New South Wales local government areas vary in size and character, an can consist of a group of suburbs, a town or a rural area. Local government areas are often divided into several wards, with electors in each ward electing a number of councillors. Local government area boundaries are changed from time to time and are determined through legislation and processes managed by the Office of Local Government.
For more information about local government in New South Wales visit the Office of Local Government or Local Government NSW websites.
All local government elections are held throughout New South Wales on the second Saturday in September every four years. A preferential voting system is used to elect councillors.
As a general rule the councillors elect one of their number to be the Mayor. However, in some councils it has been decided by referendum that the voters will elect the Mayor. Where this is the case, the Mayor is said to be 'elected by popular vote' or 'a directly elected Mayor'. In this situation the optional preferential method of voting is used.
A mayor is elected by the councillors holds the office of mayor for two years, and a mayor elected by the electors holds the office of mayor for four years.
For more information on local government elections have a look at the Local Government Act 1993 and the New South Wales Electoral Commission (NSWEC) website.