I’ve had a number of people ask me about the coming redistribution of Commonwealth electorate boundaries.  To retain the principle of one vote one value, it is important to ensure each electorate across the country has the same number (or as close to) of voters.  Further, of the 150 seats in the House of Representatives, each State is allocated a share based on population.

Every seven years the Australian Electoral Commission reviews the boundaries and state quotas to consider whether shifts in population necessitate changes to the electoral map. That’s the process we are going through now.

The first stage of the process determined that Western Australia will gain an electorate at the expense of NSW.  The commissioners are now working out which seat will be abolished and then, how the people of NSW will be placed into 48 rather than 49 electorates.

So there is plenty of speculation around at the moment as experts and the not-so-expert speculate about which electorate disappears and how the boundaries of the remaining electorates will be changed.  Indeed because our own electorate is low on numbers, some say we are for the chop.

But I’ve been through four re-distributions and more often than not, the speculation has been wrong.  In any case, while they can abolish a seat they can’t abolish towns!

Hearing loss is Australia's invisible condition. In spite of this, it is one of the most common of physical impairments.

The Hearing Care Industry Association estimates that there are approximately 16,000 people in the Hunter electorate who have a hearing impairment. One in six Australians suffer from some degree of hearing loss. By 2050 this will increase to one in four.

The effects of hearing loss can be far-reaching, with reduced educational and employment opportunities and social isolation. Only one in four people who could benefit from a hearing aid have one. The average age of people accessing hearing services under the Commonwealth Government scheme is 79 years, yet half the people with hearing loss are under the age of 65 years of age.

Funding for hearing services is fragmented across Commonwealth and State agencies, and between the public and private sectors.

Since 2003 the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ program has recycled 27 million printer cartridges and 12,000 tonnes of plastics, metals, inks and toners.

I encourage all readers to recycle their used cartridges. The success of this program over the past twelve years shows how easy it is for the public to get involved and the real difference our actions can make to the environment.

The ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ recycling program is free, convenient, independently audited, and coordinated through a network of over 30,000 locations nationwide.

To find your nearest drop-off location, visit Cartridges.PlanetArk.org or call the ‘Cartridges 4 Planet Ark’ Hotline on 1800 24 24 73.

Wanting to stay informed and engaged with what’s going on at Parliament House? The Department of House of Representatives have a range of products to increase your knowledge and awareness of, and interaction with, the work of the House of Representatives.

With updated Twitter, Facebook and YouTube content, and a digital magazine and TV program, staying informed is easier than ever.

Whether it’s interviews with the Chairs of Committees, understanding parliamentary procedure and practice, updates on what’s being debated in the chamber, or the latest competitions Parliament is running, you’ll find the information in one of the many About the House platforms.

The House of Representative section on the APH website also contains detailed information on the committees, Hansard and other publications of the House, as well as the parliamentary sitting calendar and the chamber seating plan (also available as an interactive app on your tablet device).

So to stay in the loop, visit the About the House facebook or follow on it on twitter.

I am always keen to assist with issues or questions relating to Federal Government departments or put you in contact with someone who can, so please ring, write, visit the website or call in.

Why not go the extra step by following me on my Facebook page “Joel Fitzgibbon” or on Twitter and type in the search bar “fitzhunter”. Or by regularly checking my website at www.joelfitzgibbon.com or you can even sign up to my E-Newsletter.

To contact the office, phone 1300 301 753, visit www.joelfitzgibbon.com or by post 3 Edward Street, (PO Box 526) Cessnock, 2325.


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