A Constitutional change which aims to ensure greater country representation in State Parliament has been introduced by Member for Mount Gambier Troy Bell.
The Constitution (Permissible Tolerance) Amendment Bill 2020 will increase South Australia’s electoral quota permissable tolerance from 10 to 12 per cent.
Speaking in State Parliament on Wednesday, Mr Bell said the main objective of the new Bill was to make sure the State’s regions were properly represented.
“We need greater country representation in State Parliament, not less,” he said.
“Before each State Election, the Electoral Districts Boundary Commission has to ensure each electorate has similar numbers of voters, with a tolerance of 10 per cent.
“As the regions lose their population base, regional MPs will have to take on greater distances to be within that 10 per cent and eventually, this will lead to more MPs in and around the city of Adelaide.”
Before the 2018 State Election, 398,710 voters were shifted into different seats.
A boundary redraw before the 2022 State Election could see residents in Tarpeena facing a potential move to the seat of MacKillop, under a proposed Liberal submission.
Invited to meet with Tarpeena residents and Grant District Council last month, Mr Bell said those present had indicated they wished to remain in the Mount Gambier electorate.
“It makes sense for small towns to be aligned with nearby bigger communities they work, shop and do their main business in,” he said.
“Regional residents don’t want to be shuffled around from seat to seat – they deserve some continuity with their elected member.”
The Independent MP said he was looking forward to some rigorous debate from both sides of politics when the Bill is read for a third time on June 17.
“Standing up for our regions is a big priority for me and that’s the main point of this Bill,” he said.
“The last thing we need is South Australia becoming a city-state. Let’s keep our regions represented.”