Q1.1 How do I register as a candidate for a Local Government election?
Candidates register by completing the Application for Registration of a Candidate for a Local Government Election form and lodging it with the EFA as soon as you intend to accept a political donation or incur electoral expenditure or by nomination day for the election you are registering for.
Q1.2 Is it compulsory for me to register as a candidate for Local Government election?
All candidates must register with the EFA before receiving any political donations or incurring any electoral expenditure for the election.
Q1.3 We are forming a group to contest a Local Government election. How do we register our group?
To register a group complete the Application for Registration of a Group for a Local Government Election form and lodge it with the EFA as soon as your group intends to accept a political donation or incur electoral expenditure or by nomination day for the election your group is registering for.
Q1.4 Is it compulsory for our group to register for a Local Government election?
All groups of candidates must register with the EFA before receiving any political donations or incurring any electoral expenditure for the election.
Q1.5 I am a member of a group. Do I need to register as a candidate for the upcoming Council elections?
Each person in the group must be registered as a candidate with the EFA, or the EFA will not register the group.
Q1.6 When do registrations close for Local Government elections?
Candidates and groups can register at any time up to the nomination day of the election they want to contest. Note: Registration as a candidate with the EFA is separate to being nominated as a candidate to contest the election. For more information about nominating for the election, please visit the New South Wales Electoral Commission website: www.elections.nsw.gov.au (External website).
Any candidates or groups of candidates who were not required to register with the EFA prior to nomination day will be deemed to be registered by the EFA once they nominate for the election.
Q2.1 Is it compulsory for me as a candidate to appoint and register an official agent for a Local Government election?
All candidates are required to appoint an official agent to act on their behalf from the point they register or are deemed to be registered with the EFA. This agent must be someone other than the candidate.
Q2.2 Is it compulsory for our group to appoint and register an official agent for a Local Government election?
All groups of candidates are required to appoint an official agent to act on their behalf from the point the group registers or are deemed to be registered with the EFA. This agent must be someone other than the head candidate of the group.
Q2.3 I am a member of a group for a Local Government election. Do I need to appoint an official agent?
All candidates are required to appoint an official agent to act on their behalf from the point they register or are deemed to be registered with the EFA. This agent must be someone other than the candidate. This appointment is separate than the appointment of the official agent for the group however it can be the same person.
Q2.4 Can anyone be an official agent or party agent?
No. A person can only be appointed as an official agent or party agent if they:
Q2.5 How does a prospective Official Agent complete the online training?
The training program is available on the EFA website. To do the training prospective agents must register online to get a username and a password. The training consists of a number of information modules with quizzes throughout and an assessment test of multiple choice questions.
Q2.6 How to I appoint my Official Agent?
After the successful completion of the online Official Agent training, the candidate or group can appoint the person as their agent by completing and lodging the Notice of Appointment of Official Agent form. When the EFA receives the form the agent is officially registered as an official agent for the candidate or group that appointed them.
Q2.7 Does a person have to complete the training program before being appointed and registered as an official agent?
The following people are not required to undertake the training program:
Q2.8 I am a candidate for a Local Government election. How do I register an official agent?
To register a person as an official agent complete the Notice of Appointment of Official Agent and lodge it with the EFA with your registration as a candidate or by nomination day for the election for which you are registering. Any person who is being considered as an official agent must meet all necessary criteria.
Q2.9 We plan to form a group for an upcoming Local Government election. How do we register an official agent?
To register a person as an official agent for a group complete the Notice of Appointment of Official Agent and lodge it with the EFA with your registration as a group or by nomination day for the election for which you are registering. Any person who is being considered as an official agent must meet all necessary criteria.
Q3.1 I am a candidate at a Local Government election. Am I allowed to accept political donations?
You can only accept political donations if:
Q3.2 We are forming a group for a Local Government election. Are we allowed to accept political donations?
Your group can only accept political donations if:
Q3.3 What do I do when a person gives me a political donation?
A political donation to or for the benefit of a candidate or group can only be accepted if the candidate or group is registered with the EFA. Political donations to a candidate or group can only be accepted by a registered official agent.
When an official agent receives a reportable political donation they must:
Political donations can only be used to incur electoral expenditure or to reimburse a person for incurring electoral expenditure (or for any other approved purpose under the Act).
Q3.4 Can I use any type of receipt?
Official agents of candidates and groups must use receipt/acknowledgement slips from a Receipt and Acknowledgement book issued by the EFA upon registration. Contact the EFA to obtain extra books.
The receipt comes in triplicate form. The original is given to the donor. The duplicate is to be kept by the official agent. The triplicate is lodged with the Disclosure of Political Donations and Electoral Expenditure form. There are 25 receipts in each receipt book.
Q3.5 What kinds of donations do I issue a receipt for?
Official agents are required to issue a receipt to each person that makes a reportable political donation to a candidate or group. Reportable political donations are those of $1000 or more.
If a person makes more than one donation to the same candidate or group in the same financial year, the donations are reportable if they add up to $1000 or more. Official agents are advised to keep a record of donations received that are less than $1,000 in order to determine whether future political donations are reportable.
Q3.6 What details do I need to record about the political donations?
For each reportable political donation record:
Q3.7 Are there any restrictions on receiving political donations?
Yes, there are a number of restrictions, making certain kinds of political donations unlawful. It is unlawful for an official agent to accept a political donation (reportable or small), unless it is made by an individual who is on the federal, state or local government electoral roll and the name and address of the individual are known to the candidate or group accepting the donation and there are no grounds to believe that the name and address provided are not true.
Q3.8 Am I allowed to accept 'in-kind' contributions or indirect campaign contributions?
It is unlawful for the official agent of a candidate or group to accept any of the following indirect campaign contributions if the value of the gift exceeds $1,000 or the total value of the items provided or done by the same person over the same financial year exceeds $1,000:
All other gifts in kind of any value may be accepted by the official agent of the candidate or group as long as the details of the gift are recorded. A receipt/acknowledgement slip must be issued to the donor when they make reportable political donation in the form of an in-kind gift. In kind gifts and indirect campaign contributions must be disclosed as political donations by the official agent for the candidate or group who received the gift. Volunteer labour or the incidental use of equipment that belongs to volunteers is not an in-kind gift.
Q3.9 How do I make payments for electoral expenditure?
Payments for electoral expenditure can only be made by the official agent from the campaign account of the candidate or group unless they are not required to have a campaign account.
Q3.10 Can candidates and groups pay for electoral expenditure with their own funds?
If a candidate or group is required to have a campaign account and they want to use their own funds to cover electoral expenditure, then they must deposit their own funds into that campaign account. Only the official agent can make payments for electoral expenditure from the campaign account. Candidates and groups can be reimbursed for money they paid into the account using the funds in the campaign account. All electoral expenditure must be disclosed in a disclosure lodged by the official agent of the candidate or group.
Q4.1 Do all candidates and groups need a campaign account?
In most cases yes. If you accept more than $1,000 in political donations or spend more $1,000 or more in electoral expenditure you must open a campaign account. This is irrespective of whether you are using your own funds to pay for the expenditure.
Q4.2 Are there any requirements for the type and use of a campaign account?
The account is to be a separate bank account with a bank, building society or credit union. The campaign account must belong to the candidate or group and the official agent must be authorised to operate the account (i.e. deposit political donations and make withdrawals or payments for electoral expenditure). Although a candidate or group may own the account, they must not operate the account other than for depositing their own funds.
Q4.3 What can I use the campaign account for?
The campaign account can only be used for the following purposes:
Q5.1 What records are candidates and groups required to keep?
The official agent of the candidate or group must keep the following accounting records in respect to an election campaign:
Q5.2 How long should I/we keep the records for?
All accounting records for an election campaign must be kept for at least three years following an election.
Q6.1 When does the disclosure period start and end?Disclosures cover a twelve month period from 1 July to 30 June each year. The commencement date of a candidate's first disclosure period is dependent on whether the candidate has contested previous elections. The disclosure commencement date for a candidate is:
A group's disclosure period will be the twelve month period in which the group is registered, ie 1 July to 30 June.
Q6.2 When do I need to submit my disclosures by?
Disclosures cannot be lodged until after the disclosure period ends on 30 June. Disclosures are to be lodged with the EFA from 1 July to 22 September.
Q6.3 I am a member of a group at a local government election. Do I have to lodge my own disclosure?
Yes. All candidates must also lodge a candidate disclosure in addition to the group dislcosure.
Q6.4 I will not accept any political donations or incur any expenditure. Do I have to lodge a disclosure?
Yes. If you have nothing to declare you will lodge a 'nil' disclosure.
Q6.5 I am a member of a group and I contributed my own funds to the group. Do I have to disclose this information?
Yes. A candidate who is a member of a group and who contributes their own funds to the group must disclose the donation as electoral expenditure. This is because the candidate has disposed of their own money for the benefit of the group. The official agent for the group is required to disclose the receipt of the money as self funding of the group.
Q6.6 I am a candidate endorsed by a registered political party. Political donations are only made to my party and my party pays for all the campaign expenditure. How are the donations and expenditure disclosed?
The party agent of the party is required to disclose the political donations received and the electoral expenditure incurred by the party on the party's disclosure. The official agent of the candidate will lodge a 'nil' disclosure.
Q6.7 Who is responsible for lodging a disclosure?
In the case of a party – the party agent.
In the case of a candidate – the official agent of the candidate.
In the case of a group – the official agent of the group.
Q6.8 Do I have to disclose the details of all donations?
No. You must disclose details of all reportable political donations (ie donations of $1,000 or more). For non-reportable political donations (ie those less than $1,000) you must declare how many of these donations you received and the total value of the donations.
Q6.9 Do I have to disclose any loans that I received?
You are required to disclose the details of any reportable loans you receive. A reportable loan is a loan (or total in loans) of $1,000 or more from one source in the same disclosure period. Unpaid accounts and invoices are also considered loans and must be disclosed if the total value of any one account or invoice is $1,000 or more in one disclosure period. Loans from financial institutions are not reportable loans and therefore do not need to be disclosed.
Q6.10 Do I need to have my disclosure audited?
In the case of a disclosure by a Local Government candidate or group and a Local Government councillor (or mayor) an audit certificate is only required where there is more than $2,500 in political donations or more than $2,500 in electoral expenditure. In all other situations a disclosure must be audited by a registered company auditor.
Q6.11 Who can audit my disclosure?
Only registered company auditors can audit a disclosure. Registered officers and deputy registered officers of registered political parties, elected members, candidates, official agents and party agents are not permitted to audit a disclosure.
Q6.12 Do I need to provide any supporting documents when I lodge my disclosure?
Yes. The following items must be submitted with a disclosure:
Q6.13 Where do I send my disclosure?
Disclosures can be posted to:
Election Funding Authority of NSW
GPO Box 4046
Sydney NSW 2001
Alternatively, you can fax your disclosure to : (02) 9290 5410 or email to: email@example.com
Q7.1 Is public funding available for Local Government elections?
No. Public funding is not available for Local Government elections.