Source : PortMac.News | Independent :
Source : PortMac.News | Independent | News Story:
News Story Summary:
Lord Howe Island's proposed move to Sydney electorate is being resisted by Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams
"Lord Howe Island is a regional location," Ms Williams said.
"It makes sense that it's linked to a regional community that is actually closer to any mainland electorate."
Situated about 500 kilometres east of Port Macquarie, Lord Howe Island has long-established ties with the regional centre through sea freight, regular flights, and the provision of police officers and education services.
Ms Williams said the move to cut Lord Howe Island from her electorate would create difficulties for both regional communities.
"It would make it a lot more challenging for residents on Lord Howe Island to do business," she said.
"Because you are not going to be able to change the origin of the shipping."
Ms Williams said the Liberal Party's main reason for redistributing her electorate was based on the 'False premise' that her island constituents were unable to meet with her because there were no direct flights to Port Macquarie.
"The premise of the submissions that have been put in [to the Electoral District Redistribution Panel] by the Liberal Party and the independent Member for Sydney are actually incorrect," Ms Williams said.
But Sydney's links with the island are also prevalent — it is part of the Federal electorate of Sydney and the state's capital delivers health and education services.
Fifth-generation islander Barney Nichols, who served on the Lord Howe Island Board for more than a decade, said connections with Port Macquarie and Sydney were quite evenly split.
"I don't think it would make a great deal of difference either way," he said.
Other residents have told the ABC they question the need to relocate the region's 211 electors from the Port Macquarie seat.
MP reassesses 'Shared values'
Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich said the transfer of the island into his seat would create consistency on a State and Federal level.
When the idea was last floated in 2013, Mr Greenwich argued there "was a lack of community interests between Lord Howe Island residents and inner-city Sydney residents".
Seven years later, he said his stance has shifted because a lot has changed within the two communities.
"There are a lot of values that my community and the Lord Howe community do share around action on climate change, sustainability and environmental protection, and obviously tourism," Mr Greenwich said.
Public submissions to the NSW Electoral Commission's Electoral District Redistribution Panel about the proposed electoral changes close on December 9th.
Story By | Claudia Jambor