News / Council

New council ward boundaries revealed

Brunswick will elect four councillors under the new structure

The cover of the report.
The recommendations of the boundary review have now been adopted by Local Government Minister Melissa Horne.

Mark Phillips

VOTERS in Brunswick will find a much different ward structure at council elections later this year.

Instead of voting for three councillors from one large ward representing the whole area south of Albion Street, they will instead elect a single representative depending on which part of Brunswick they live in.

New council wards for the City of Merri-bek have now been adopted by the state government following a review late last year.

Under the current electoral structure which has been in place since 2004, South Ward has three of the 11 councillors in Merri-bek.

Merri-bek will continue to have 11 councillors, but the Brunswick area has gained an extra councillor in the redrawn map.

Brunswick’s new council wards will be called Brunswick West, Bulleke-bek, Randazzo and Warrk-Warrk.

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Merri-bek is one of 30 municipalities across Victoria required to transition to single councillor ward electoral structures under changes to the Local Government Act in 2020.

The three-person review panel chaired by retired Victorian Court of Appeals Justice Frank Vincent added an extra councillor to the Brunswick area to reflect population growth in the south of Merri-bek, particularly Brunswick East.

About 36% of the city’s 130,481 voters live south of Moreland Road.

An interim report by the review panel released in October proposed three alternative electoral maps for Merri-bek, with slight differences in each map for the Brunswick area.

All three models had Brunswick East and Brunswick West wards but treated the centre of Brunswick differently, with one model dividing it vertically with Sydney Road, while the other two divided it horizontally with Victoria and Blyth streets as borders.

Following the release of the draft report, 22 submissions were lodged, including one from the Brunswick Residents Network and one from Deputy Mayor Lambros Tapinos.

Five people also spoke at a public hearing in November.

In the end, Local Government Minister Melissa Horne has adopted the panel’s recommendation of four parallel vertical wards south of Moreland Road. They are divided by Grantham Street/Pearson Street/Shamrock Street, Sydney Road and Lygon Street/Holmes Road.

This was the most popular of the three options during community consultation following the release of the draft report.

The review panel recommended this structure because the creation of two vertically oriented wards in the centre of Brunswick, using a clear boundary in Sydney Road to separate them, was considered a better fit for communities of interest than the stacked wards proposed in the other two models.

Supporters of this model included Tapinos and the former federal MHR for Wills, Kelvin Thomson, who both also spoke at a public hearing in November.

Warrk-Warrk, the ward east of Lygon Street/Holmes Road named after a bridge over the Merri Creek, will be the largest of the four in Brunswick in population with 12,233 voters and the smallest in area at 2.3 square kilometres.

Brunswick West will have 11,557 voters and be 3.2 square kilometres in area.

Randazzo, named after the park in Albert Street that was once the site of the Brunswick East High School, is the eastern of the two central Brunswick wards. It will have 11,506 voters and be 2.3 square kilometres in size.

The western ward, Bulleke-bek – named after the park along the Upfield shared path –will have 11,350 voters and 2.8 square kilometres in area.

In the north of the city, the current North-East Ward, which has four councillors, will be split into three single councillor wards, two of them representing Coburg (Harmony Park and Pentridge) and the third representing Fawkner (Bababi Djinanang).

The North-West Ward, which also has four councillors, would be split into four new single councillor wards located around Pascoe Vale (Pascoe Vale South and Westbreen), Glenroy (Box Forest) and Oak Park (Djirri-Djirri).

In its final report, the review panel acknowledged there was strong opposition to the move to single councillor wards, including the Brunswick Residents Network which argued it could result in poorer representation and expose elections to influence by property developers bankrolling their preferred candidates.

Elections for most councils across Victoria will be held in October. They will elect councillors for four years.

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