Register of disclosure of reportable political donations to Councillors
Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 and Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 in relation to political donations and gifts became effective 1 October 2008.
These amendments introduce obligations on applicants, those making submissions and decision makers in relation to the disclosure of information relating to political donations and gifts during the plan making or development assessment process.
When must an applicant/proponent make a disclosure?
A disclosure must be made by any person who has a financial interest in a planning application and who has made a reportable political donation in the 2 years before a planning application is made and/or determined.
When must a person making a submission make a disclosure?
Any submissions must include disclosure of any reportable political contribution or gift made in the previous two years, and up to the time the application is determined, by you or your associate to anyone including:
- all reportable political donation made to any local councillor of the council
- all gifts made to any local councillor or employee of that council
A reportable political donation made to a local councillor of any local council includes any donation made at the time the person was a candidate for election to the council.
What is a relevant planning application?
The disclosure requirements under the new legislation are triggered by the making of relevant planning applications and relevant public submissions on such applications.
The term relevant planning application means:
- a formal request to the Minister, a council or the Director-General to initiate the making of an environmental planning instrument or development control plan in relation to development on a particular site, or
- a formal request to the Minister or the Director- General for development on a particular site to be made State significant development or declared a project to which Part 3A applies, or
- an application for approval of a concept plan or project under Part 3A (or for the modification of a concept plan or of the approval for a project), or
- an application for development consent under Part 4 (or for the modification of a development consent), or
- any other application or request under or for the purposes of the EP&A Act that is prescribed by the regulations as a relevant planning application,
but does not include:
- an application for (or for the modification of) a complying development certificate, or
- an application or request made by a public authority on its own behalf or made on behalf of a public authority, or
- any other application or request that is excluded from this definition by the regulations.
The term relevant public submission means a written submission made by a person objecting to or supporting a relevant planning application or any development that would be authorised by the granting of the application.
You are advised that a person is guilty of an offence under s125 of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979 if the person fails to make a disclosure of a reportable political donation or gift if it is reasonable for that person to know such a reportable donation or gift should have been disclosed. It is also an offence to make a false statement. Currently, the maximum penalty is $22,000 or imprisonment for 12 months, or both.
If you require any further information as to the definition of terms used, or clarification of your obligations, the Guideline produced by the Department of Planning & Infrastructure or a printed copy obtained from Council's Environmental, Planning & Building Services Department.