CORANGAMITE federal member Sarah Henderson has not expanded on her criticisms of the proposed changes to her electorate, but has encouraged anyone with concerns to raise them with the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC).
Under the changes, Corangamite will be renamed to Cox and its borders will change significantly – the electorate will lose the city of Colac and the northern part of the Colac Otway Shire as well as the Geelong suburbs of Highton and Belmont, but it will gain the rest of the Bellarine Peninsula.
The Liberal Party will object to the draft boundaries and the renaming.
In a statement on April 8, Ms Henderson laid out several reasons she was against the changes, including the removal of Colac from the electorate and that the new name of Cox “has already prompted some ridicule on social media”.
However, on Friday, Ms Henderson declined an opportunity to explain her reasons further.
“I’m probably not going to say too much more other than what I’ve said in my statement,” she said.
“Ostensibly, we’ve raised concerns about the new boundaries and also about the name.
“In order for the AEC to consider any changes to what’s proposed, it needs to be very community-led.
“The inherent isolation of Colac, the breaking of the community of interest between Colac and other towns is obviously concerning many people in Colac already, and we’ve also got some other concerns and the Liberal Party will be making a submission.
“But I certainly encourage anyone who has concerns to make a submission to the AEC, including the many organisations who will be affected.”
New Parliamentary rules allow MPs with very large electorates to open a second office, and Ms Henderson opened her second office in Colac on April 9.
Ms Henderson said she had committed to open the office and did not believe it was premature to do so with the electorate’s boundaries under discussion.
“I am very proud to represent Colac and we’ve done some very important work, including the duplication of the Princes Highway.
“It’s a great opportunity and I hope very much that the office is there to stay.”
The AEC will accept objections about the proposal until May 4, and will publish its final determination on the matter on July 13.