The district of Mount Waverley, in Melbourne’s south-east, has been held by the Liberal Party since 2010.
The district used to be known as Glen Waverley, but was redistributed and contested for the first time as Mount Waverley in the 2002 state election, when it was won by Labor’s Maxine Morand. She retained her seat by a slim margin in 2006, but the turning point came in 2010, when she was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Michael Gidley in a 7.58 per cent swing.
The district was rezoned slightly prior to the 2014 election to take in more of the Glen Waverley area east of View Mount Road. In this election, Michael Gidley comfortably retained his seat but there was a 1.4 per cent swing against him.
Mount Waverley is an area with a large number of people born in China. Census data shows those of Chinese ancestry account for almost a quarter of the total population of this district, far higher than the 4.7 per cent they make up of Victoria’s total population.
Mary Barton, a resident of Mount Waverley for more than 50 years, said that just by looking through names appearing on the member lists of her local Catholic Church over the past of 20 to 30 years, you could see multiple nationalities coming up.
Residents born in Australia make up less than half of the district’s population, and after Australia and China, the most common countries of birth are India, with a 5.2 percentage share, Sri Lanka (4.9 per cent) and Malaysia (4.3 per cent).
Alongside exotic restaurants and shops everywhere in Mount Waverley and Glen Waverley, new modern office towers and apartments buildings are being constructed. The Glen Shopping Centre has expanded in the past five years.
As of August this year, 24 large-scale building construction applications had been approved in the Mount Waverley area, according to the major development report of the City of Monash.
Anli Chanana, an Indian migrant moved to Glen Waverley with his family 25 years ago. He said that back in 1993, Glen Waverley was a sleepy area, not as high-profile as today. “Now it is so hard to own a property here,” he said.
The area boasts some of the state’s top-performing non-selective government schools, which has driven up house prices, particularly in school zones.
The growing population and increasing development means traffic and public transport have emerged as major issues among residents interviewed by UniPollWatch.
Sim Lydra, a 70-year-old Indonesian immigrant and has lived in Glen Waverley for more than 20 years, said he had witnessed the transformation of Glen Waverley from a tranquil suburb into a very dynamic and commercial one.
“When I first moved to Glen Waverley, the population density was minimal. Now there are too many people, and there are many cars. It is too difficult to find a parking space,” he said.
The Glen Waverley train line runs through the Mount Waverley district, and the area is serviced by bus routes. If the Andrews government is re-elected, it has pledged to build a suburban rail loop that will connect Melbourne suburbs by linking every major rail line from the Frankston line all the way to Werribee. It would take decades to build, but once completed, it would offer faster connections between Glen Waverley, surrounding suburbs and Melbourne Airport.