The Mirror News

Shire ward boundaries

WARD boundaries of 10 Victorian councils, including those of South Gippsland Shire, will be altered ahead of the next round of triennial local government elections in October 2024 following a review by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC).

The State Government has accepted the VEC’s final reports and recommendations, ensuring fair and equitable representation through the new ward boundary arrangements to be made for the ten affected local government areas (LGAs).

In South Gippsland Shire, the line of the Tarwin River and its East Branch will now largely form the boundary between Coastal Promontory Ward and its two neighbours; Strzelecki Ward to the north-west, and Tarwin Valley Ward to the north.

Foster North, Stony Creek, Woorarra West, Turtons Creek, parts of Gunyah, Dollar, Dumbalk, and Dumbalk North, along with the entire Fish Creek district, Buffalo, most of Meeniyan, and Tarwin Lower, will now fall within Coastal Promontory Ward.

Under the Victorian 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 ten of the State’s 79 councils were projected to have at least one ward with councillor-to-voter ratio imbalances at the time of the 2024 municipal elections.

One factor prompting South Gippsland Shire’s ward boundary review is the high proportion of holiday homes and investment properties owned by non-resident ratepayers in coastal townships like Sandy Point, Waratah Bay and Venus Bay.

From this year, non-resident ratepayers throughout Victoria will have the option of choosing whether they wish to vote in local government elections conducted in the municipality where their property is located.

All non-resident ratepayers, including those who have previously voted in local government elections held in the municipality of their holiday or investment properties, must now enrol or re-enrol to be eligible to vote in the 2024 local council polls as council-enrolled voters.

South Gippsland Shire has already sent enrolment application forms to its non-resident ratepayers though, as the members of this group are no longer legally required to vote in local government elections, the number of enrolled voters in Coastal Promontory Ward is expected to drop, hence the changes to the wards’ boundaries.

However, voting in municipal elections is still compulsory for all adults aged 18 years and over in the LGA of their primary residence, the same as it is in state and federal elections.

Voters affected by the ward boundary changes will be automatically transferred to the relevant ward.

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 the 10 municipalities, candidates and the VEC to implement the necessary planning before the general local government elections this October.

Four of South Gippsland Shire’s five adjoining municipalities; Wellington Shire, Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, and Cardinia Shire will also be amending their respective ward boundaries, with Latrobe City remaining unchanged.

The other LGAs with new ward boundaries are Boroondara City, Greater Dandenong City, Loddon Shire, Murrindindi Shire, and Pyrenees Shire.

State Minister for Local Government Melissa Horne said, “we thank the Victorian Electoral Commission for their extensive work to ensure Victorian communities have fair and equitable representation from their local councils.”

“These new ward boundaries will be in place for the local government elections this year, which is an important step in supporting local government to meet community expectations.”

South Gippsland Shire Council chief executive officer Kerryn Ellis said “the upcoming boundary changes by the VEC aim to address potentially uneven councillor-voter ratios in some councils’ wards, including in this Shire.

“Ideally, each ward should have as close to an equal number of voters per councillor as possible, but fluctuations over time necessitate realignment if changes exceed 10 per cent,” she said.

“Reasons for the expected change include population growth, and the requirement for non-resident ratepayers to actively re-enrol to vote in this year’s election.

“These changes have resulted in the amendment of ward boundaries, with the largest change in the Coastal Promontory Ward.

“While voting is mandatory for all residents over 18 and optional for non-resident ratepayers, embracing this democratic right is encouraged,” Ms Ellis said.

“South Gippsland Shire Council has written to all non-resident ratepayers providing enrolment application forms by mail, to be completed and returned to Council by the end of July 2024.”

Those non-resident ratepayers who have not as yet received an enrolment application form are asked to contact South Gippsland Shire Council.


The VEC’s 24-page Local Council Ward Boundary Review Final Report South Gippsland Shire Council April 2024 states that “during its review, the VEC looked at the number of currently enrolled voters in each ward, the forecast number of enrolled voters at the next election, and adjustments to the locations of existing ward boundaries.”

“This report presents the VEC’s final advice to the Minister on the recommended ward boundary adjustments for South Gippsland Shire Council to meet the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020.” 

The report states that “this advice was based on current enrolment and enrolment trends, future population projections, and legislated changes to council entitlements for council-enrolled voters.” 

It advised that “there are an estimated 30,901 voters in South Gippsland Shire Council, with an estimated ratio of 3,433 voters per councillor” and that “by October 2024, the voter-to-councillor ratios of Strzelecki and Tarwin Valley wards are forecast to be outside of +10 per cent, and the voter-to-councillor ratio of Coastal-Promontory Ward is forecast to be outside of -10 per cent.”

The report continues that “after exploring possible boundary adjustments, the VEC put forward one model for public consultation.

“The model was considered to affect a minimal number of voters, shifting the current northern boundary of Coastal-Promontory Ward further north to rebalance its predicted lower voter numbers relative to the two northern wards of Tarwin Valley and Strzelecki.”

Read the VEC’s Final Report on South Gippsland Shire Council’s new ward boundaries by scrolling down to Ward Boundary Reviews and clicking on the South Gippsland Shire Council link at


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