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Candidates running for local government positions in Queensland will now be operating under a new set of rules as they gear up for the upcoming council elections. The state has implemented a law requiring candidates to adhere to personal campaign spending caps for the first time. This move aims to regulate campaign expenditures and promote fair competition among contenders.

The expenditure caps are calculated based on the number of voters in each local government area, with variations across different regions. For instance, candidates in Diamantina Shire in central west Queensland, with the fewest voters, face spending limits of $15,000 for councillor candidates and $30,000 for mayoral candidates and registered third parties. In contrast, candidates in Gold Coast, with the highest number of voters outside Brisbane, have caps set at $22,950 and $232,100 respectively.

The Electoral Commission Queensland has established a team to ensure that candidates comply with the new rules. The goal is to create a level playing field where the influence of money in politics is minimized. Dr. Pandanus Petter, a research fellow at Griffith University, believes that the spending caps could potentially provide an advantage to challenger candidates over incumbents by reducing the need for exorbitant campaign budgets.

While money has traditionally played a significant role in election campaigns, the introduction of spending caps in Queensland signals a shift towards fairer and more transparent electoral processes. By limiting campaign expenditures, the state aims to empower candidates from diverse backgrounds and ensure that the political landscape is not solely dominated by those with access to substantial financial resources.


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Article Title: First-time expenditure campaign caps to ‘level playing field’ for Queensland council candidates
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