Our Geospatial team take on rep reviews

What is Geospatial?

Geo loosely means ‘the Earth’. Spatial refers to ‘in space’, such as the position of something in space. Roughly speaking, ‘geospatial’ is referring to the position of something on the Earth. The VEC’s Geospatial Team is dedicated to exploring and understanding the physical geography of a council, as well as the locations and make-up of its voters. The team uses its understanding of the geography of councils, as well as actual and projected enrolment rates, to help build on the information needed to make recommendations about future council structures.

Photo of VEC employees looking at a map

Andrew, Nhung and Tania from the VEC Geospatial team

Community, growth and boundaries

Information is everything when it comes to Representation Reviews. Decisions on council structures and internal ward boundaries are informed through public submissions and the research done by the Representation Review project team.

The make-up of communities is also at the forefront of the minds of the Geospatial Team. Where there is strong community presence that can be described in a physical location, the team will try to make sure boundaries don't split these communities. The focus on communities of interest ensures that common interests or views within a council area are not unreasonably diluted compared with other interests or views.

Communities take on various forms. They might be based on the location of migrant communities, or resident and business community groups.

The growth of a council, in terms of population, also impacts a council’s electoral structure options. Interface councils, which are those councils on the fringe of Melbourne’s metropolitan area, have the biggest change. The Geospatial Team works with growth projection estimates and physical boundary options to work out the most representative council structure. A boundary that works for voter numbers in 2020 may not work very well in 2032. For this reason, the team accounts for projected growth in its proposals. In 2019, it was recommended that Whitehorse City Council have an additional councillor, moving from 10 to 11, due to its increase in voters since the last review. This was also with consideration for its size as compared to similar sized councils.

Submissions from the community are essential for the Geospatial Team to better translate the difference between lines on a map and effective models of representation the reviews are working towards. Your contribution to the process will help to inform and steer the VEC towards the best recommended electoral structure for the council in which you live.