The NSW Greens are calling for this Saturday's by-election to be the last election for the state seat of "Bega" and instead start engagement with local traditional owners and the community for a name that truly reflects the region's history, geography and people.
The state electorate of "Bega" runs 250km from north to south stretching from the Victoria border south of Eden all the way past Batemans Bay in the north.
Greens candidate in the weekend's byelection Peter Haggar said that as beautiful as the township and valley of Bega are, "the name Bega does not fairly or adequately describe this extraordinary coastal electorate".
He said the Greens were asking the NSW Electoral Commission to commence consultation with the people of the electorate, starting with the traditional owners, to determine a more meaningful and representative name for the electorate.
The seat of Bega in its current form only dates back to 1988.
"I live in the Bega Valley and work in Bega. I love the town and the valley, but the electorate stretches well beyond them both," Mr Haggar said.
"This is 2022 and we can do better than this, there are so many more appropriate names for this extraordinary part of the state.
"When we send someone to Parliament to represent this beautiful part of the state it's important we at least get the geography right.
"I'm personally strongly in favour of a name that reflects the First Nations connection with country and I am certain that there is a growing understanding and respect for that connection across the electorate.
"It has felt a little silly traveling to Batemans Bay or Eden during this by-election to talk to people about issues in 'Bega." I think it's time the electorate's name more closely matched reality," Mr Haggar said.
Greens MP David Shoebridge said one name he hoped would be in the mix was "Yuin", reflecting the ongoing First Nations history and heritage of the electorate.
"I strongly support this initiative. It's more than a little confusing for people living in Eden or Batemans Bay to be going to the polls to elect a representative for 'Bega'," Mr Shoebridge said.
"I am sure that meaningful consultation with First Nations peoples from the region can come up with a unifying name that draws on their collective history and heritage.
"Ultimately any choice needs the direct support of First Nations elders and traditional owners together with broad community backing.
"While we go about renaming the electorate of Bega, it might be a good idea to get a better name for the electorate immediately to the north. While Nowra to Bawley Point is all on the 'South Coast', it's just a sliver of it," Mr Shoebridge said.
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