Total actual expenditure incurred for the conduct of the 2018 State Election was $16.728 million for the period to October 2018.

The majority of the cost ($16.442 million) was spent in the 2017-18 fi nancial year. Training materials amounting to $20,000 were purchased in 2016-17 and a further $266,000 was spent on post-election activities during the 2018-19 financial year, primarily on non-voter follow-up and ballot paper analysis and audits.


The original budget allocation from the Department of Treasury and Finance (Treasury) for the 2018 State Election was $12.693 million in total, represented by $12.407 million in the 2017-18 financial year and $286 000 in 2018-19 for post-election activities. This allocation was determined based on the same activities and volumes as the 2014 State Election plus infl ationary growth in costs over the four years between elections, as well as a government initiative in the 2017-18 budget.

A further budget allocation of $1.5 million was provided during the 2017-18 fi nancial year for the impacts of amendments to the legislation for the Legislative Council voting system for the March 2018 election.

The total budget allocation from Treasury amounted to $14.193 million. Total actual expenditure was $2.535 million greater than the total budget allocation, primarily due to:

  • increases in postage costs paid to Australia Post in excess of infl ation
  • signifi cantly higher volumes and costs of conducting pre-poll voting as well as vote scrutiny and count activities required in 2018
  • the higher volume of Legislative Council preference votes received than expected
  • an increase in training and survey/research activities compared with 2014 levels.
An additional allocation of $2.354 million was provided by Treasury in June 2018 with the balance of the variation funded by agency cash reserves ($181 000). By comparison, total expenditure on previous elections was slightly less than budgeted (e.g. $362 000 for the 2014 State Election), which offset the unfunded variation in 2018.

ECSA also received an investing expenditure allocation from Treasury of $1.4 million for a capital expenditure project to:

  • replace the majority of state election management computer systems to allow ongoing maintenance and provide increased functionality ($1.0 million)
  • implement a software system to assist with compliance with funding and disclosure legislation which came into operation after the 2014 State Election ($400 000).
Total project expenditure on completion in September 2018 was $1.349 million, represented by $952 000 on election management systems and $397 000 on the Funding and Disclosure Portal. All systems were delivered on time and within budget.


Total actual expenditure of $16.728 million for the 2018 State Election compares with $10.719 million for the 2014 State Election. The increase of $6.009 million relates to:

Unavoidable cost pressures:

  • a 5.2% increase in the number of electors
  • compound annual inflationary growth of 1.5% to 2.5% resulting in an 11.1% increase in costs over four years
  • increases in costs in excess of inflation:
    • Postage paid to Australia Post
    • Short-term rents paid for pre-poll venues and Returning Officers’ premises
    • Materials costs for printing, cardboard and polling booth kits
  • an increase in transport usage for secure delivery and collection of election material
Changes in conditions:

  • government initiative for an education and information campaign to encourage eligible members of the APY community to enrol to vote
  • amendments to the legislation regarding the Legislative Council voting system
  • higher volumes and costs of conducting prepoll voting that were significantly greater than forecast increases
  • higher volumes and costs for vote scrutiny and count activities required in 2018, with pressures for timely results and complexities created by the number of two-candidate preferred counts that arose due to the success of non-Labor / Liberal candidates.
  • improvements in training programs for all staff with contact with electors
  • expansion of professional survey and research activities to support operational changes for future events, and potential legislative amendments
There were 1 201 775 electors on the roll for the 2018 State Election compared with 1 142 419 for the 2014 State Election – an increase of 59 356 electors or 5.2%.

Cost per elector

Cost per elector for the 2018 State election has risen to $13.92 from $9.38 in 2014. The increase is due to the unavoidable cost pressures and changes in conditions over the four years between elections.

Fast Fact