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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Developer electoral donations banned in ACT

The ACT Government has banned property developer donations to local political parties and candidates in the ACT.

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said the legislation would lower the risk of corrupt conduct or perceived corrupt conduct in local elections.

“Property developers depend heavily on decisions made by government about land development applications and other processes,” Attorney-General Ramsay said.

“There is a strong public interest in reducing the prospect of planning decisions being influenced by political donations.

“Under the changes, it will be an offence for property developers and their close associates to give gifts to political entities, and for political entities to accept gifts from property developers and their close associates.,” Mr Ramsay said.

The new offences will apply from 1 July 2021.

“By addressing the recognised risk of undue influence from the property development industry, this ban supports our community, giving everyone the opportunity to participate equally in the political system,” Mr Ramsay said.

He said the Bill also improved transparency around political donations by requiring that gifts totalling over $1,000 to a political party be disclosed to the Electoral Commission within seven days.

The Bill represents the third tranche of electoral law reforms to be passed in the Legislative Assembly this year and responds to the report of the Select Committee on the 2016 Election and Electoral Act.

“The Government will continue to work with the ACT Electoral Commission to ensure our elections are fair, inclusive and transparent,” Mr Ramsay said.

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