Applying for public funding

This information is about how to apply for public funding.

The public funding scheme is optional and if you choose to participate then you will be subject to Political expenditure caps.

To see a list of participants of the public funding scheme for the 2018 State election, and for lodgement deadlines, visit our Public funding 2018 page.

For more information, refer to Part 13A of the Electoral Act 1985 External link.

Who can apply?

Unendorsed candidates and unendorsed groups of candidates may apply for public funding.

Registered political parties may apply for public funding on behalf of their endorsed candidates and groups.

Lodging a certificate to participate in the scheme

Parties, groups and candidates who wish to participate in the public funding scheme must lodge a section 130Y certificate. Once lodged, certificates cannot be withdrawn.

If a person lodges a certificate and then does not nominate as a candidate or, in the case of a party, does not endorse a candidate in an electoral district, then the certificate is considered of null effect for that person or for that particular electoral district.

The 130Y certificate can be downloaded on our Funding and disclosure forms page.

General election timeframes

Unendorsed Members of Parliament and unendorsed groups who have at least one Member of Parliament must lodge their certificates 24 months before polling day for a general election in which they intend to nominate.

Registered political parties must lodge their certificate 24 months before polling day for a general election. Parties can lodge a certificate on behalf of candidates and groups for each electoral district they wish to contest even if they do not yet know the identity of the candidates.

Unendorsed candidates who are not Members of Parliament and unendorsed groups who do not have at least one Member of Parliament must lodge their certificates for a general election by 5.00pm on the first day of the capped expenditure period. The capped expenditure period for a general election commences on 1 July in the year before the election.

For a new candidate or group whose disclosure period commences after the commencement of the capped expenditure period, they must lodge their certificate by 5.00pm on the day their disclosure period commences.

  • For a new candidate, their disclosure period will either commence on the day they announce their intention to stand as a candidate for the election or on the day they nominate (whichever is earlier).
  • For a group, their disclosure period will commence on the day they lodge their section 58 application to be grouped on the ballot paper. 

See sections 130Y(2)(b) and 130ZF(5)(a)(iv) of the Electoral Act 1985.

By-election

In the case of an election caused by a vacancy in the House of Assembly, candidates, groups and parties must lodge their certificate by 5.00pm on the day on which the capped expenditure period commences. The capped expenditure period for a by-election will commence on the day on which the vacancy is announced by, or on behalf of, the Speaker. For groups and new candidates whose disclosure period commences after the commencement of the capped expenditure period, they must lodge their certificate by 5.00pm on the day their disclosure period commences.

Expenditure caps

Once a candidate, Member of Parliament, group or party has lodged a certificate under section 130Y to opt-in to the public funding scheme, they are subject to limits on political expenditure during the capped expenditure period. Penalties apply if you exceed your applicable expenditure cap. For more information, visit our Political expenditure caps page.

Capped expenditure period return

A capped expenditure period return must be lodged within 60 days of polling day. The Electoral Commission will use the information disclosed in these returns to determine the amount of public funding payable. For more information, visit our Reporting political expenditure (candidates and parties) page.

Qualifying for payment

To qualify for a payment of public funding: 

A candidate must:

  • be elected, or
  • receive a total number of eligible votes of at least 4% of the total primary votes.

A group must:

  • have a group member elected, or
  • receive a total number of eligible votes of at least 4% of the total primary votes.

An eligible vote is a first preference vote on a formal ballot paper. The total primary votes is the total number of eligible votes cast for the relevant electoral district (section 130Q).

Funding entitlement

Funding is calculated on a per vote basis. There are two different types of funding entitlements: standard and tapered.

The standard entitlement is $3.00 (indexed) for each eligible vote.

The funding calculation for the tapered entitlement scheme is as follows:

  • $3.50 (indexed) for each eligible vote received that falls within the first 10% of the total primary vote; and
  • $3.00 (indexed) for each eligible vote received in excess of 10% of the total primary vote.

See section 130P of the Electoral Act 1985.

The tapered entitlement scheme applies to:

  • Endorsed candidates where the party has no Member of Parliament.
  • Endorsed groups where the party has no Member of Parliament.
  • Unendorsed candidates who are not a Member of Parliament.
  • Unendorsed groups.

Funding payable

In calculating your payment, the Electoral Commissioner will first determine the amount of your potential entitlement based on votes received, and then reduce the amount for any excess expenditure. If you exceed your political expenditure cap, your entitlement is reduced by $20 for every $1 you have spent in excess of your capped political expenditure limit (section 130Q(4)).

You cannot be paid more than your actual expenditure (section 130Q(5)(d)). Therefore, the amount of public funding paid is the lesser of either:

  • the potential entitlement calculated (less any penalties); or
  • the amount of political expenditure you incurred (as disclosed in your capped expenditure period return).

Public funding guide

For more information, refer to our Public Funding Guide on our Guides page.