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The Local Government and Planning Legislation Amendment (Political Donations) Act, 2008 came into effect from 1 October 2008. This Act requires the public disclosure of donations or gifts when lodging or commenting on development proposals. This law is designed to improve the transparency of the planning system.
The Act inserts Part 8A into the Local Government Act, requiring the general manager of each local council to keep a public register of all current donations and expenditure declarations lodged by Councillors with the Election Funding Authority of NSW (Section 328B).
To satisfy this requirement, all current donations, gifts and expenditure disclosure and declarations lodged by Councillors with the Election Funding Authority of NSW can be viewed at the Election Funding Authority website.
NSW Election Funding Authority (External Link)
The NSW Government has introduced disclosure requirements for members of the public relating to political donations and gifts. It is the responsibility of every person to ensure that they comply with any obligations under the new disclosure requirements.
A reportable political donation is in the amount of or exceeding $1000 or the total of individual donations made in that period is $1000 or more. Council is required to make the disclosed information public.
Importantly, please not that a person will be guilty of an offence under s125 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 if the person fails to make a disclosure of a reportable political donation or gift. The penalties for the offence may be significant so it is critical that you ensure you understand and meet your disclosure obligations.
Section 147 of Environmental Planning & Assessment Act (PDF, 43.7kB)
Donations and Gift Disclosure - NSW Planning and Environment (External Link)