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The transparency of the planning system is strengthened through the political donations and disclosures requirements.  A disclosure statement of a reportable donation or gift must accompany:

  • a planning application or
  • a  submission,

if the reportable donation or gift is made within two years before the application or submission is made.

If a donation or gift is made after the lodgement of an application or submission, a disclosure statement must be sent to the relevant consent or approval authority within seven days after the donation or gift is made.  This requirement ceases upon determination of the application.

What donations have to be reported?

Donations of $1,000 or more, or donations that total $1,000 or more within the same financial year need to be reported. A gift includes money or the provision of any other valuable item or service for.

When must a disclosure be made?

A disclosure of a political donation or gift will need to be made whenever a person or their associate lodges a planning application (including a rezoning or development application) or makes a Public Submission about a development application. 

A planning application includes:

  • Development applications
  • Formal requests to the Minister, a Council or the Director General of the Department of Planning to initiate the making of an environmental planning instrument or development control plan
  • Formal requests to the Minister or Director General for a development of a particular site to be made State Significant or a declared Part 3A project under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
  • An application for approval of a concept plan or project (or a modification) under Part 3A of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act
  • Any other application or a request under or for the purpose of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act that is prescribed by the Regulations as a relevant planning application.

Certain applications are not deemed to be planning applications, including:

  • Applications for complying development certificates,
  • An application made for or on behalf of a public authority,
  • Any application excluded by the Regulations.

A Public Submission is a written submission made in response to a planning application, as described above.

Is there a time limit on a disclosure?

A reportable political donation is a donation or gift to any Councillor or staff member within the two years prior to the planning application being lodged or while the planning application is determined. This includes any donation or gift made when a person was a candidate for Council election.

When should the disclosure statement be made?

If the donation or gift was made before a planning application is lodged or a public submission is made, then the disclosure statement must be included with the application or submission.

Where the donation or gift is made after the planning application or public submission is lodged, the disclosure must be made within seven days of the donation or gift being made.  This requirement ceases upon determination of the application.

Is there a penalty for not disclosing?

Yes.  A person found guilty of an offence can be fined up to $22,000 and/or sentenced to 12 months in prison.

Can the public see disclosure statements?

Yes. Council keeps a register of disclosures of political donations and gifts which may be viewed by any member of the public. To make an appointment to see the register, please contact Council's Public Officer.

Make a declaration

Download the Political Donations and Gifts Declaration Form


This page was last updated on: 11 September 2018