19-24 – Ward boundary and name changes

Category: Circular to Councils Status: Active
Circular Details: 19-24 / 30 September 2019 / A658288 Contact: Council Governance Team / 4428 4100
Previous Circular: Nil Attachments: Nil
Who should read this: Councillors / General Managers / Governance staff Action required: Information
PDF Version: Council Circular 19-24 – PDF

What’s new or changing

  • Councils must review their ward boundaries and notify the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) of any finalised changes to ward boundaries and/or names before 9 December 2019.

What this will mean for your council

  • Under section 211 of the Local Government Act 1993 councils that are divided into wards must keep ward boundaries under review to ensure the difference in elector numbers between wards does not exceed 10%. For information on how the variation is to be calculated, please consult the attachment to this Circular.
  • Before altering ward boundaries, councils must:
    • consult the NSWEC and the Australian Statistician; and
    • prepare and publicly exhibit a plan detailing any proposed alteration (the ward boundary plan).
  •  After public exhibition, councils must also notify the NSWEC of the final changes.

Key points

  • Local government ordinary elections are to be held on 12 September 2020.
  • Councils must:
    • consult with the NSWEC prior to exhibiting a new boundary plan; and
    • notify the NSWEC after new boundaries are finalised.
  • The NSWEC maintains a website to assist councils review ward boundaries and provide guidance on the process for consulting with it.
  • Councils must publicly exhibit the ward boundary plan for at least 28 days and consider any submissions made during the 42-day consultation period.
  • The closing date for councils to notify the NSWEC of final ward boundary and name changes for the next ordinary elections is 9 December 2019.

Where to go for further information

Tim Hurst

Deputy Secretary
Local Government, Planning and Policy


To ascertain if there is a difference greater than 10% in the number of electors between wards, councils need to determine the percentage variation between the numbers of electors between wards.

For example: Local Government Area with 4 wards, with a total of 10,000 electors in the Area:

Ward 1 = 2,630 electors

Ward 2 = 2,367 electors

Ward 3 = 2,553 electors

Ward 4 = 2,450 electors

Total = 10,000 electors

The difference between wards 1 and 2 (greatest and least numbers of electors) = 263, or 10% of 2,630.

In the above example, the arrangement does not result in a variation of more than 10% between the number of electors and each ward of the Area. If, however, the variation becomes greater than 10%, councils are required to alter their ward boundaries in compliance with section 211 of the Local Government Act 1993.