In the 2021–22 financial year, the VEC continued to build engagement and raise awareness of funding and disclosure requirements with reporting entities.
During the reporting period, the VEC:
- published 74 annual returns (for the financial year 2020–21)
- published 314 donation disclosures totaling $872,367.29
- paid a total of $12,550,810.65 in political funding
- recovered $205,983.39 in over-payments of political funding from the previous period
- issued 15 compliance notices
- continued investigations into multiple matters, relating to allegations of failures to provide disclosure returns, providing false or misleading information, and failing to provide an annual return.
The VEC noted an improvement in compliance and the overall quality of the 74 annual return submissions received. Some 96% of annual returns were received before the submission deadline on 20 October 2021. This is a significant increase on the previous reporting period.
Two major enhancements were made to the online reporting portal VEC Disclosures, to enhance technical capability and user experience. The updates included improvements to the registration process, donation disclosure process, and the donation-linking tool. These enhancements will make donation disclosures easier for stakeholders, which is also likely to improve compliance.
The VEC is committed to engaging with stakeholders to promote compliance with Victoria’s funding and disclosure laws. The Electoral Integrity and Regulation Branch was restructured and expanded to support the VEC’s increased regulatory activity. This includes issuing written notices to require information under Part 12 of the Electoral Act 2002 and, when necessary, initiating investigations into reported or suspected non-compliance.
There were 7 donations published that exceeded the general donation cap of $4,210 for the 2021–22 financial year. The general cap is the maximum amount allowed for donations in the 4-year period between State general elections. It is indexed on an annual basis. Following investigation, all those donations were found to be exempt from the general cap. There were no disclosures of overseas donations during the reporting period.
During the 2021–22 financial year, the VEC paid $12,550,810.65 on behalf of the state to eligible political participants. This included registered political parties, independent elected members, and candidates. This is made up of:
- $5,913,568.09 in public funding
- $6,605,090.19 in administrative expenditure funding
- $32,152.37 in policy development funding.
The VEC is committed to raising public awareness of Victoria’s funding and disclosure obligations.