Local Government elections to be more transparent

GREATER TRANSPARENCY WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTORAL DONATIONS

Queenslanders are set to be better informed during local government elections with legislation paving the way for real-time online disclosures of electoral donations introduced into Parliament.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad introduced legislative reform, following recommendations from the Crime and Corruption Commission’s Transparency and accountability in local government report.

“Queenslanders expect transparency and accountability from their candidates at every level of government,” Ms Trad said.

“Through these major reforms we are taking another step in ensuring that Queensland has some of the most progressive, open and transparent political donation laws in the country.

“Queenslanders can have confidence in the transparency and integrity of local government donation disclosures and on polling day cast their vote with eyes wide open.”

The legislative reform:

  • Provides for the implementation of a real-time online disclosure system for local government electoral donations, consistent with the state system
  • Clarifies that incorporated associations are not be permitted to receive or hold electoral campaign funds which are intended to be applied for a member’s benefit, either directly or indirectly
  • Ensures that a candidate’s dedicated account can only be used for gifts and loans received and expenditure made for electoral campaigns, making it easier to trace campaign expenditure
  • Requires unspent campaign donations in a candidate’s dedicated account to be either kept in the account for the conduct of another election campaign, paid to a registered charity nominated by the candidate, or paid to the relevant political party
  • Sets the candidate and third party election disclosure donation threshold at $500 to align with a councillor’s register of interest gift disclosures threshold

A review panel which included representatives of the Local Government Association of Queensland, the Electoral Commission of Queensland and State agencies assessed the CCC’s report.

The Local Government Electoral (Transparency and Accountability in Local Government) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 has been referred to the Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources Committee for its consideration.

The next Queensland local government elections are scheduled for 2020.

 

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