Fly-in fly-out blamed for anomalous electoral redistribution

May 8, 2003 - Greens (WA) Mining and Pastoral MLC Robin Chapple has drawn a strong connection between the practice of fly-in fly-out workforces and the WA Electoral Commission's proposed redrawing of the electoral boundaries.

The proposal sees a dramatic reshaping of the boundaries in the Mining and Pastoral electorate, with one seat disappearing altogether and the seat of Kimberley losing a huge area including Fitzroy Crossing and surrounding communities to the electorate of Pilbara.

WAEC figures show that while the electoral roll of the Kimberley has grown 32.91% since February 1994, the Pilbara has stayed roughly the same and Eyre has slipped 12.33%.

'As of 2001, 90% of the country's fly-in fly-out mining operations are in Western Australia,' Mr Chapple said. 'It is no co-incidence that as more and more mining companies are flying their workforces in from Perth, regional communities are being depopulated and these extremely distorted electoral boundaries are a result.'

'People who are spending the majority of their time in the Pilbara or the Goldfields are nonetheless counted as living and voting in Perth. It is yet another way in which fly-in fly-out is disadvantaging regional WA,' Mr Chapple said.

'I will raise this issue with the Electoral Commission in my submission. There has got to be a way in which all these people can be accounted for.'

Section 7 of the Electoral Distribution Act 1947 states that 'Community of Interest' has to be taken into account when considering electoral boundaries.

'My contention is that Community of Interest in the Kimberley has to be accounted for. We must find a way of bringing Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing back into the Kimberley, and we've got to stop the continuing drain of people from other parts of Western Australia. Setting some realistic limits on fly-in fly-out would be a good start.'

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