Voters will have to wait another three months to elect councillors following the local government poll's postponement.
The delay is likely to bolster the case for electronic voting, which Goulburn Mulwaree council general manager Warwick Bennett promotes.
NSW Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock announced on Saturday the elections had been pushed back from September 4 to December 4.
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and current public health orders impacting Greater Sydney, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the local government elections until later this year," Mrs Hancock said.
"We have taken this step...to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates."
Mrs Hancock said the decision came after extensive discussions with the NSW Electoral Commission and NSW Health in relation to the COVID pandemic situation in Greater Sydney.
The delay will apply to all NSW councils except Central Coast, which is under administration.
Voters will be able to participate in the December elections in person, by post or online and pre-poll voting will begin two weeks before election day. Nominations, which had been due to open on Monday, July 26, will instead be postponed until October 25.
Mr Bennett has advocated electronic voting as a means of reducing election costs and achieving a quicker result. He helped implement this method for councils in his native New Zealand.
"I cannot understand why we go on to a website, put all our credit card and bank details on there, are not worried about it, but then get really upset about moves to vote online. It's bizarre," he previously told The Post.
The approach could also offer a safe approach during COVID.
Councillors have already served an extra 12 months, following last year's council election delay.
Three Goulburn Mulwaree councillors had decided not to run in September. These were Crs Denzil Sturgiss, Alfie Walker and Sam Rowland.
Meantime, Local Government NSW has called on the state government to commit to holding the elections before the end of the year.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"Local governments need energetic, dedicated local leaders as mayors and councillors.
"Regional NSW local governments are particularly eager for safe NSW elections to proceed, with many areas of without a single COVID exposure.
"Why should the rest of NSW have to suffer because of COVID cases in Sydney?
Cr Scott said the state should publish the NSW health advice that underpinned the decision.
With elections taking up to 12 months to organise, she believes the rescheduling will impose resourcing and cost burdens on councils.
Goulburn Mulwaree normally shares the cost with Yass Valley and Upper Lachlan Councils.
The former allocates $50,000 annually towards election costs. The 2016 poll cost $175,000.
Seven people have so far registered for the Goulburn Mulwaree poll. These are Steve Bray, Matthew Henderson, Adam Milani, Cr Margaret O'Neill, Steve Ruddell, Dan Strickland and Deputy Mayor Peter Walker.
However Mayor Bob Kirk and Crs Leah Ferrara, Carol James and Andrew Banfield have also committed to re-nomination.
In addition, Platon Antony, Tim Dally and Jason Shepherd have told The Post they would stand for election.
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