Changes made in 2009 to the Local Government Act and Environmental Planning and Assessment Act in relation to the disclosure of political donations are designed to improve the transparency of the planning system.
Register of Councillor Disclosure of Political Donations and Electoral Expenditure
All Councillors have obligations under the Election Funding and Disclosure Act 1981. The Electoral Funding Authority (EFA) website has more information on these obligations.
Further to this, amendments to the Local Government Act 1993, through the introduction of Section 328A, now require the General Manager of each local Council to keep a public register of all current donations and expenditure declarations lodged by Councillors with the EFA. The Department of Local Government (in Circular No. 08-45, 11/08/08) has advised that a link from Council's website to the EFA website satisfies this requirement. The EFA's website is http://www.efa.nsw.gov.au/.
Register of Record of Voting on Planning Matters
The introduction of Section 375A into the Local Government Act requires the General Manager to keep a register which outlines how each Councillor voted (for or against) in relation to each planning decision made at a meeting of the Council or a Council Committee.
This register is a public register and access is available as open access information in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009. Access can be arranged by contacting Council's Manager Corporate Governance on 6591 7222.
Disclosure of Political Donations and Gifts Statements
A disclosure of a political donation or gift will need to be made whenever a person or their associate lodges a planning application or makes a public submission about a planning application.
All development applications must include a completed copy of the Political Donations Disclosures Form.
A register of disclosure of political donations and gifts may be viewed by any member of the public. Access can be arranged by contacting Council's Manager Corporate Governance on 6591 7222.