ALPINE Council has backed Victorian electoral boundary changes that will split the shire in two.
Mount Beauty and the Kiewa Valley will be part of Benambra thanks to an electoral shake-up that abolishes or renames 15 Victorian seats.
Bright and Myrtleford will become part of the seat of Ovens Valley, which will take in most of the Murray Valley electorate held by the Nationals’ Tim McCurdy.
Moira Shire will also be split, with Numurkah aligned with Shepparton and Cobram and Yarrawonga with Ovens Valley.
Alpine mayor Cr Peter Roper said it made sense to connect the Kiewa Valley with Benambra, now held by the Liberals’ Bill Tilley.
“What affiliation has that area got with Wangaratta and Yarrawonga and the Ovens Valley?” he asked yesterday.
“Realistically, if you live at Mount Beauty where would you go shopping — you’d do so at Albury-Wodonga.
“People might have to go to Wangaratta occasionally for a medical procedure that’s not offered in Albury.
“But more often than not most of the business, if it’s not conducted in the shire, is conducted in Albury-Wodonga.
“Why would you bother driving an extra distance just to go to Wangaratta?”
Cr Roper said the Benalla electorate didn’t work that well either for Alpine shire because it was a long way from Benalla city.
“This boundary change is a really good outcome for someone who lives in the Kiewa Valley,” he said.
Cr Roper said the council had expected all Alpine shire would be placed in Ovens and the council had been divided on the benefits of having one or two parliamentary representatives.
“In some ways it’s great to have the one point of contact, but in other ways it doesn’t matter,” he said.
“The community of Alpine shire is quite diverse anyway because it goes from Dinner Plain down to Gapstead across to Dederang and back up to Mount Beauty again.
“It’s a huge area.
“Realistically, the seat of Ovens loses a couple of thousand people and Benambra picks up a couple of thousand.”