Council elections in NSW delayed due to coronavirus

Mayor Rowena Abbey and Deputy Mayor Nathan Furry.
Mayor Rowena Abbey and Deputy Mayor Nathan Furry.

New South Wales council elections have been postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Local government elections are a vital part of the democratic process, ensuring local councils are accountable to their local communities," Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said in a public statement issued on Wednesday.

"The decision to postpone them has not been taken lightly but is necessary to ensure the health and safety of voters, NSW Electoral Commission staff and election candidates," Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock announced.

Despite the postponement of the elections this year, subsequent elections will still proceed in September 2024.

Meanwhile, current councillors and mayors will continue to hold their offices until the rescheduled local government elections are held.

Yass Valley Mayor Rowena Abbey feels the right call has been made in the wake of the current situation.

"The COVID-19 has changed how everyone has been looking at doing things," she said.

"I can see why the decision has been made to postpone the elections. It's not safe to run council elections due to coronavirus.

"New candidates need the opportunity to interact with the community. At the same time, the community needs to interact with the candidates to understand what value they might be able to add in the new term.

"At this point, it will be difficult for them to do that."

During the recent meeting, social distancing measures were practiced and members of the community were encouraged to watch the proceedings live at home.

A total of 126 councils were scheduled to hold elections in September, which has been delayed for 12 months.