Redistribution pushes Corangamite to a knife's edge

Surf coast seat pushed to a knife's edge


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INCUMBENT: Liberal, Sarah Henderson, won Corangamite from Labor in 2013 and retained it in 2016.

INCUMBENT: Liberal, Sarah Henderson, won Corangamite from Labor in 2013 and retained it in 2016.

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A redistribution has seen the sitting member fighting to retain Corangamite.

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Eight candidates, including sitting member Sarah Henderson, will contest the ultra marginal seat of Corangamite.

The seat on Victoria's "surf coast" became a notional Labor seat by 0.03 per cent, after a redistribution since the last election.

Liberal member Sarah Henderson won the seat from Labor in 2013 and retained it in 2016 with a margin of 3.1pc.

The past eight results have gone to the candidate whose party was in government.

Sarah Henderson promised to continue to fight for the local community.

She said the Government had delivered funding for many projects including the Princes Highway duplication between Winchelsea and Colac, its $184m towards the Geelong City Deal, and local roads.

The budgeted investment of $2.85 billion for local rail infrastructure for faster, more reliable trains was a "game changer", she said.

Labor is keen to win it too. Candidate Libby Coker has campaigned on issues including more funding for schools and hospitals, action on climate change and promises such as $53 million over the next two years to protect the Great Ocean Road.

Monash University political commentator Nick Economou said Labor was likely to pick up Corangamite, largely due to the distribution, which stripped out the traditional coalition stronghold of Colac and transferred it to Wannon.

"They were getting a two party-preferred vote of 60-70pc for the coalition, in those Colac booths, and they're now going to Dan Tehan, in Wannon," he said.

Loses Colac, Beeac, Cressy, Linton and and areas east and north of Lake Corangamite to Wannon and Geelong suburbs north of Waurn Ponds Creek and the Geelong Bypass to Corio.

Coming into Corangamite from Corio were Moolap, Leopold and the Bellarine Peninsula.

Greg Pope, Winchelsea, said apart from water security, he was concerned about how either major party could deliver on the promises they had made.

Heather Stoney, Ellingerrin, Modewarre, said Sarah Henderson had been an "amazing" representative for the district.

She worked hard for everyone and had an understanding of the rural side, Ms Stoney said.

Ms Stoney said she was concerned about the negative impact on the farming community from proposed action on climate change.

"It's totally unrealistic," she said.

According to the Australian Electoral Commission, the geographical demographic of the seat is considered provincial - outside capital cities, but with a majority of enrolment in major provincial cities.

The AEC said the main industries were tourism, retail, healthcare, agriculture, food production and processing, manufacturing and commercial fishing.

Rural and farming voters cited major issues being climate change and the cost and impact of proposed measures to address the issue.

Water security for farmers and urban areas, roads and infrastructure, health and wind turbines were also common among rural voters.

The Liberals have preferenced Clive Palmer's United Australia Party second with Labor sixth just ahead of the Green's candidate at seven.

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