Election Campaigns Fund

The purpose of the Election Campaigns Fund is to reimburse eligible candidates and political parties for electoral expenditure incurred in relation to a State general election or by-election.

A political party or candidate that is eligible to receive a payment may make a claim with the NSWEC for payment from the Fund.

Eligibility

Eligibility requirements to receive a payment from the Elections Campaign Fund for:

A political party is eligible to receive a payment from the Fund in relation to a State general election if the party:

  • is registered for State elections with the NSWEC on election day and was registered for at least 12 months prior to the issue of the writs for election, and
  • endorses candidates who are properly nominated for the election, and
  • satisfies at least one of the following criteria:
    • in the case of a Legislative Assembly general election, all candidates endorsed by the party receive at least 4% of the first preference votes in all electoral districts where the candidates were nominated, or
    • in the case of a Legislative Council election, all candidates endorsed by a party (including all candidates included in the same group) receive at least 4% of the first preference votes in that election, or
    • at least one candidate endorsed by the party is elected at the election.

A candidate is eligible to receive a payment from the Fund in relation to a State general election or State by-election if the candidate:

  • is properly nominated for the election, and
  • the candidate registered with the NSWEC as a candidate for the election, and
  • in the case of a candidate for a Legislative Council election, the candidate was not included in a group, or if included in a group, none of the group's members were endorsed by a party, and
  • satisfies at least one of the following criteria:
    • in the case of an Legislative Assembly election the candidate is elected, or receives at least 4% of the first preference votes in the electoral district for which the candidate was nominated, or
    • in the case of a Legislative Council election the candidate is elected, or the total number of first preference votes received by the candidate (and, if included in a group, by all other candidates included in the same group) is at least 4% of all first preference votes in that election.

Amounts Payable

The amount of expenditure reimbursed to eligible parties and candidates from the Fund is a proportion of actual electoral communication expenditure incurred by the party or candidate in connection with a State election.

The expenditure that may be reimbursed is only that expenditure incurred in the capped expenditure period for the election.

The proportion of expenditure that may be reimbursed is based on the applicable expenditure cap for the party or candidate at the election. Expenditure incurred in excess of an expenditure cap will not be reimbursed.

An Assembly party is a party that endorsed more than 10 candidates in the Legislative Assembly general election.

An Assembly party is eligible to be reimbursed:

  • For expenditure within the first 10% of the party's expenditure cap, 100% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party; and
  • For expenditure within the next 10-90% of the party's expenditure cap, 75% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party; and
  • For expenditure within the last 90-100% of the party's expenditure cap, 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party.

A Council party is a party that endorses between 0 and 10 candidates in the Legislative Assembly general election.

A Council party is eligible to be reimbursed:

  • For expenditure within the first one third of the party's expenditure cap, 100% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party; and
  • For expenditure within the next one third of the party's expenditure cap, 75% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party; and
  • For expenditure within the last third of the party's expenditure cap, 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by the party.

An endorsed Legislative Assembly candidate is eligible to be reimbursed:

  • For expenditure within the first 10% of the candidate's expenditure cap, 100% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate; and
  • For expenditure within the next 10-50% of the candidate's expenditure cap, 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate.

An independent Legislative Assembly candidate is eligible to be reimbursed:

  • For expenditure within the first 10% of the candidate's expenditure cap, 100% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate; and
  • For expenditure within the next 10-80% of the candidate's expenditure cap, 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate.

An independent Legislative Council candidate is eligible to be reimbursed:

  • For expenditure within the first one third of the candidate's expenditure cap, 100% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate; and
  • For expenditure within the next one third of the candidate's expenditure cap, 75% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate; and
  • For expenditure within the last one third of the candidate's expenditure cap, 50% of the actual expenditure incurred by the candidate

Making a Claim for Payment

In order to receive a payment in respect of an election a claim for payment must be lodged with the NSWEC within 120 days of the return of the writs for the election.

The NSWEC advises each eligible party and candidate after an election how and when to make a claim.

The NSWEC will only approve a payment if:

  • the claim for payment has been lodged on time, and
  • the claim for payment is made by the party or Party Agent of the party, or the Official Agent of the candidate, and
  • the NSWEC's Claim for Payment form has been used, and
  • the NSWEC is satisfied the party or candidate is eligible for a payment,
  • the expenditure referred to in the claim is reviewed by a registered company auditor, and
  • the expenditure referred to in the claim is supported by copies of the accounts or receipts in respect of the expenditure.

Review of a Claim by a Registered Auditor

Before a claim is lodged with the NSWEC a registered company auditor is required to certify the following:

  • the auditor was given full and free access at all reasonable times to all accounts, records, documents and papers of the agent by whom the claim is to be lodged, and of the party or candidate, as the case may require, relating directly or indirectly to the expenditure referred to in the claim, and
  • the auditor duly examined such of those accounts, records, documents and papers as the auditor considers material for the purpose of giving the certificate, and
  • the auditor received all information and explanations that the auditor asked for with respect to the expenditure referred to in the claim, subject to the qualifications (if any) specified in the certificate, and
  • the auditor is satisfied that, from the information available to the auditor, the expenditure specified in the claim was incurred and is, having regard to the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981, the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Regulation 2009 and the guidelines determined under section 24 of the Act, expenditure which may properly be the subject of such a claim, and
  • the auditor has no reason to think that any statement in the claim is not correct.

It is the responsibility of the party or Party Agent, or Official Agent of a candidate to arrange for the claim to be reviewed by a registered company auditor. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) keeps a register of auditors. Political donations may be used to pay for the review of a claim. The cost of the review is not eligible to be included in a claim for payment.

Advance Payments

A party that has received funding in relation to the previous State general election may be entitled to receive an advance payment prior to the next State general election.

An advance payment is equal to 30% of the total amount the party was entitled to receive for the previous State election.

Advance payments are made to eligible parties between 1 October in the year prior to the State general election and election day.

The NSWEC advises eligible parties of their entitlement to make a claim for an advance payment. Advance payments are deducted from the parties entitlement for the State general election.

Receiving a Payment

For a State general election the NSWEC will make a preliminary payment to a party within 14 days of the party making a claim for payment. The preliminary payment is 70% of the amount estimated by the NSWEC to be payable to the party (taking into account any advance payments received).

The NSWEC makes a final payment to a party or an ordinary payment to a candidate after the claim has been subject to a compliance review by the NSWEC.

Payments to parties are made to the party or party agent.

Payments to candidates are made to the candidate's campaign account or the candidate's official agent.

2015 State General Election

For information on public funding that applied to the 2015 State election see the Election Campaigns Fund Fact Sheet – 2015 NSW State Election (PDF 90.8KB).