Public funding for Registered Political Parties

What is public funding?

Public funding is public money administered by the VEC and paid to eligible RPPs and eligible independent candidates.

The amount of the entitlement is based on the number of first preference votes received by each endorsed candidate.

What makes an RPP eligible for public funding?

An RPP is eligible for public funding for each endorsed candidate who is elected or who receives at least 4% of first preference votes at an election.

When is an RPP entitled to public funding?

An RPP is entitled to public funding once its Registered Officer applies for public funding by submitting a statement of expenditure for the previous election and an audit certificate.

The statement of expenditure shows the RPP has spent money or incurred costs in relation to the election.

The audit certificate must be completed by a registered company auditor and must state that the auditor:

  1. 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
  2. examined the material referred to in paragraph 1 for the purpose of giving the certificate
  3. received all information and explanations that the auditor requested in respect of any matter required to be specified in the statement of expenditure
    and
  4. 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).

RPPs are eligible to receive funding for the next election in advance if they were eligible to receive public funding for the previous election.

To apply for public funding, including applying for advance public funding, the Registered Officer of the RPP submit their application in writing to the VEC Funding and Disclosure Unit, within 20 weeks of an election.

If an RPP does not provide a statement of expenditure, it will not be entitled to public funding.

There are penalties of up to 300 penalty units or two years' imprisonment for giving false or misleading information in a statement.

How much public funding is an RPP entitled to?

The amount of public funding an RPP receives is based on:

  • the RPP's audited statement of expenditure for the previous election
  • the number of votes received by endorsed candidates
  • legislated amounts of public funding.

The legislation prescribes that RPPs may also choose to receive advance public funding for the 2022 election. The amount that an RPP can receive in advance is calculated for each eligible endorsed candidate and based on:

  • the number of first preference votes the candidate received at the previous State election
  • whether candidate runs in the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council
  • funding amounts that are indexed annually according to the Consumer Price Index. To view the current amounts, visit the Indexation page.

If an RPP chooses to receive advance public funding, this means that the amount paid will be calculated based on the number of votes the RPP received at the previous State election and the amounts payable for the next election.

Once the next election occurs, a reassessment of the RPP's entitlement amount will be calculated based on the actual number of votes the RPP's endorsed candidates received, taking into consideration the above eligibility requirements.

If the RPP's statement of expenditure for that election shows the RPP spent less than it was paid in public funding or that it was entitled to after the reassessment, we will deduct the difference from the next instalment of public funding or request a repayment of the difference.

If after the election, the RPP is entitled to an amount that is more than the public funding it received in advance, and its statement of expenditure shows the RPP spent more than the revised entitlement amount, we will pay the RPP the difference. For more information, see What if an RPP is overpaid because it was paid in advance?

How and when does the VEC pay public funding to RPPs?

We pay public funding within 30 days of receiving the RPP's completed statement of expenditure and audit certificate from the previous election.

We pay in advance in four instalments as follows:

  • 40% within 30 days of receipt of the audited statement of expenditure
  • subsequent 20% payment instalments issued in April in the second, third and fourth years of the election period. 

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

What if an RPP is overpaid because it was paid in advance?

If an RPP is overpaid as a result of advance payments, we can ask for the excess amount to be repaid or reduce the amount of the next public funding payment.

An RPP may be overpaid for a few reasons, including:

  • an endorsed candidate did not receive as many first preference votes at an election as it did in the last election
  • an endorsed candidate was not elected or did not achieve the minimum 4% of first preference votes to be eligible for public funding
  • it decided to run fewer candidates in an election
  • the party ceases to be registered
  • it did not spend as much on this State election campaign as it did on the last campaign
  • it did not provide a valid statement of expenditure by the due date (see Annual returns).

What if an RPP is underpaid because they are paid in advance?

If an RPP is underpaid because of advance payments, we will pay the balance within 30 days of receiving the RPP's audited statement of expenditure.

An RPP could be underpaid if it receives more votes or it has more candidates who receive at least 4% of first preference votes than it did in the previous election.

Could an RPP's public funding be reduced?

If an RPP or one of its endorsed candidates accepts a political donation not allowed by the legislation (e.g. it is above the general cap, or from a foreign donor, or above the disclosure threshold from an anonymous donor) the RPP's public funding will be reduced by twice the amount they accepted in breach.

What can and can't an RPP use public funding for?

Payments for public funding must be paid into the State campaign account(s).

RPPs can spend public funding on political or electoral expenditure. This may include:

  • office accommodation for election campaigns
  • staff employed for election campaigns (including time spent setting-up for promotions)
  • equipment for election campaigns (e.g. IT systems, vehicles, office stationery, etc.)
  • interest charges on loans for election campaigns
  • utilities for election campaigns
  • travel related to election campaigns
  • advertising related to election campaigns (including production, distribution, publishing, etc.).
RPPs cannot use the second, third and fourth instalment payments of advance public funding as security or collateral for a loan.