The biggest federal electorate in the state is set to grow even bigger under the proposed redistribution for New South Wales.

The Division of Parkes, which takes in Gunnedah, already covers 49 per cent of the state or a geographical area of 393,413 square kilometres.

Under new changes proposed by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), Parkes will increase to about 406,755 square kilometres to include three additional local government areas including Bland, Forbes and Parkes shire councils while losing the remainder of the Gwydir Shire to the Division of New England.

Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the changes aren’t too unexpected.

“Overall, the proposed redistribution is not a bad result for the electorate of Parkes – we’re gaining some strong towns in Parkes, Forbes and West Wyalong which I’m sure will only add to this great electorate,” Mr Coulton said. “I am sorry to see the upper half of the Gwydir Shire, which includes my hometown of Warialda, move to the New England electorate. That means that once I retire at the next election, I will no longer live in the Parkes electorate which is personally disappointing, having represented this electorate for so long and been so invested in it.

“The biggest challenge for whoever is the next Member for Parkes will be the increase in geographical size of the Parkes electorate.

“[It] will make it more difficult to travel throughout the electorate on a regular basis, meaning more nights away from home for the next Member.”

Mr Coulton said last week’s release of the proposed redistribution will enable The Nationals in the Parkes electorate to set a date for preselection.

“The party will now get on with the job of selecting a candidate to contest the Division of Parkes at the next election,” Mr Coulton said.

“I look forward to working with whoever is preselected over the coming months to help them get to know this wonderful electorate.”

The redistribution will see the number of members in the House of Representatives decrease from 47 to 46 in NSW, with the abolishment of the Division of North Sydney. This means the boundaries of each federal electoral division in the state had to be altered to accommodate this change.

The changes to the Parkes electorate have been made to accommodate low or negative projected growth in elector numbers.

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