By Shelby Brooks
The township of Pakenham will once again have its own MP in State Parliament with the resurrection of the seat of Pakenham, if proposed changes by the Victorian Electoral Boundaries Commission (EBC) are approved.
A seat of Pakenham existed between 1992 and 2002, represented by Liberal MP Rob Maclellan but was abolished when the districts of Bass and Gembrook were formed.
The newly proposed Electoral District of Pakenham will include Dewhurst, Pakenham Upper and part of Beaconsfield Upper in the north and Officer South, Cardinia, Pakenham South and Rythdale in the south as well as the ever expanding townships of Pakenham and Officer.
Currently, Bass MP Jordan Crugnale represents part of Pakenham but changes to the Bass seat would also see her lose Inverloch to the district of Gippsland South and Clyde North to a new Berwick district.
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale said “significant changes” were proposed given Bass had the highest number of voters of any state electorate, with over 70,000.
Gembrook current encompasses Officer and the other part of Pakenham but it will be abolished to make way for the two new electorate districts of Berwick and Pakenham.
The proposed Berwick seat would encompass Beaconsfield Upper, Harkaway, Guys Hill, Berwick, Beaconsfield and Clyde North.
Current Gembrook MP Brad Battin said growth in the area in recent years had left MPs across the south-east metropolitan region struggling.
“It would appear, no more Gembrook!” he told Star News on Wednesday 30 June.
“First of all, it’s good for the area because it does give us more representation which I think is a good thing with the growth we’ve had.
“I know, I and other MPs, have a challenge with so many constituents. It becomes more difficult to represent them fairly so I think that is a positive for the area.”
The northern end of the current Gembrook electorate is being absorbed by the Monbulk seat and Officer and Pakenham townships will be represented by the new Pakenham seat.
“These are proposed draft boundaries, so they can change, but they don’t usually change much- this is roughly where it will end up,” Mr Battin said.
“I don’t think anyone predicted it to go as south into Clyde North but that’s where it is and that’s fine, and I don’t think anyone predicted Officer to come out of it either.”
Mr Battin said he would be sticking to his Berwick roots in next year’s election.
“For me personally, it’s a challenge because they’re abolishing my seat but I’m born and bred and lived in Berwick all my life so I would want to run for the Berwick seat. I’ll go through the formal party processes and give them that respect to make that decision but I will be putting my hand up for Berwick,” he said.
The proposed boundaries can be downloaded from the EBC website at ebc.vic.gov.au Written submissions can also be lodged via the website.
The EBC will take account of suggestions and objections, and prepare final boundaries by late October 2021. These boundaries will take effect at the 2022 state election.