Candidates for the 2024 Redland City Council election will have their campaign spending limited to $15,000 as expenditure caps are introduced for the first time at local government elections in Queensland.
Mayoral candidates will also be subject to the new caps, with those running for the top job in Redlands limited to spending $118,146 on their campaigns – equivalent to $1 for every enrolled voter in the city.
The Queensland Electoral Commission said the caps had been calculated based on the number of electors in each local government area.
The caps cover any expense incurred for campaign purposes, which includes the cost of producing and printing materials like flyers, brochures and how-to-vote cards.
Registered political parties and third parties will also be held to strict spending limits under the new system.
The cap for the 2024 election campaign has been set at $15,000 for councillor candidates in Redlands, putting the city on par with Logan and many rural LGAs.
Mayoral candidates are permitted to spend $1 per elector where the number of voters in an LGA is less than 150,000, but for every elector over that amount, the permitted spend drops back to 50c.
It drops by another 25 cents if the number of electors in an LGA is greater than 200,000.
Caps for Brisbane City Council are set by legislation rather than enrollment figures, allowing lord mayoral candidates to spend up to $1.3 million on their campaigns.
Electoral Commissioner Pat Vidgen said third parties such as community groups would need to register if they planned to spend more than $6000.
He said the legislative amendments meant third parties would also need to keep a dedicated bank account for local government elections.
The capped expenditure period began on August 14 and will extend through to 6pm on election night next March.
“These expenditure caps have been determined by our team of election experts at the ECQ, using the legislated process and an established formula,” Mr Vidgen said.
“Caps for individual candidates differ based on the number of enrolled electors in the local government area (LGA) they are contesting, and whether they are running for mayor or as a councillor.”
Mr Vidgen said it was the first time electoral spending caps had been established for local government elections in Queensland.
“The ECQ is committed to supporting candidates to better understand their obligations and has published a range of information and resources on our website to assist with this,” he said.
“I encourage all candidates to review this information, including the ECQ’s approach to compliance for the 2024 local government elections, and reach out to our team with any questions.”
Queensland local government election day is set down for March 16 next year.