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Recent changes to legislation – local government election donation disclosure requirements

Purpose

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform local governments of legislative amendments to improve transparency and accountability in respect of local government election donation disclosure requirements.

Details

The Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (the Amendment Act), enacted on 19 May 2017, amended the Local Government Electoral Act 2011 and the Associations Incorporation Act 1981 to:

  • facilitate real-time online disclosures of gifts, loans and third party expenditure for local government elections, consistent with state election requirements
  • set the candidate and third party election disclosure donation thresholds at $500 to align with the threshold for a councillor's register of interest gift disclosures under the Local Government Act 2009
  • require the unspent campaign donations of a candidate/group of candidates at the end of the disclosure period for the election to be either kept in the dedicated account for the conduct of another election campaign by the candidate/group of candidates, or, if the candidate/group of candidates were members of a political party during the disclosure period, be paid to the political party or paid to a registered charity
  • clarify that the Electoral Commission of Queensland may continue to recover the direct and indirect costs associated with the conduct of local government elections from local governments
  • clarify that incorporated associations cannot be used to receive or hold electoral campaign funds which are intended to be applied for the benefit of a member of the association, either directly or indirectly.

The Amendment Act and Explanatory Notes are available on the Queensland Legislation website:

Sections 10 to 24, 27, 28 and 30 of the Amendment Act commenced on 14 July 2017. The remaining sections of the Amendment Bill commenced on 19 May 2017.

The Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) Amendment Regulation 2017 (the Amendment Regulation), made by the Governor in Council on 13 July 2017 and commenced on 14 July 2017, amended the Local Government Electoral Regulation 2012 to prescribe the timeframes for the disclosure of local government election donations and approve procedures for electronic lodgement of returns about the donations.

The Amendment Regulation and Explanatory Notes are available on the Queensland Legislation Website:

Information about the requirements for the disclosure of election donations and loans and for dedicated accounts is also available on the department’s website.

Further Information

Any further enquiries on this matter should be addressed to:

Mr Bill Hastie
Manager (Local Government Policy)
Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning
P: (07) 3452 6710
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..