Public funding for political parties

Public funding is public money we provide to eligible political parties and independent candidates.

The amount you can receive is based on how many of your candidates are elected or receive at least 4% of first preference votes at the most recent state election.

We publish the details of funding amounts paid to individual recipients since 2018. This information is updated on a quarterly basis in the Funding register.

How can I receive this funding?

You can receive this funding when your registered officer submits a statement of expenditure for the previous election. This must be accompanied by an audit certificate.

A statement of expenditure is a report that shows the costs your party incurred during the election.

The audit certificate must be completed by a registered company auditor. It 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 of expenditure
  • 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 of expenditure
  • has no reason to believe that any matter stated in the statement of expenditure is not correct.

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

If you received public funding for the 2018 State election then you are eligible to receive advanced funding for the 2022 election.

Your registered officer must apply for advanced public funding in writing to our Funding, Disclosure and Parties team within 20 weeks of an election.

If you do not provide a statement of expenditure and audit certificate you will not receive public funding.

If you give false or misleading information the penalty is up to 300 penalty units or two years' prison time.

How much can I receive?

The amount you can receive is based on:

  • the amount listed in your audited statement of expenditure for the previous election
  • the number of votes your candidates received
  • the maximum legislated amounts.

You can also choose to receive advance public funding for the 2022 election. The amount you can receive in advance is calculated for each eligible candidate. It is also based on:

  • the number of first preference votes the candidate received at the 2018 State election
  • if they stood for the Legislative Assembly (lower house) or Legislative Council (upper house).

Advanced funding is indexed annually based on the consumer price index (CPI). For current amounts, see indexation.

The amount of advanced funding you are entitlement to is calculated on how many votes the party received at the 2018 State election and the amounts payable for the next election.

After the 2022 State election we will look at how many votes your candidates actually received and figure out the funding amount you are eligible for. If you received more than you were eligible for we will deduct the difference from your next payment. We can also send you an invoice for the difference.

If your statement of expenditure for the 2022 State election shows you spent less than you were paid in public funding we will deduct the difference from your next payment.

If we find that you were entitled to more funding than you received, and that you have 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 do I pay public funding?

We pay public funding 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
  • subsequent 20% payment instalments issued in April in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th years of the election period.

Payments are made directly to the party, not candidates or members.

What if I was overpaid?

If we paid you more public funding than you were eligible for we can ask for the excess to be repaid. Alternatively we can reduce your next public funding payment.

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

  • your candidates did not receive as many first preference votes at they did in the last election
  • an existing MP was not re-elected or did not at least 4% of first preference votes
  • you decided to run fewer candidates in an election
  • the party is de-registered
  • you did not spend as much on this state election campaign as you did on the last campaign
  • you did not provide a valid statement of expenditure by the due date (see Annual returns).

What if I was underpaid?

If you were underpaid because of advance payments, we will pay the remaining funding balance within 30 days of receiving your audited statement of expenditure.

Underpayment could happen if you received more votes or had more candidates who received at least 4% of first preference votes than the previous election.

How do banned donations affect public funding?

If you or your candidates accept a banned political donation (for example, above the general cap, from a foreign donor, or above the anonymous donor disclosure threshold) your public funding will be reduced by twice the amount of the breach.

For example, if you receive a donation from a foreign donor of $1000 we will reduce your funding amount by $2000.

What can public funding be used for?

Public funding payments must be made into your state campaign account.

You can spend public funding on costs related to running a State election campaign. These are known as political and electoral expenditure.

These costs may include:

  • office space
  • staffing costs (including time spent setting-up for promotions)
  • equipment (for example IT systems, vehicles, office stationery, etc.)
  • interest charges on loans
  • utilities
  • travel
  • advertising (including production, distribution, publishing, etc.).

Public funding must not be used for general administration. You cannot use the 2nd, 3rd or 4th advance public funding payments as security or collateral for a loan.