LIBERAL Greg Aplin’s electorate of Albury would lose the towns of Corowa, Howlong and Mulwala under boundary changes being pushed by the NSW government’s Coalition partner, the Nationals.
A boundaries shake-up is due in April and the Nationals propose Corowa Shire split from Albury and join the Murray-Darling electorate stretching from Wentworth to the west and Broken Hill to the north along similar lines to the federal electorate of Farrer.
Corowa’s addition is vital to lifting the electorate above a required 50,000.
As compensation, the Nationals propose Albury picks up Tumut for the first time.
Tumut Shire has a bigger population base than Corowa and will move from Wagga to Albury.
The Nationals argue Tumut has strong links to Tumbarumba, which is already in the Albury electorate.
“We believe that the community of interest formed by the combined Tumut and Tumbarumba local government areas, along with ease of access to Albury and the links that do exist across this area, justify its inclusion into Albury,” the Nationals proposal claims.
“Both areas were instrumental in the birth of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, with the towns of Khancoban (Tumbarumba) and Cabramurra (Tumut) founded specifically for that purpose.
“Snowy Hydro is still a major employer in both areas, with six power stations located on the Tumut and Geehi rivers.”
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Tumut is less than two hours from Albury on the four-lane Hume Highway which will by-pass Holbrook from today.
“Tumut and Albury play in the same rugby league and rugby union competitions, and the timber industry plays an important part in the economies of both towns,” the submission states.
In 1999, Tumut was added to the federal Farrer electorate which has Albury as its largest population centre and also includes Tumbarumba.
Corowa has been in an electorate with western Murray townships and was in the district of Murray from 1981 until its abolition in 1999.
“There is already a strong community of interest across the southern Riverina portion of Murray-Darling and Corowa is a natural fit,” the Nationals claim.
The Nationals proposals come at a time when Corowa has embraced a possible merger with Albury and Greater Hume councils rather than an independent panel’s proposed merger of Corowa, Urana, Berrigan and Jerilderie councils.
Corowa, Urana, Berrigan and Jerilderie are all in the proposed Murray-Darling electorate.
The Nationals’ John Williams has been the member for Murray-Darling since 2007.