Planned electoral boundary changes to trim Pilbara voters

Alicia PereraPilbara News
Labor's Pilbara candidate Kevin Michel.
Camera IconLabor's Pilbara candidate Kevin Michel. Credit: Pilbara News, Tom Zaunmayr

The State electoral boundaries of the Pilbara and North West Central districts are set to shift under proposed changes put forward by the WA Electoral Commission, with part of the East Pilbara likely to be rezoned into the Kimberley and North West Central to pick up Kalbarri.

The WAEC last week released its proposed boundaries in preparation for the 2021 State Election.

Under suggested changes for the Lower House, part of the Pilbara electorate — the northern Gibson Desert in the East Pilbara — would be rezoned into the Kimberley district, to increase its elector numbers which currently fall below the minimum threshold.

Both seats are currently held by Labor.

The proposed change would trim the number of Pilbara district voters by 135 people and, with WAEC data indicating the majority of those voted for Labor at the last election, could slightly reduce the party’s hold on the marginal Pilbara seat — which it won with just over 520 votes in 2017.

Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel declined to comment on whether or not he supported the WAEC boundary changes, noting they were only proposals at this stage.

He said his main focus was on delivering for constituents “regardless of where the Commissioner draws the line”.

The WAEC has also proposed the boundaries of the Nationals-held North West Central district should be expanded to include Kalbarri, currently part of the district of Moore, in response to low elector turnout numbers last election.

That change would add another 989 voters to North West Central and would likely strengthen the Nationals’ hold on the seat given almost half of Kalbarri’s formal votes in 2017 went to the Nationals.

North West Central MLA Vince Catania said he was pleased with the proposed change, although the addition of another town would make it more difficult to service what was already the State Parliament’s largest electorate by area.

“Towns like Kalbarri are very similar to the Gascoyne parts of the North West Central seat and I would welcome Kalbarri coming into the electorate,” he said.

Objections to the proposals close on August 26.

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