Local council elections for five million NSW residents will be delayed until December is an ominous sign Sydney's Covid outbreak could drag on for months.
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock the delay was a direct response to the worrying rise in Covid-19 cases across the city, jumping another 141 on Sunday.
Mrs Hancock said after discussions with NSW Health and NSW Electoral Commission, the decision was made to postpone the poll to December 4.
More than five million residents in NSW will have to wait until December to vote in council elections as the poll is postponedin a response to rising Covid-19 case numbersInsurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Electors will be able to cast their vote safely in person, by post or online in December, with electronic voting, dubbed iVote, available for the first time this year
'Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and current public health orders impacting Sydney, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the local government elections until later this year,' she said.
'We have taken this step to postpone the election to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates.'
The second year in a row local elections have been delayed was also influenced by increasing pressure from Labor and mayors across Sydney.
The minister said voters will be able to cast their ballots safely in person, by post, or online in December with electronic voting, dubbed iVote, available for the first time this year.
Voters will have 13 days pre-election day to vote, in an effort to reduce the number of people congregating on polling day.
The delay means nominations that were due to begin on Monday will open on October 25, with the term for nominated councillors to still end in 2024.
About 5.1 million Sydneysiders are enrolled to vote this year, with more than 500 candidates expected to contend for a place on 125 of the state's 128 counsels.
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'We have taken this step to postpone the election to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our communities, voters, polling staff and candidates', Mrs Hancock said of the delay
About 5.1million Sydneysiders are enrolled to vote this year, with more than 500 candidates expected to contend for a place on 125 of the state's 128 counsels
The government's previous plan to push ahead with the polls on September 4 was called into question as the fast-spreading Delta variant continues to wreak havoc across Sydney.
Meanwhile a decorated Australian immunologist has warned the thousands of anti-vaxxer protestors that took to the city's streets on Saturday could cause case numbers to explode and subsequently extend the lockdown.
Frenzied crowds were heard shouting 'freedom' and anti-vaccine slogans as they swarmed Sydney's city centre, just moments after NSW Health's Jeremy McAnulty declared the area a virus hotspot.
Fifty-seven rioters were taken away in handcuffs as protesters hurled pot plants at mounted officers and crowds shouted repeatedly at police: 'you serve us!'
Professor Peter Doherty warned those who are the most likely to die from the virus are the unvaccinated.
Mr Doherty said that even if most of the population has received the jab, the virus can still be passed on to those who haven't.
Anti-lockdown protests in Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday led to dozens of arrests of demonstrators who defied stay-at-home orders as they called for an end to Australia's strategy of lockdowns to limit the spread of Covid-19
There are currently 139 people in Sydney hospitals with Covid as a result of the latest outbreak, which includes 37 in intensive care, 17 of whom require ventilators.
Of the 37 people in