Funding for independent candidates

Victoria's Electoral Act 2002 provides public funding for eligible independent candidates.

What is public funding?

Public funding is public money we provide to eligible independent candidates and political parties. An independent candidate is one who is not a member of any registered political party.

The amount you can receive is based on the number of first preference votes you receive.

Eligibility

You are eligible if you received at least 4% of first preference votes or were elected in a state election.

You must submit a statement of expenditure from the previous election to receive this funding.

A statement of expenditure is a report that shows the costs you incurred during your election campaign. This statement must be accompanied by an audit certificate from an independent auditor.

Download a statement of expenditure form

The audit certificate must state that the auditor:

a) was given full and free access at all reasonable times to all accounts, records, documents and papers relating directly or indirectly to any matter required to be specified in the statement; and
b) examined the material referred to in paragraph (a) for the purpose of giving the certificate; and
c) received all information and explanations that the auditor requested in respect of any matter required to be specified in the statement; and
d) has no reason to believe that any matter stated in the statement is not correct.

The independent auditor can use this audit certificate template (PDF).

If you received public funding last election you can apply to receive advance funding for the next state election.

You or your agent must apply in writing to our Funding and Disclosure Unit within 20 weeks of the upcoming election day. You will not receive this funding if you do not provide your audited statement of expenditure.

The penalty for giving false or misleading information is up to 300 penalty units or two years' prison time.

Funding amounts

The amount you can receive is based on:

  • your audited statement of expenditure for the previous election
  • the number of votes you received
  • the maximum legislated amounts.

You can also choose to receive advance public funding for the 2022 State election. The amount you can receive in advance is based on:

  • the number of first preference votes you received at the previous state election
  • which house you stood for (Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council)

All our funding amounts are indexed annually according to the consumer price index (CPI). Current amounts are on our Indexation page.

The amount of advanced funding you can receive is calculated based on the number of votes you received at the previous state election and the amounts payable for the next election.

After the 2022 State election we will use the number of votes you actually received to calculate what the funding amount should have been. 

If your audited statement of expenditure for the 2022 State election shows you spent less than you were paid in public funding we will either deduct the difference from your next funding payment. We can also send you an invoice for the difference if you prefer.  

If we find that you were entitled to more than the funding you received in advance, and that you spent more than you received in your statement of expenditure, we will pay you the difference.

For more information see What if I was overpaid?

How and when will I receive payments?

We pay within 30 days of receiving your audited statement of expenditure from the previous election.

We pay in advance in four instalments:

  • 40% within 30 days of receiving your audited statement of expenditure
  • 20% instalments every April for the next 3 years. The last payment will be the April before the next state election (in 2026).

We can pay you directly, or pay your appointed agent. Your public funding must be paid into your state campaign account

What if I was overpaid?

If we paid you more than you were entitled to we can ask for the excess to be repaid. We can either reduce your next upcoming funding payment, or issue you with an invoice. 

There can be a few reasons that mean your advanced payments were too high:

  • you did not receive as many first preference votes this time as you did in the last election
  • you were not elected and did not receive at least 4% of first preference votes
  • you decided not to run in the next election
  • you did not spend as much on this state election campaign as you did on the last campaign
    or
  • you did not provide an audited statement of expenditure by the due date.

What if I was underpaid?

If you were underpaid we will pay the balance within 30 days of receiving your audited statement of expenditure.

Underpayment could happen if you received more votes than you did in the last election.

Accepting banned donations

Accepting a banned political donation means your public funding will be reduced by twice that donation. Banned donations include donations above the general cap, from a foreign donor, or valued at more than $1050 from an anonymous donor.

For example: an anonymous donation of $1200 means your funding will be reduced by $2400.

Funding uses

Public funding must be paid into your state campaign account.

You can spend this funding on costs related to running your state election campaign. This is called political or electoral expenditure.

This can include:

  • office rental
  • staffing costs (including time spent setting-up for promotions)
  • equipment (e.g. IT systems, vehicles, office stationery, etc.)
  • interest charges on loans for your campaign
  • utilities
  • travel related to your campaign
  • advertising (including production, distribution, publishing, etc.).

Public funding must not be used for general administration. You cannot use the second, third or fourth advance funding payments as security or collateral for a loan.