Following the directives of the Minister for Local Government, Lithgow City Council's 2020 local government election has been postponed to September 2021.
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The postponement comes after the recent outbreak of the coronavirus in Australia, with the government installing tight restrictions on gatherings of any kind.
The Local Government Act 1993 has been amended to confer on the Minister, a time-limited power to postpone council elections.
The postponement of the next election will not change the future schedule of council elections, and the subsequent election will still proceed in September 2024.
According to Chief Financial and Information Officer Ross Gurney, Lithgow Council had entered into an agreement with the Electoral Commission to run the election for Council.
"We had put a plan in place, but they stopped work when the order came in and will cease work until the next election gets closer," he said.
"In circular, where mayors are elected in 2018, council will need to hold a mayoral election in 2020, where the mayor would be elected for 12 months, which is our case."
Councillor Cassandra Coleman said that the announcement didn't surprise her, with talks swirling about the possibility of the election happening in March 2021.
"But now we have confirmation it will be postponed a year, so we are in for another 12 months," she said.
The postponement would mean "business as usual" for Cr Coleman who said that she was trying to be as proactive in the community as she could.
"I think Lithgow residents would be disappointed by the postponement because they probably wanted their say in who is leading Lithgow into the future," she said.
"Ratepayers are at the front of what I do, I'm a passionate councillor and I am trying to embrace technology to show people that despite not being physically out in town, I still care and am here."
Cr Coleman said that the postponement would be difficult for councillors that were planning on retiring and spending time with their families.
"I feel sorry for them because now they have to commit to another year and keep putting in the work to provide stability and leadership to Lithgow during this time," she said.
Cr Coleman thanked her teenage girls for helping her with technology.
"I have a 16 and 18 year old and I am fortunate they are tech savvy, and help me set up things," she said.
"We are currently looking at a Skype option for council meeting's, and I am lucky to be able to work from home so that would suit me perfectly."
Cr Coleman said that wouldn't work for every councillor though.
"I think it will be a struggle for the older councillors," she said.
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