Agency information guide

About us

The New South Wales Electoral Commission (NSWEC) is an independent statutory corporation established under the Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 (PEEA). The NSWEC consists of the Electoral Commissioner, a former Judge as the Chairperson of the Commission and a person appointed by the Governor who has financial or audit skills and qualifications relevant to the functions of the NSWEC.

The Commissioner is the agency head of the New South Wales Electoral Commission Staff Agency. The NSWEC Staff Agency enables the NSWEC to exercise its functions.

When any distribution of electoral districts becomes necessary under the provisions of the Constitution Act 1902, the Governor will appoint three persons to be Electoral Districts Commissioners, one being the Electoral Commissioner, to carry out the distribution.

Our role

The NSWEC implements the democratic principles of an impartial and fair electoral system in which elections are conducted at arm's length from government and in accordance with the law.

The NSWEC has functions conferred or imposed on it by or under the PEEA, the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (EFEDA), the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 (LGOA) or other Acts which include:

  • providing assistance for the conduct of elections by the Electoral Commissioner,
  • instituting proceedings for offences against the PEEA, the EFEDA or the LGOA,
  • administering the election funding, expenditure and disclosure scheme under the EFEDA and registering electoral participants for the purposes of that scheme,
  • maintaining the Register of Third-Party Lobbyists and Lobbyists Watch List under the LGOA,
  • conducting and promoting research into electoral matters and other matters that relate to its functions,
  • promoting public awareness of electoral matters and political donations,
  • promoting compliance by parties, elected members, candidates, groups, agents, third-party campaigners and donors with the requirements of the election funding, expenditure and disclosure scheme.

Under the PEEA, the Electoral Commissioner is responsible for the registration of political parties, enrolment of electors, preparation of lists and rolls of electors, and the conduct of elections and referendums for the Parliament of NSW.

A local government council can enter into an arrangement with the Electoral Commissioner for the Electoral Commissioner to administer elections, polls and referendums for the council in accordance with the Local Government Act 1993.

The Electoral Commissioner also conducts elections and polls for Aboriginal Land Councils (Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983), registered clubs (Registered Clubs Act 1976), certain statutory boards/authorities (e.g. Health Practitioner Regulation 2010) and State registered industrial organisations (Industrial Relations Act 1996).

The NSWEC also reports to the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

Organisational structure

The NSWEC Staff Agency comprises the following 8 branches:

  • Elections Branch
  • Performance Measurement Branch
  • Finance Branch
  • Administration Branch
  • Enrolment Branch
  • Information Technology Branch
  • Legal Services
  • Funding and Disclosure Branch

For more information on organisational structure refer to the NSWECs latest Annual Report.

How the NSWEC's functions affect the public

The functions of the NSWEC and the Electoral Commissioner have a significant effect on the public in a number of ways. For example, a redistribution of electoral district boundaries will determine where an elector is enrolled to vote. As another example, individuals may also be subject to the exercise of statutory powers by the NSWEC. These include the power to require the production of documents or the giving of evidence and the issuing of penalty notices.

To assist the public in understanding how the NSWEC's function affect them (both in terms of their rights and obligations) the NSWEC has made available on its website, free of charge, detailed information (including fact sheets, brochures, handbooks, policies, search tools and public registers) concerning topics such as the election funding, expenditure and disclosure scheme, enrolment, State elections, Local Government elections, registered club elections and lobbying.

The NSWEC also provides a number of information sessions throughout the year in which relevant stakeholders may attend. As always, please refer to the Disclaimer on the NSWEC's website (it is recommended that persons read the relevant Acts and obtain their own legal advice where necessary).

The NSWEC also maintains a number of mailing lists for different stakeholders, such as:

  • the Returning Officer and Office Manager Newsletter, which is designed to keep former or current employees of the NSWEC up to date about election services, events, regulations, employment opportunities and other incidental information.
  • the Election Reminder Facility, which allows electors to register for an email and/or SMS to be sent whenever a Local Government or State Parliamentary (not Federal Government) election event for which they are enrolled is pending. The information provided is also used by the NSWEC to contact citizens as part of electoral enrolment and/or election event processes.
  • A subscription service, which is available to all interested stakeholders. Subscribers receive information on disclosure obligations and other relevant election funding matters, including invitations to participate in information sessions.

The NSWEC maintains a Feedback Facility for complaints and enquiries. The facility is available online, by post or telephone.

Stakeholder engagement and feedback

The NSWEC upholds the principle of equal access to democracy for all NSW citizens and delivers high quality electoral services which are impartial, effective, efficient and in accordance with the law.

Members of the public can have input into the NSWEC's policy formulation process and the exercise of its functions via a range of consultative reference groups. These include the Equal Access to Democracy Reference Group which canvasses the views of a wide range of peak disability organisations representing people with disabilities (for more information about this group contact us).

The NSWEC also holds consultations with registered political parties and local councils before elections and maintains ongoing networks with other Government agencies such as the Community Relations Commission and the Department of Families and Community Services.

The NSWEC consults with relevant stakeholders for the purpose of ascertaining their views and experience with election processes with the aim of improving our services, for example, after each State or Local Government Election.

The NSWEC welcomes feedback from electors, community organisations and government agencies regarding our services and publications. Should you wish to provide feedback, please email us using our feedback facility or write to the Electoral Commission at GPO Box 832, Sydney NSW 2001.

Any personal information obtained from subscriptions or feedback facilities are held by the NSWEC Staff Agency in accordance with the PPIP Act. Please refer to our Privacy Management Plan for further information.

The type of information we hold

The NSWEC Staff Agency holds a range of information, including:

  • Policy and planning documents,
  • Documents prepared for submission to the Joint Parliamentary Committee,
  • Correspondence with the heads and staff of NSW government agencies,
  • Correspondence with the public,
  • Guidelines, handbooks, forms and other information resources for the community (electors, candidates, members of parliament and parties),
  • Enrolment information,
  • Information contained in public registers,

How to access our information and the types of information that will not be made available under the GIPA Act are discussed on the Access to information webpage.

Our location and contact details.

See how to access our information.