Kavel saved

The backflip by the Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission over a controversial plan to move thousands of Mt Barker voters from Kavel into the neighboring rural electorate of Hammond is a win for everyone.
The move shows the commission’s willingness to consider the feedback of stakeholders and redraw boundaries to better reflect communities of interest.
This will likely result in better representation for electors and allow the sitting MPs to remain connected with the bulk of the elector base that chose them at the last election.
The initial plan, which would have seen Mt Barker moved into Hammond alongside rural and Murray Mallee communities, would have carved up the Hills region more than it already is.
It would have separated communities of interest and broken down the strong working relationships developed between members of all three tiers of government since the last election – a particularly strong bond since the Cudlee Creek bushfire disaster.
The importance of keeping Mt Barker in a Hills-based electorate was highlighted by the backlash which came from all corners – from the elected MP to the affected councils in both electorates.
The decision to instead move Strathalbyn, a country town surrounded by farming communities, into the largely rural Hammond electorate makes much more sense.
It is not the first time Strathalbyn has been in Hammond.
The changing of electoral boundaries is necessary to account for fluctuating populations and ensure a fair voter process.
These changes are often acutely felt in the peri-urban centres such as the Hills as electoral officials grapple with the difficult task of connecting more densely populated areas with the great swathes of SA which have few voters by comparison.
It is a never ending problem as the State’s rural population declines but one which Mt Barker may avoid in the future.
As the regional centre continues to grow it is likely the population will increase to the point where Mt Barker will become, like Mt Gambier, a seat of its own.
But in the meantime this compromise is a win that will likely be appreciated by everyone involved at the next election.