Local government elections due to be held in September, 2020 have been postponed for at least 12 months due to the COVID-19 crisis.
The elections are now set to be held in September, 2021 but could be postponed even further, until December 2021 should the need arise.
The decision by the State Government to postpone the council elections was welcomed by the Local Government Association of NSW as it provided certainty to Australian communities during these extraordinary times.
LGNSW President Linda Scott was grateful the Government had acted swiftly because there had never been a more important time for visionary local leadership that provided hope and guidance for each part of NSW.
"I know all elected councillors will continue to work across political boundaries to pull together for the public good," Cr Scott said.
"Mayors and councillors are working hard to ensure good governance continues during the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so.
"When asked to serve for an additional year, I'm confident mayors and councillors will understand the need to provide stability and continuity of governance.
"Councils are the closest level of government to the community, and we are only too aware of the need to keep our communities safe and healthy," Cr Scott said.
"It is democracy that makes Australia the country it is, and while we should always be cautious about any action that has the potential to weaken that democracy or diminish the right of the community to have a say in their own lives, this change by the NSW Government is welcome at this time."
As a result, current councillors, popularly elected mayors and mayors elected by councillors in September 2019 will continue to hold office until September 2021 once the new election date is gazetted.
Meanwhile, mayoral elections will need to be held for those mayors elected by councillors in September 2018, when their two-year terms expire.
In a statement issued today Georges River Council said,"Council will continue to work to protect local democracy and uphold transparency and accountability standards during this difficult time.
"It is in the best interests of our communities, ensuring the health and safety of voters, Council staff, NSW Electoral Commission staff, and election candidates are protected, and current councillors and mayors can continue to focus on combatting the spread of the virus and guide our communities to recovery."
Further information and questions regarding the Minister's decision should be directed to the Office of Local Government (OLG).