Mayor Joe McCracken disappointed with AEC boundary decision
June 20, 2018
Colac Otway Shire Mayor Joe McCracken said he was surprised and disappointed the Australian Electoral Commission had pushed ahead with its decision to split the Council into two Federal Electorates.
“I’m extremely frustrated that Colac and our northern towns including Beeac and Cressy will now fall within the Wannon electorate – an electorate that now envelops no less than 10 local government areas,” he said.
“We had a strong position that we didn’t want Colac Otway Shire split up into two electorates and that our advocacy and representation as a Council would be best served if we remained wholly in Corangamite.
“This decision means our biggest community, Colac, will be represented federally as part of the same electorate as Warrnambool, Hamilton, Ararat, Port Fairy and other neighbours to our west.”
Cr McCracken said Colac Otway Shire enjoyed great relationships with other councils and towns to its west, but strategically Colac had much more in common with Geelong and the Bellarine.
“Clearly, we’ve put a lot of energy into G21, the Princes Highway duplication to Geelong and a range of other strategic work aimed at maximising opportunity for Colac in partnership with its eastern neighbours,” he said.
“I suppose there is some comfort that Birregurra, Apollo Bay, Forrest, Wye River and our other communities south and east of Colac will continue to fall in the Corangamite electorate and benefit from the strategic work we will continue in the Geelong area, but for Colac to now be outside that collaborative effort is disappointing.”
Cr McCracken said the Council had provided an alternative to the AEC, but ultimately the decision was out of the Council’s hands and from July 13 the new Wannon boundary would include Colac.
“Obviously we’ll work hard with the Member for Wannon to make sure all our communities that leave Corangamite and become part of Wannon are well represented,” he said.
“Over the next few weeks and months, we’ll get a better understanding of what Wannon can do for us and how we can minimise the impact of this decision for Colac and our other impacted communities.”