The upper section of Murray-Darling election will be absorbed into Barwon, while the remainder becomes part of the new Murray electorate.By Jess Craig
Things could get confusing for voters following the creation of the new NSW electorate of Murray.
Moama and Mathoura residents will be voting in Murray in the 2015 NSW election, while across the river in Echuca, residents have just voted in Murray in the federal election.
The draft plans to abolish Murray-Darling and Murrumbidgee to make way for a new Sydney electorate were gazetted by NSW Governor Marie Bashir last week.
The reconfiguration has been made to accommodate population growth in inner Sydney, with a new seat of Newtown to be created.
The decision leaves Member for Murray-Darling John Williams without a seat and facing a decision about his future.
The upper section of Murray-Darling will be absorbed into Barwon, while the remainder becomes part of the new Murray electorate.
Mr Williams lives in Broken Hill, which will be moved in to Barwon, now set to become the biggest seat in NSW.
‘‘It’s really a matter of wait and see.
‘‘There’s also an option to attempt pre-selection in the upper house, as western NSW doesn’t currently have representation in the legislative council.’’
The new Murray electorate will incorporate Murray, Deniliquin, Conargo, Wakool, Berrigan, Wentworth, Balranald, Griffith, Leeton, Carrathool, Hay and Murrumbidgee council areas.
Mr Williams criticised the new Murray name, saying it was ‘‘highly unoriginal’’ and likely to lead to confusion for voters.
‘‘You’ve got a Murray in Victoria in federal politics and now a Murray in NSW in state politics,’’ he said.
‘‘As if things weren’t confusing enough for people.’’
Mr Williams said he was ‘‘extremely disappointed’’ a rural seat had been sacrificed for the sake of a new metropolitan seat.
‘‘I understand there’s a similar scenario facing (Member for Rodney) Paul Weller and that’s very disappointing,’’ he said.
‘‘It comes down to representation and the fact there’s one less rural voice in State Government.
‘‘Once the boundaries commission gets an idea in its head, it seems very unlikely that they’ll waiver from it, despite submissions or outcry from communities.’’
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli will also be left without a seat as Murrumbidgee will be absorbed by the new seat of Murray and the reconfigured seat of Cootamundra, formerly the seat of Burrinjuck.
Mr Piccoli, who was the local member when Deniliquin was part of Murrumbidgee, said he was yet to decide which seat — Murray or Cootamundra — to stand for.
‘‘This is a stupid decision to turn three western NSW seats into two seats. It didn’t need to happen,’’ Mr Piccoli said.
The draft boundary maps were made available to the public in June this year and 258 submissions were received, with a public inquiry held in August.
In 2015, each electorate must have between 47,493 and 58,047 voters.
NSW electoral boundaries last changed in 2004 and were in place for 2007 and 2011 NSW elections.
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