Cowper voters ask 'What's that?'

WHILE Coffs Coast communities sit snugly in Cowper, spare a thought for our confused voting friends further north.

The Clarence Valley is split by the boundary which puts Coutts Crossing, Grafton, Junction Hill, Brushgrove, Chatsworth and Yamba all in neighbouring Page but towns like Maclean, Cowper and Ulmarra find themselves in Cowper.

This conundrum was no more apparent than when our sister paper, the Daily Examiner, visited Maclean for a street poll.

Reporters were shocked to learn how many residents had no idea what Cowper was, let alone they were standing in it.

“It certainly doesn’t help that the Maclean and Yamba communities, intrinsically linked by services such as school, hospitals and shopping centres, are divided by such an arbitrary boundary,” said the Examiner’s Terry Deefholts.

“Add to this last year’s involvement of (ALP) Member for Page Janelle Saffin in the Maclean flying fox issue and it’s little wonder so many Macleanites wanted to vote for Page candidates.

“Ms Saffin, by the way, said she only became involved after complaints from Page constituents who happened to attend Maclean High School (that and challenging comments from Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker).”

For the record, Cowper’s boundaries – gazetted on December 22 last year – contain an area of 7861 square kilometres from Kempsey in the south to Maclean in the north.

The main towns include Bellingen, Bowraville, Coffs Harbour, Dorrigo, Kempsey, Maclean, Macksville, Nambucca Heads, Sawtell, South-West Rocks, Urunga and Woolgoolga.

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