate of Forrest.
Mr Wilson said having such large geographical electorates with a diverse range of interests and needs made the job difficult.
“There’s no question that if you live in a metropolitan electorate where everyone had a house on a quarter-acre block ... it would probably be much easier to service,” he said.
“My communities range from farming communities to fishing communities [and] from mining communities to remote indigenous communities.
“It’s an incredibly diverse range of industries and incredibly diverse range of constituents that all have different requirements and different issues.”
Mr Wilson said he felt high population growth areas should be divided among the electorates, in an effort to balance their respective geographical sizes.
He said he felt the Augusta-Margaret River region should be included within O’Connor, while giving up some smaller towns to surrounding electorates.
“My submission will give the regional seats access to some high population growth areas so that we’re not constantly getting bigger in size,” he said.
WA’s electorates aren’t due for redistribution until 2023.