Businesses push for boundaries to stay

Business groups and Maroondah Council have made a push to keep Deakin as is. Picture: AEC.

By Mikayla van Loon

With the federal electoral boundaries set to change in Victoria as at the next election, there’s been a push in one local government area to keep the boundaries the same.

Maroondah City Council and the Maroondah Business Group (MBG), who reside in the federal electorate of Deakin, put forward submissions to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to remain within this boundary.

Requesting the AEC to understand the importance of a geographical area like Maroondah to be represented by one member of parliament, MBG chair Jenny Newman submitted a suggestion on behalf of the group’s traders.

“Our organisation represents businesses in Maroondah City Council and surrounds, we have a vested interest in ensuring the most streamlined representation and advocacy. This is best achieved when we are able to advocate to a single member of parliament and one council,” Ms Newman told Star Mail.

“Matters like local planning, infrastructure and grants often gather a great deal of attention from Federal MP’s, their advocacy can be the difference between a project going ahead or not. Familiarity with a local MP helps provide a clear direction for the local area.”

MBG represents business across the two major trading centres of Ringwood and Croydon, as well as extending to Croydon North, Wonga Park, Warranwood, Park Orchards and Heathmont.

“Our vision is to unite the 9000 businesses in Maroondah through a shared purpose of business growth, promotion and sustainability,” the MBG submission reads.

Maroondah City Council put forward a similar submission, saying “Deakin currently meets and is projected to meet, the division elector threshold requirements both now and moving forward”

“Maroondah City Council is of the view that as a guiding principle, the Australian Electoral Commission should ensure that communities of interest are not split, and portions of the community are not disadvantaged through dislocation from natural/geographic/population centres of attraction.

“Council notes that the municipal City of Maroondah is fully enclosed within the current Deakin division, including the major activity centres of Ringwood and Croydon. This division enables the single federal representative for all constituents within the Maroondah community.”

Both entities commended the AEC on uniting the municipality under the one electoral boundary over the course of redistribution in 2018 and 2021.

“The AEC has worked well to unite Maroondah City Council into a single electorate over the past two redistributions, this has resulted in better representation for local businesses,” Ms Newman said.

“MBG and in the past Ringwood and Croydon Chambers have submitted our views which we believe has contributed to better electoral boundaries for our area.”

Under Labor’s proposal, the abolishment of Casey would see the Deakin electorate expand to cover other major centres like Lilydale, Mooroolbark and Kilsyth.

MBG also made the suggestion that should Deakin grow its current borders, to encapsulate the townships of Wonga Park and/or Park Orchards because of the connections already established by physical linkages like Warrandyte State Park and Mullum Mullum Creek.

Maroondah City Council and Manningham Council were the only two to make submissions in the state, with 63 suggestions submitted in total to the AEC.

Yarra Ranges Council is said to be discussing its position on the redistribution, including the potential abolishment of Casey.