The Division of O’Connor, which encompasses the Great Southern region and much of the WA Wheatbelt, is set to become the largest electorate in Australia when measured by the number of local government areas it is likely to take in after a major electoral redistribution is finalised later this year.
Member for O’Connor Rick Wilson said the Redistribution Committee for Western Australia had recommended the electorate pick up 18 shires from surrounding divisions, mainly to achieve population parity with other electorates.
“O’Connor is already vast, stretching from Western Australia’s Southwest, through the Great Southern, up to the Wheatbelt, and out through the Goldfields to the South Australian and Northern Territory borders,” Mr Wilson said.
“The electorate currently covers 38 local government areas, and so is incredibly varied.
“The planned addition of the Peel Region Shire of Boddington, the Southwest shire of Nannup, as well as 16 Wheatbelt shires will only broaden the diversity of people and places in the electorate.”
Mr Wilson has a wealth of experience representing wheat growing areas, with 14 Wheatbelt region shires and several wheat growing communities in the Great Southern already within his electorate.
“As a wheat farmer myself, I am delighted by the Committee’s recommendation that the Wheatbelt shires of Beverley, Bruce Rock, Cunderdin, Kellerberrin, Koorda, Merredin, Mount Marshall, Mukinbudin, Narembeen, Nungarin, Quairading, Tammin, Trayning, Westonia, Wyalkatchem and Yilgarn come over to O’Connor,” he said.
While the Division of Durack immediately to O’Connor’s north will remain Australia’s largest electorate by area, the planned redistribution will see Mr Wilson’s electorate approach almost 1 million square kilometres, encompassing 56 local government areas.
“It’s a tremendous responsibility and honour to represent people across such a geographically and socially diverse area,” he said.
“Whether from the Great Southern, Wheatbelt, Southwest, Goldfields or Peel, Western Australians live in the best state in the nation.
“I stand ready to serve my expanded constituency with diligence and compassion once the redistribution is complete.”
An initial objections period for proposed redistributions across Western Australia closed on April 19. Members of the public can view the objections and comment on them at www.aec.gov.au/wa-redistribution until 6pm on Friday, April 30. More information on the redistribution process, and a timetable for its completion, can also be gained at www.aec.gov.au/wa-redistribution.
Media contact: Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson: Chris Thomson (08) 9842 2777