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WA Opposition Leader Shane Love slams proposal to scrap North West Central electorate

Jamie ThannooMidwest Times
Opposition Leader Shane Love
Camera IconOpposition Leader Shane Love Credit: The West Australian

WA Nationals leader Shane Love has described a proposal by Labor to have the electorate of North West Central split in part in favour of an additional metropolitan seat as an attempt to “gerrymander” the electoral map.

The North West Central electorate, which encompasses the Gascoyne and stretches out the border with South Australia and the Northern Territory, has been held by the Nationals since 2009, with Merome Beard becoming its representative after winning a by-election in 2022.

Under a proposal put forward by Labor to the Western Australian Electoral Commission’s electoral boundaries review, the seat would be broken up with different areas joining the seats of Kimberley, Pilbara, Kalgoorlie, Moore and Central Wheatbelt, and in exchange a seat would be created in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

The proposal argues North West Central’s 11,000 voters, are over-represented at the cost of metropolitan voters.

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The two seats of Swan Hills and Darling Range, which would be become three seats under the proposal, represent more than 60,000 voters in comparison.

“Lower elector numbers in districts in northern Western Australia must be addressed,” the Labor proposal says.

“The significant number of metropolitan districts with higher-than-average enrolments also needs to be remedied.”

The Nationals have opposed this proposal which they have said would diminish regional voices.

‘What they’re really doing is trying to manipulate, to gerrymander, to do away with a seat that ensures those Gascoyne and Mid West areas that are so sparse and so difficult to represent can’t just be hived off into other electorates where they will be largely forgotten,” Mr Love said.

Mr Love argued that through more minor adjustments to regional and metropolitan boundaries, the electorates could meet their quotas for voter numbers without removing the North West Central seat.

“It’s clear that it can be managed, there’s no need to abolish any regional seats,” he said.

Shadow electoral affairs minister and Nationals MLA Mia Davies said this of Labor: “They are a city-centric party and the submission to the WA Electoral Commission prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

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