NSW Electoral Funding Bill gets thumbs down from local government

Local Government NSW has accused the NSW Government of rushing the Electoral Funding Bill 2018 into Parliament without any consultation with local government.

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said the state government has missed the opportunity to create greater transparency and fairness in local government election funding and, if passed, the legislation would create significant disparities between state and local spheres of government, and between council areas.

For example, she said, independent candidates in Woollahra would be entitled to spent $4.30 per enrolled elector, whilst independent candidates in Campbelltown would be entitled to spend just 33 cents per elector.

“Local government supports a move to clearer, cleaner elections at all spheres of government,” Clr Scott said.

Clr Scott queried why there should be any difference in the caps – both in terms of donations and expenditure – for state and local government.

“We want consistency between local and state government,” she said.

“Every sphere of government needs to walk the talk on an open and transparent electoral process - and the State Government’s bill on electoral reform does not do this.

“The Bill creates significant confusion for local government candidates and will result in inequities between state and local candidates across NSW.

“Given third-party expenditure caps have previously been rejected by the High Court on the grounds that they infringe the implied right of political communication, local government is concerned about attempts to reintroduce them.”

“Research commissioned by Local Government NSW determined that 70% of respondents expressed trust in local government, compared to just 43% expressing trust in the state sphere.

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