The upcoming local government elections have been postponed for a second time as the current COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen.
NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock on Saturday confirmed the election date had been pushed back from September 4 to December 4 for all NSW councils except Central Coast Council, which is currently in the hands of an administrator.
Ms Hancock made an order last month postponing the election requirements for Central Coast for 12 months after the date of that order.
Council elections had already been postponed 12 months from September 2020 due to the pandemic.
Independent advocacy organisation Local Government NSW has urged the government to commit to holding "COVID safe" council elections before year's end.
"COVID safe local government elections must be held by the end of the year, to uphold democracy and ensure renewal," LGNSW president Linda Scott said.
Delaying elections further is a risk to democracy.Local Government NSW president Linda Scott
"Public health and safety must always come first, but we do not want to reach a situation in which democracy delayed is democracy denied.
"This latest three-month deferral comes on top of an existing deferral of 12 months from September 2020, with no guarantee further delays won't be incurred.
"Delaying elections further is a risk to democracy."
Cr Scott said a significant number of existing councillors, who had already been asked to extend their term by 12 months, had already chosen not to stand for a further term.
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"The need for local government leaders has never been greater, as communities and their local economies struggle with the impact caused by going into, out and back into lockdown again," she said.
"Regional NSW local governments are particularly eager for safe NSW elections to proceed, with many areas of NSW without a single COVID exposure.
"Why should the rest of NSW have to suffer because of COVID cases in Sydney?"
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