Drop in candidates failing to submit campaign donation returns

The number of local government candidates failing to submit a list of donations or gifts received during the 2020 council elections has fallen by almost half since 2016.

In the 2020 council elections, 6.6 per cent of candidates failed to declare gifts or donations compared to more than 13 per cent in 2016, as detailed in our report into the 2020 council elections.

Candidates must submit a campaign donation return whether they receive any gifts, donations or in-kind support for their campaigns under section 306 of the Local Government Act 2020. They must also submit a return if they do not receive any donations or support.

The aim is to ensure ongoing integrity and transparency in the sector.
Elections that recorded the highest numbers of noncompliance.

The elections with the highest numbers of non-complying candidates were:

  • Wyndham City Council – 25
  • Hume City Council – 10
  • Greater Dandenong City Council – 10
  • Brimbank City Council – 9
  • Boroondara City Council – 9
  • Nillumbik Shire Council – 8

There were four candidates who did not submit a campaign donation return in both 2020 and in 2016.
Best-performing candidates

On a positive note, all candidates in 37 council areas submitted campaign donation returns. In addition, the following councils had high numbers of candidates who correctly all submitted campaign donation returns:

  • Bayside City Council – 66
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – 43
  • Manningham City Council – 41
  • Greater Geelong City Council – 39
  • Glen Eira City Council – 36

In 2020, a total of 2,042 candidates handed in a compliant return and 144 were considered non-compliant. We are following up with non-compliant candidates and will produce a report on the outcomes by early 2022.