SEVERAL Gippsland local government councils, including Wellington, Baw Baw and South Gippsland Shires, are amongst 10 Victorian councils whose ward boundaries will be altered for the 2024 elections after a review by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

Latrobe City Council will also have a new electoral structure at the council elections in October with the changes confirmed earlier this year.

The state government has accepted the VEC’s final reports and recommendations, ensuring fair and equitable representation through the new ward boundary arrangements.

Under the Local Government Act 2020, the number of voters per councillor in a ward should not vary by more than 10 per cent from the average number of voters per councillor for all of the wards.

In February 2023, the VEC advised that 10 councils were projected to have at least one ward with councillor to voter ratio imbalances at the time of the October 2024 elections.

In April 2023, in accordance with section 17 of the Local Government Act 2020, the Minister for Local Government asked the VEC to conduct ward boundary reviews for these councils.

The VEC’s reviews have been completed in time to allow for candidates and the VEC to implement the necessary planning ahead of the general elections in October.

The 10 councils that will alter their ward boundaries are: Wellington, South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Bass Coast, Boroondara City Council, Cardinia Shire, Greater Dandenong City, Loddon Shire, Murrindindi Shire and Pyrenees Shire.

Wellington Shire’s ward boundaries will be altered for the 2024 council elections after a review by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

It will have an impact on nine per cent of the shire’s voters: 1370 from the current Central Ward and 2592 from the Northern Ward will vote within a modified Coastal Ward in October this year.

Wellington’s incoming nine councillors will still be divided into three wards (Northern, Central and Coastal), with three councillors per ward. This structure was adopted in 2015 when the VEC conducted the last electoral review.

However, in February 2023, the VEC advised that Wellington was projected to have an imbalanced councillor-to-voter ratio in at least one ward by the time of the upcoming general election, which will be held in October this year.

In its current state, the Latrobe City is divided into four wards: West, Central, East, and South, comprising nine councillors.

Current West Ward councillors are Cr Brad Law and Cr Sharon Gibson; South Ward is represented by Cr Melissa Ferguson; Central Ward by the Deputy Mayor, Tracie Lund and Cr Graeme Middlemiss; and the East Ward by the Mayor, Darren Howe, Cr Kellie O’Callaghan, Cr Dan Clancey, and Cr Dale Harriman.

At the next elections in October, there will be nine wards instead of four.

The smallest current ward – the West Ward – will be divided into two wards: Moe and Newborough. The Central Ward will also be split in two, becoming the Yallourn Ward and the Morwell River Ward.

The South Ward will remain the same yet be renamed the Budgeree Ward.

The East Ward will be split in four, becoming the Tyers Ward (submitted as an alternative name for Wades Creek Ward), Boola Boola Ward, Loy Yang Ward (submitted as an alternative name for Sheepwash Creek Ward), and the Jeeralang Ward (submitted as an alternative name for Traralgon Creek Ward).

It is assumed that each of the nine current councillors will each aim to represent one of the wards at the next election.

The next Latrobe City Council election is scheduled to take place in October this year. More information will become available closer to that date.