Local governments can allocate funds out of the budget for discretional use by councillors. These funds are called ‘councillor discretionary funds’.
Notifying the community
Section 202 of the Local Government Regulation 2012 and section 194 of the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012 require that local governments publish a notice on their website, and in a visible place in their public office, within 20 days after adopting the budget to advise:
- the total amount of discretionary funds budgeted for the financial year
- the discretionary funds cap for the council
- the amount of discretionary funds allocated to each councillor for the year
- that community organisations may apply for allocation of the funds
- how community organisations can apply for funds.
Use of discretionary funds
Councillors may use their discretionary funds in any of the following ways:
- to spend on a community purpose
- to allocate for capital works that are for a community purpose
- to allocate to a community organisation.
Where a councillor wants to allocate some of their discretionary funds to a community organisation, the councillor must do so in accordance with the requirements of the discretionary funds notice and the local government's community grants policy.
Where a councillor intends to allocate some of their discretionary funds for capital works, the councillor must seek the approval of:
- the deputy mayor and the chief executive officer (if the councillor is the mayor)
- the mayor and the chief executive officer (councillors other than the mayor).
When considering whether to approve a proposal to allocate discretionary funds for capital works, the mayor, deputy mayor and chief executive officer must consider how the proposal fits in with the local government's corporate plan, long term asset management plan and annual budget.
Decisions to allocate discretionary funds cannot be made after 1 January in the year of a quadrennial local government election.
Reporting to the community
Within seven days after an amount has been allocated from a councillor’s discretionary fund, a notice must be published on the local government’s website and in a noticeable place in its public office. The notice must state the amount and purpose for which the money was spent and, if the money was given to a community organisation, the name of the organisation.
The local government is also required to list all grants to community organisations from councillor discretionary funds and the purpose of the grants in its annual report for the year.
Visit the community grants policy web page for more information on issues to consider when developing the policy.
You can also download the Councillor discretionary funds fact sheet (PDF, 95KB).