NSW State Redistribution – Draft Electoral Boundaries

UPDATE – the final boundaries determination by the Redistribution Panel was published on 26 August 2021. My analysis of the new boundaries can be found in my updated post here.

The NSW Electoral Districts Redistribution Panel released draft state electoral boundaries on Monday, bringing enrolments for all 93 electorates back within the permitted variations from state average.

The major change brought about by the new boundaries is the abolition of Lakemba, an ultra-safe Labor seat in Sydney’s inner south-west, and the creation of a new and marginal Labor seat called Leppington on Sydney’s south-west fringe. The new boundaries for the southern Sydney Liberal seat of Heathcote transform it into a marginal Labor seat, and the margins in several other Liberal held seats have also been cut.

Update – my analysis of the new boundaries has been published by the NSW Parliamentary Library. You can find it at this link.

NSW Electoral boundaries are re-drawn after every second election. All re-drawn districts must have a current enrolment within 10% of the state average, 57,193, at the determination date on 23 March 2020. All districts must also have a projected enrolment for April 2023, one month after the next election, that is within 10% of the projected quota at that date, 59,244.

Ahead of the 2014 redistribution, the O’Farrell government increased the tolerance of the projected enrolment quota from 3% to 10%, giving redistribution commissioners more room to pay attention to community of interest. The current redistribution panel has made greater use of the permitted variation, surprising most observers by making fewer changes to boundaries than expected, especially in rural electorates.

There are very few changes to electorates outside of the Sydney metropolitan area. The more significant boundary changes are in Sydney, with a cascading shift of boundaries in middle-distance suburbs to deal with rapid population growth on Sydney’s north-west and south-west fringes.

The major change has been the abolition of the ultra-safe Labor seat of Lakemba (ALP 22.4%) in Sydney’s inner south-west. It is held by Labor frontbencher Jihad Dib, and his seat has essentially become the re-drawn seat of Bankstown, held by another Labor frontbencher in Tania Mihailuk.

The abolition of Lakemba has created a cascade of changes across south-west Sydney, eventually leaving room for a new and marginal Labor seat called Leppington (ALP 1.5%) to be created in the greenfield suburbs sprouting on Sydney’s south-west fringe.

Another Labor frontbencher, former Leadership aspirant Chris Minns, has the margin in his southern Sydney seat of Kogarah slashed from 1.8% to just 0.1%.

The Liberal MP for Heathcote, Lee Evans, faces a serious challenge in his re-drawn seat. It has shed Liberal voting territory in the Sutherland Shire and been pushed south into the working class suburbs of the northern Illawarra. His Liberal margin of 5.0% has been replaced by a notional Labor margin of 1.7%.

Several other Liberal MPs have had their margins cut, the most prominent being government frontbencher Stuart Ayres in Penrith. Oatley, Parramatta and the National held seat of Upper Hunter have also had their margins reduced.

There are only minor changes to seats held by Greens, Independents and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

Comments on the proposed boundaries are now open and details of the redistribution and maps of all proposed districts can be found on the NSW Electoral Commission’s website.

The table below sets out the new and old margins in districts where the new boundaries have had the most political impact. Other electorates have had only minor changes to their margins.

I’m currently preparing a publication on the new boundaries and will update this post with an electoral pendulum later this week.

Summary of Major Changes

Change in Margin Notes on Changes
Old ALP 9.1 Greatly strengthened for Labor after extending south into Bankstown. The newer Liberal voting suburbs around Olympic Park have been trannferred into Parramatta.
New ALP 13.7
Badgery Creeks (formerly Mulgoa)
Old LIB 11.3 A major re-arrangement of the southern boundary, losing newer suburbs west of Cowpasture Road to Cabramatta, Liverpool and the new seat of Leppington, gaining Oran Park and Bringelly from Camden.
New LIB 9.7
Old ALP 13.8 Completely re-drawn, moving east to largely replace the abolished seat of Lakemba, areas previously in Bankstown mainly transferred to Auburn and Fairfield. The new boundaries will create pre-selection problems for Labor with frontbenchers Tania Mihailuk and Jihad Dib both having claims over the seat.
New ALP 20.5
Old ALP 1.6 A Labor gain at the 2019 election, it is slightly strengthened by the transfer of Kensington from Heffron.
New ALP 2.3
East Hills
Old LIB 0.5 East Hills was won by the Liberal Party at its 2011 landslide victory, and retained at two elections despite having been the Liberal Party’s most marginal seat. The addition of parts of Bass Hill make East Hills even more marginal.
New LIB 0.1
Old LIB 5.0 Turned upside down by the redistribution. Loses solid Liberal voting territory in the Sutherland Shire around Menai and Bangor, replaced by solid Labor voting territory in the northern Illawarra as the seat’s southern boundary is pushed south as far as Bulli.
New ALP 1.7
Old LIB 3.3 Heathcote’s loss is Holsworthy’s gain, the transfer of Menai and Bangor boosting the Liberal vote, while Labor voting territory around Prestons has been moved into the new seat of Leppington.
New LIB 6.0
Old ALP 1.8 Trouble for Labor fronthbencher Chris Minns as his seats gains LIberal voting territory fronting the Georges River from Oatley and Rockdale,
New ALP 0.1
Old ALP 22.4 Abolished but becomes tha base for the re-drawn seat of Bankstown. Labor MP Jihad Dib may be forced into a pre-selection contest against fellow frontbencher and Bansktown MP Tania Mihailuk.
New (abolished)
Old (new seat) A new marginal Labor seat formed from the rapidly growing suburbs on Sydney’s south-west fringe.
New ALP 1.5
Old ALP 6.5 Numerous boundary changes with neighbouring Mount Druitt and Penrith result in the Labor margin halving.
New ALP 3.6
Old LIB 10.5 Loses Liberal voting Connells Point to Kogarah and gains Labor voting territory south of the M5 from the abolished seat of Lakemba. Liberal MP Mark Coure has had a swing towards him at the last two elections.
New LIB 6.7
Old LIB 10.6 A major re-arrangement, losing solid Liberal voting territory north of Kissing Point Road to the re-drawn seat of Epping. Gains the newly developed and Liberal voting suburbs around Olympic Park from Auburn.
New LIB 6.5
Old LIB 1.3 Has a number of suburb swaps with neighbouring Londonderry and Blue Mountains, eroding the margin of government frontbencher Stuart Ayres.
New LIB 0.4
Upper Hunter
Old NAT 2.6 The most significant change in a rural electorate, losing Quirindi and the Liverpool Plains local government area to Tamworth and cutting deep into the National Party’s margin.
New NAT 0.5
Winston Hills (formerly Seven Hills)
Old LIB 6.4 Yet another new name for the seat between Parramatta and Blacktown and a slight cut in the Liberal Margin.
New LIB 5.7

2 thoughts on “NSW State Redistribution – Draft Electoral Boundaries”

  1. Hi Antony,

    Given the low numbers in Barwon and Murray, did it surprise you that the commissioners chose not to move Tenterfield into Barwon or New England, thereby restoring the natural barrier of the great dividing range, while simultaneously dealing with the knock on effect to Barwon and Murray to compensate for the low numbers in the west of the state?

    COMMENT: I was surprised there was no change to Barwon or almost any western region districts. I have no particular view on what changes could have been made.

  2. Hey Antony with Leppington being taken away (mainly) from Camden, do you think the Lib margin in Camden (7.5) would grow or shrink?
    Thank you

    COMMENT: Follow the link to the publication in the post. Old and new margins for all seats are in it.

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