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Byron Shire
September 29, 2021

Local government elections postponed – again

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

NSW local government elections are postponed again due to the pandemic.

Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock issued a directive on Saturday re-scheduling this year’s council elections until 4 December.

Elections had been scheduled for September 2020 in accordance with the state’s four-year local government cycle.

But in late June last year, the state government announced a year’s delay, allowing councillors and mayors to serve five years instead of four.

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Former Byron Mayor Simon Richardson resigned in early 2021 after serving longer than the usual four-year local government cycle due to the pandemic. Photo David Hancock.

COVID-19 concerns in Sydney

Some local councillors have declined to see out the extra time, with former Byron Mayor Simon Richardson resigning earlier this year and two members of the Lismore City Council resigning towards the end of 2020.

The weekend’s announcement was short on detail but came as thousands of people protested against lock-down rules in Sydney, sparking fears of further COVID-19 outbreaks.

Some experts have predicted lock-downs in Sydney could be necessary until as far away as December thanks to a lack of vaccine availability and the fact most people in outbreak-areas work essential jobs that can’t be done from home.

The NSW government has said most workers in the worst-affected areas of Sydney are under sixty and have therefore, up until recently, been advised against taking the more widely available Astra Zenecca shot.

The local government minister has also delayed any local government by-elections until 4 December.

The only exception in the minister’s latest directive is the Central Coast Council, which is due to have an election on 8 June next year, having already had an election postponed by twelve months last month.

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  1. Probably a smart move given the uncertainty at the moment, and the growing outbreak in Sydney that appears to be out of control.
    I was wondering how an election would work in the COVID era. Surely it would be unwise to have a scrum of election volunteers all bunched together thrusting ‘how to votes’ on people arriving to carry out their civic duty. It would be great if the candidate information could be provided at the voting booth, or to have votes cast online. Has any consideration been given to any of this during the pandemic? We can’t just keep delaying elections.

    Cr Jeff Johnson
    Ballina Council

  2. The way the Federal and NSW State LNP Govt’s are catastrophically failing at every challenge, I seriously doubt we will be doing very much of anything for the forceable future?
    Perhaps we would be far better off having them both, Federal and NSW State LNP Govt’s resign or removed by the G-G and have a more competent caretaker Govt take over before things get even worse than they are now? They have caused completely avoidable multiple fatalities now. This is really getting serious and they seem to have no plan for real fit for purpose proper quarantine, vaccine rollout or listen to the experts they have been ignoring now for 18 months!


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