What is administrative expenditure funding?
Administrative expenditure funding is public money, administered by the VEC, for Registered Political Parties (RPPs) with Parliamentary representation and for independent elected members. RPPs can use the funding for administrative expenses, including expenses incurred in complying with their funding and disclosure obligations.
When is an RPP eligible for administrative expenditure funding?
RPPs are eligible to receive administrative expenditure funding based on the number of their elected members. Administrative expenditure funding is capped at a total of forty-five members.
If an RPP has no elected members in the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council, the RPP is not eligible for administrative expenditure funding.
When is an RPP entitled to administrative expenditure funding?
An RPP is entitled to administrative expenditure funding once it submits an application in writing to the VEC Funding and Disclosure Unit. We will provide an application form to all eligible RPPs.
The application must include:
- an acknowledgement that any unused administrative expenditure funding must be repaid to the VEC
- an acknowledgement that administrative expenditure funding:
- cannot be paid into any State campaign account(s)
- cannot be used to incur political or electoral expenditure
- cannot be used to incur expenditure covered by an elected member's parliamentary allowance,
- cannot be used to incur expenditure for the purposes of electing members of the party to a Parliament other than the Parliament of Victoria.
Applications for administrative expenditure funding must be made before 1 July of the year in which a State general election is scheduled. In this case the application must also include a statement that all the elected members the application refers to intend to recontest the next State election.
To maintain its entitlement, the RPP must also submit a completed administrative expenditure funding return. Returns are due within 16 weeks of the end of the calendar year for each year the RPP receives administrative expenditure funding. More information is provided below under What does an RPP have to include in their administrative expenditure return?
How and when do RPPs apply for administrative expenditure funding?
The following table shows when an RPP can apply for administrative expenditure funding, depending on its circumstances.
When to apply for funding
A new election period
As soon as possible after the start of the new election period and before 31 December of the election year.
Funding for the period of 1 July to election day in an election year*
Before 1 July of the election year.
An increase in the number of elected members in the RPP
When the number of elected members increases.
*Applications for funding can only be made for elected members that intend to recontest the next election. If an RPP applies for funding for an elected member who does not recontest, the RPP must repay that amount in full. Where applicable, an RPP may request to have its next administrative expenditure funding payment reduced.
What happens if an RPP does not submit their application by the deadline?
An RPP's entitlement to funding will not be affected if it does not apply for administrative expenditure funding before the day the funding is to be paid. We will be unable to make the payment until the request is correctly made to us.
An RPP that receives administrative expenditure funding during a calendar year must provide a return in relation to administrative expenses for that year.
The return must specify the amount the RPP spent on administrative expenses and whether this is less or more than the funding entitlement it received during the year.
The return must include:
- a declaration from the Registered Officer that the return is true and correct
- a certificate of audit from a registered company auditor.
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 1 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.
The registered company auditor can use this audit certificate template (PDF).
There is a penalty of 300 penalty units or two years' imprisonment for making a false or misleading statement in a return.
What happens if an RPP does not submit their administrative expenditure return by the deadline?
RPPs must provide their administrative expenditure return to us within 16 weeks of the end of the calendar year. If it fails to do so, it will be taken to have not incurred any administrative expenditure for that calendar year and must repay their total administrative expenditure funding amount to us.
What if an RPP has spent less on administrative expenses than it received?
If the administrative expenditure return shows the RPP spent less on administrative expenses than it received during the year, then we may request the RPP to pay the difference back to us. Where applicable, an RPP can have its next administrative expenditure funding payment reduced.
How and when does the VEC make administrative expenditure payments?
We pay administrative expenditure funding quarterly in advance, before the end of each quarter. For example, for the January-March quarter, payment will be made by the end of the October-December quarter.
What happens to advance administrative expenditure payments when there is an election?
We make advance payments from the start of the quarter until the day of the election.
On the January following the election, we will:
- pay the RPP for the first quarter of that calendar year (January to March)
- pay retrospectively for the period from the day after the election until the end of previous quarter (31 December).
What if an elected member endorsed by an RPP becomes an independent elected member during a quarter?
If an elected member endorsed by an RPP becomes an independent elected member during a quarter, the RPP must let us know about its reduced numbers within 28 days of the member leaving the party.
If the RPP has fewer than 45 members in Parliament after the elected member ceases being endorsed , the RPP's entitlement for that quarter will decrease. The RPP must repay the overpayment it received for that elected member to us, or their next quarterly administrative expenditure funding payment may be reduced.
If the RPP has more than 45 members in Parliament after the elected member leaves the party, there will be no change to the RPP's entitlement. They do not need to notify us of the decrease in their number of elected members.
What if an independent elected member becomes a member of an RPP during a term of Parliament?
In some cases an independent elected member may become a member of an RPP during a term of Parliament, which increases the RPP's amount of entitlement to administrative expenditure funding. If this is the case, the Registered Officer of the RPP must submit a new application to us to receive funding that includes the new member.
The RPP's entitlement to administrative expenditure funding will increase if the RPP had fewer than 45 members in Parliament before the new elected member joined the party.
If the RPP already had 45 members in Parliament before the new member joined the party, then there will be no change to the RPP's entitlement and they will not be required to submit a new application.
What if an elected member endorsed by an RPP ceases to be an elected member
If an elected member endorsed by an RPP ceases to be an elected member during a quarter, for example by resigning from Parliament, then we may request the RPP to repay the overpayment to us. No further payments will be made for this person. Where applicable, RPPs may elect to have the next administrative expenditure funding payment reduced.
How much administrative expenditure funding does an RPP receive?
Administrative expenditure funding amounts are tiered and calculated on a daily, pro-rata basis. For elected members endorsed by an RPP, the RPP's entitlement starts on the day that member is endorsed by the RPP.
Funding amounts are indexed annually in line with the Consumer Price Index. Visit Indexation to view the current amounts.
Use of administrative expenditure funding
RPPs can use administrative expenditure funding for general running costs. This may include:
- office accommodation for standard operations*
- staff employed for standard operations*
- equipment for standard operations* (e.g. IT systems, vehicles, office stationery, etc.)
- interest charges on loans for standard operations*
- utilities for standard operations*
- travel related to standard operations*
- advertising related to standard operations*
- staff employed to set-up/manage obligations in relation to funding and disclosure laws (including production of returns)
- costs incurred to set-up and manage obligations in relation to funding and disclosure laws (including production of returns)
- costs incurred in auditing returns and statements required by funding and disclosure laws.
*Standard operations do not include State election campaigning.
For more information, visit Determinations
RPPs cannot use administrative expenditure funding for costs:
- associated with running a State election campaign (i.e. political expenditure and electoral expenditure)
- that are claimed as a parliamentary allowance
- relating to the election of members to a Parliament other than the Victorian Parliament.
What are the penalties associated with administrative expenditure funding?
If the RPP pays administrative expenditure funding payments into its State campaign account(s), it is liable to pay a penalty of twice the amount paid into the account.
Similarly, an RPP is liable to pay a penalty of twice any amount of administrative expenditure funding it uses for:
- political expenditure
- electoral expenditure
- expenditure that has already been claimed under an elected member's parliamentary allowance
- expenditure incurred for the purposes of electing members of the party to a Parliament other than the Parliament of Victoria.
The RPP must pay the penalty to us or apply to have it deducted from future payments of administrative expenditure funding.
There is also a penalty of 300 penalty units or two years' imprisonment for making a false or misleading statement in a return.
Are administrative expenditure entitlements or calendar returns published?
There are no obligations under the Act for us to publish administrative expenditure funding entitlements or calendar returns.
Publication of the end of financial year annual returns and donation disclosures is required under the Act. For more information, refer to VEC Disclosures.