The process to elect a new council has started following lengthy delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community members wishing to nominate to run as candidates in the poll are now able to do so.

Nominations close at 12pm next Wednesday, November 3.

The beginning of the election process follows the 12 month extension issued after local government polls were delayed last September due to the ongoing pandemic.

The virus continued to wreak havoc on plans for a September poll this year, with a subsequent delay to the current December 4 election day.

NSW Electoral Commissioner John Schmidt said nominations can now be made entirely online for the first time at local council elections via the commission’s Nominations Online Management System.

At previous local government elections, submitting nominations was a purely paper-based process.

“I encourage anyone planning to nominate to get started on their nomination today,” he said.

“The system is open and we have information on our website to help prospective candidates through every step of the process,” he said.

In Narrabri Shire, nine councillor positions are available.

As part of the Electoral Commission of NSW’s election requirements, candidates may be nominated by either a registered political party or two electors.

In information distributed by the commission, it says candidates and groups can only accept political donations or make payments for electoral expenditure before November 4, 2021 if they have already registered (not just lodged their nomination) with the commission.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said that it was the perfect time to nominate and run for council, to improve representation of women, indigenous, multicultural and youth.

“I’m calling on women, young people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents, and members of multicultural communities to just go for it,” Mrs Hancock said.

Mrs Hancock, who served for 17 years on Shoalhaven City Council, said that local council offers a rewarding career, working with local residents and businesses to improve the lifestyle and amenity of your community.

“If you have a strong sense of community and are keen to make a difference in your local neighbourhood, then you should nominate for the December 4 local government elections,” Mrs Hancock said.

For more information on the December council elections visit the Office of Local Government and NSW Electoral Commission websites.

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