Funding for independent elected members

Victoria's Electoral Act 2002 provides for administrative expenditure funding for independent elected members of the Legislative Council (Upper House) and Legislative Assembly (Lower House). Being independent means that you do not represent or belong to any political party.

Administrative expenditure funding

Administrative expenditure funding is public money we provide to registered political parties (RPPs) with members in the Victorian Parliament. It is also available to elected members who are not part of any political party. You can use the funding for administrative expenses, including costs you incur to comply with your funding and disclosure obligations.

Administrative expenditure funding must not be paid into your state campaign account or be used for political expenditure or electoral expenditure.

We pay administrative expenditure quarterly in advance. For example, the January-March quarter (Q3) payment will be made by the end of December (Q2).

During a State election we make advance payments from the beginning of the quarter through to election day. For example, for the 2022 State election we will make payments from 1 October to 26 November 2022. 

If you are re-elected, then the January after a state election we will:

  • pay you for the first quarter of that calendar year (January to March, Q3)
  • pay the outstanding balance from the day after the election until the end of previous quarter. For this year this will be the period from 27 November to 31 December 2022.

Eligibility

All independent elected members of the Victorian Parliament are eligible to receive administrative expenditure funding.

If you stop being independent or resign Parliament you are no longer eligible to receive administrative expenditure funding. You must let us know about either situation within 28 days. Your eligibility for this funding stops from the day you join the RPP or leave office. You must repay any funding you have already received for that quarter. You will still need to complete an administrative expenditure return for any funding you did receive in this period.

If you leave your political party during a term of Parliament you are eligible for administrative expenditure funding from the day you become independent. You or your agent must apply to us in writing if you wish to access this funding.

You are still eligible to receive this funding if you contest a different house than the one you are currently in at the next state election.

We will provide the funding application form to eligible members. To receive this funding you or your agent must complete this application and return it to us at disclosures@vec.vic.gov.au.

Your application must include:

  • acknowledgement that any unused administrative expenditure funding must be repaid to us
  • confirmation that you will nominate at the next State election
  • acknowledgement that administrative expenditure funding:
  • cannot be paid into your State campaign account
  • cannot be used for political or electoral expenditure
  • cannot be used for any expenses that are covered by your parliamentary allowance.

You must submit your application before 1 July in any State election year. Applications for 2022 State election administrative expenditure funding were due 1 July 2022.

You are entitled to receive this funding from the day you are elected.

To remain eligible you or your agent must submit an administrative expenditure funding return. This must be submitted at the end of every calendar year you receive this funding.

Funding amount

We calculate the amount you are entitled to on a daily, pro-rata basis. This calculation is made from amounts indexed annually according to the consumer price index (CPI).

View the current funding amounts

Funding applications

The due date for funding applications is different for election years and election periods.

  • New election period: as soon as possible after the start of an election period and no later than 31 December. The due date for the next election period is 31 December 2022.
  • Election year: by 31 July in the year of a State election. The due date for the 2022 State election was 31 July 2022.
  • Leaving a political party: as soon as you are no longer an endorsed elected member.

You can only apply for funding if you are an independent elected member and intend to nominate at the next state election. If you apply for funding but do not nominate then you must repay the whole amount.

If you intend to stand for a different house than the one you are currently in you are still eligible to receive administrative expenditure funding at the same rate.

You or your agent must apply for funding in writing to us at disclosures@vec.vic.gov.au.

If you do not submit your application by the due date you will not receive any funding. We will not make any payments until the request is submitted. Your entitlement to receive funding will not be affected.

Returns

If you receive administrative expenditure funding in a calendar year you must submit a return detailing your administrative expenses for that year.

You or your agent must submit an administrative expenditure return in writing to us at disclosures@vec.vic.gov.au. This must be submitted by 22 April each year (16 weeks from 31 December).

Returns for 2021 were due on 22 April 2022.

Your return must specify the amount you spent on administrative expenses. It must specify if this is equal, less or more than the funding entitlement you received during the year. If you spent less than the amount of funding you received from us we may request that you repay the difference. We can either reduce the amount of your next payment or you request we issue you an invoice.

Download the administrative expenditure return form.

The return must include:

  • a declaration from you or your agent that the return is true and correct
  • a certificate of audit from an independent auditor. This must state that the return has been audited in line with Australian Accounting Standards as specified in section 334(1) of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

The audit certificate must state that the auditor:

  • 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
  • examined the material referred to in paragraph (a) for the purpose of giving the certificate
  • received all information and explanations that the auditor requested in respect of any matter required to be specified in the statement
  • has no reason to believe that any matter stated in the statement is not correct.

Independent auditors can use this audit certificate template (PDF).

The penalty for making a false or misleading statement is up to 300 penalty units or two years' prison time.

If you or your agent do not provide an administrative expenditure return by 22 April each year we will assume that you had no administrative costs for that year. You will need to repay all money received from us for that year.

We are not required by legislation to publish administrative expenditure funding entitlements or calendar returns. We will publish aggregated funding amounts as part of our regular reporting, including in our annual report.

Legislation does require us to publish end of financial year annual returns and donation disclosures. See VEC Disclosures for more information.

Funding uses

Administrative expenditure funding must not be used for state election campaigning.

Administrative expenditure funding is only to be used for general running costs and standard operations of your office. This includes:

  • office rental
  • staff 
  • equipment (e.g. IT systems, vehicles, office stationery, etc.)
  • interest charges on loans
  • utilities
  • travel
  • advertising
  • staff employed to manage funding and disclosure obligations (including preparing annual returns)
  • costs related to managing funding and disclosure obligations (including preparing annual returns)
  • costs related to auditing returns and statements in order to comply with funding and disclosure obligations.

Read our determination for more information on what you can use this funding for.

You cannot use administrative expenditure funding for costs:

Penalties

There are penalties if you or your agent pays any part of your administrative expenditure funding into any of your state campaign accounts. There are also penalties if you spend any of this money on political or electoral expenditure, or for anything covered by your parliamentary allowance.

The penalty amount is twice the payment amount. For example:

  • Independent member A moves $1000 of administrative expenditure funding into their state campaign account. They must pay us $2000 in penalties.
  • Independent member B spends $2000 of administrative expenditure funding on motor vehicle costs that are covered by their parliamentary allowance. They must repay us $4000 in penalties. 

There is also a penalty of 300 penalty units or two years' prison time for making a false or misleading statement in a return.