Extending the boundaries

The Lismore electorate has changed its boundaries.

The state seat of Lismore has undergone boundary changes for the up-coming state election on March 24. This mostly rural electorate now extends to Murwillumbah in the north-east and Drake to the west.

Sitting Nationals member Thomas George will lose three booths in his hometown of Casino, where he recorded more than 3000 primary votes at the last state election. He will gain booths that were formerly in the Tweed electorate (which is a Labor seat) including Uki and Kunghur, where the Greens polled highest last election.

He will also gain booths in Murwillumbah, where the ALP narrowly beat the Nationals in primary votes.

I could lose 4 to 4.5 per cent. No one will know until March 24, around 7.30pm, said Mr George. People will judge me on the work Ive done.

The boundary changes mean Casino will now be part of the Clarence electorate a change welcomed by National MP for Clarence, Steve Cansdell.

Being a traditionally strong National Party area, Mr Cansdell believes it could well improve his chances of re-election.

Contesting the seat of Lismore against Thomas George are ALP candidate Peter Lanyon and Greens candidate Andy Gough.

When asked his thoughts on how the changes might affect his chances of election, Mr Lanyon replied that the boundary changes will greatly benefit the people of the seat of Lismore. Morris Iemma is getting on with the job and Murwillumbah is symapthetic to those policies, he said.

He remarked that the Nationals have been entrenched in the Casino area for half a century and with them no longer within the electorate it can only be of benefit to Country Labor and to his chances of electoral success.

Andy Gough was hopeful of a better result this election thanks to the boundary change.

Weve always struggled to find support in Casino, he said. And now we have booths in the north that poll very well for The Greens.

Mr Gough is now on a mission to have the Lismore electorates named changed. He wrote to the NSW Electoral Commission this week to canvass the idea.

Calling the electorate Lismore is misleading and unrepresentative, said Mr Gough. If you look at the larger electoral districts bounding Lismore they are called Northern Tablelands and Clarence, not Armidale and Grafton. Even if Lismore city is the regional hub, the electorate now known as Lismore should be renamed Northern Rivers, or something more appropriate for such a large and diverse electorate.

When asked about a name change, Mr Lanyon thought it was a question well worth considering. People in Murwillumbah, or even Kyogle or Nimbin are not excited by the name of their electorate, he said.

Mr Thomas said that if the people want to change the name thats fine by him. The real issues, he said, were health and law and order.

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