NSW councils which have already been forced to amalgamate won't be given a chance to go back on the merger, Premier Gladys Berejiklian says.
The premier on Thursday conceded defeat in her fight to forcibly merge more than a dozen Sydney councils, in a major policy backflip for her government.
However, on Friday she ruled out allowing those local governments that had already merged to back out of the deal.
"We know that come September 9, people will be electing their new councils," Ms Berejiklian told Macquarie Radio.
"We also appreciate that many councils that are merged did not want to be merged, they were uncomfortable.
"But now they're there telling us, we would much rather proceed than have to go through the heartache..."
Citing protracted legal battles with several councils and the uncertainty this was causing ratepayers, Ms Berejiklian has admitted the government failed to effectively implement the amalgamations.
The policy of council mergers, however, was still sound, she said.
On Friday, opposition local government spokesman Peter Primrose called on the premier to rule out forced council amalgamations beyond the 2019 state election.
Local governments that had been amalgamated should also be given the opportunity to hold a referendum on whether to de-merge.
"This policy has been a dog's breakfast from day one," Mr Primrose said in a statement.
"It should not have taken the premier this long to call a halt to plans to forcibly merge councils.
Ms Berejiklian in January decided to walk away from planned amalgamations in the bush but forged ahead with those in the city.