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Clover Moore returned as Sydney mayor

AAP logoAAP 9/09/2016 Miranda Forster

Clover Moore is set for a record fourth term as Sydney lord mayor after claiming a decisive victory at the NSW council elections, amid an apparent voter backlash against the Liberal Party.

The independent Ms Moore claimed victory shortly after 9pm on Saturday after reaching an unbeatable lead over Liberal candidate Christine Forster and Labor's Linda Scott.

Ms Moore paid tribute to a "fantastic and amazing" community campaign by her supporters, but admitted the result had not always been certain.

"I was out on the street and getting a very, very positive response, but I kept being told that I'd lose my majority and I could lose the mayoralty, and the two just didn't go together and tonight we see the outcome," she told AAP.

"People were telling me how much they supported our work and they wanted it to continue and at the same time telling me they were really, really angry with the (Mike) Baird government and the shooters party cobbling together that legislation to undermine the value of the vote in the city."

The government's change to the voting rules gave businesses in the City of Sydney two votes each and was designed, Ms Moore said, to force her out and get a Liberal mayor in.

"I was very, very circumspect in being hopeful of an outcome because I didn't know what the change in the voting system, the impact, would be," she said.

Meanwhile voters in western Sydney appear to have punished the Baird government, with Liberal councillors losing seats in Blacktown, Penrith and Campbelltown.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley used Twitter to thank western Sydney voters, noting big swings to Labor in six local government areas.

"Grateful to people of western Sydney for your support for NSW Labor candidates today. You have sent Mr Baird a big message," Mr Foley wrote.

Final results in the 78 NSW council elections held on Saturday are not expected until after preferences are distributed, a process that begins next week.

Seventy NSW councils that are either newly formed or still undergoing amalgamation have had their elections deferred until next year.

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