All local government councillors have obligations under the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (the Act).
The Funding and Disclosure Guide - Local Government Councillors and their Official Agents is now available. The guide provides local government councillors and their official agents information about their obligations under the Act and practical information about:
A brief summary of each section is provided below. For more explanation click on the links provided in the left hand column or refer to the Funding and Disclosure Guide - Local Government Councillors and their Official Agents.
An official agent is responsible for managing political donations and electoral expenditure, keeping proper records and lodging a disclosure of political donations and electoral expenditure.
Local government councillors are designated by the EFA to be their own official agents and must comply with the requirements of the Act and the Regulation. However, as a local government councillor, you can choose to nominate to the EFA an official agent to act on your behalf with respect to funding and disclosure matters. If the nominated official agent meets the eligibility requirements, the EFA will designate this person as your official agent.
A political donation is a gift (monetary or non-monetary) made to or for the benefit of a local government councillor. Political donations include (but are not limited to):
Political donations of $1,000 or more are known as reportable political donations. Reportable political donations include multiple donations made by one donor to the same local government councillor in one financial year that total $1,000 or more.
Political donations of less than $1,000 are known as small political donations.
Some political donations are unlawful. Unlawful political donations include:
A loan is an advance of money, the provision of credit or any other transaction that in substance affects a loan of money.
A reportable loan is a loan or total in loans of $1,000 or more from one source in the same disclosure period (ie a 12-month period ending 30 June).
A non-reportable loan is:
Unpaid accounts and invoices are also considered reportable loans where there has been an agreement with the supplier of the product or service to extend their standard payment period and/or payment terms.
Electoral expenditure is any expenditure for or in connection with promoting or opposing, directly or indirectly, the election of a candidate or a group of candidates or for the purpose of influencing, directly or indirectly, the voting at an election.
Local government councillors (or their official agents) must keep proper records of electoral expenditure including receipts or invoices for expenditure items and samples of all advertising and printed material.
When a political donation is received, the local government councillor (or their official agent) must record the details of the donation.
When a person or entity makes a reportable political donation to or for the benefit of a local government councillor, the councillor (or their official agent) is required to issue a receipt/acknowledgement slip to the donor. Each receipt/acknowledgement slip must contain a statement to advise the donor of their obligation to disclose political donations to the EFA. The Receipt and Acknowledgement books issued by the EFA already have this statement printed on the back of each receipt/acknowledgement slip.
Local government councillors and their official agents must also keep records of small political donations (monetary and non-monetary) in order to disclose the total value of these donations received and the total number of people who made these donations during the disclosure period.
Local government councillors must have a campaign account before accepting $1,000 or more in political donations or intending to spend $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure in an election period.
The campaign account must not be a personal account of a local government councillor.
A campaign account can only be used for the following purposes:
Local government councillors (or their official agents), are required to keep proper records to ensure accurate and complete disclosure of political donations and electoral expenditure.
Records of local government councillors and their official agents may be subject to a compliance audit by the EFA.
A local government councillor (or their official agent) is required to lodge a disclosure of the political donations received and electoral expenditure incurred following each 12-month period ending 30 June for as long as they remain a councillor.
Disclosures must be made using the Disclosure of Political Donations and Electoral Expenditure for a Local Government Councillor form. Used Receipt and Acknowledgement books as well as invoices and receipts supporting advertising and printing expenditure must be submitted with the disclosure.
Where a local government councillor has not received any political donations nor incurred any electoral expenditure a ‘nil’ disclosure must be lodged.
Each local government councillor must have their disclosure audited by a registered company auditor unless the EFA has approved an exemption.