OF the 26 people who stood for Knox Council last year, only three disclosed the sources of campaign donations.
The Local Government Act requires candidates to outline campaign donations of $500 or more but this means that donations under the value do not have to be declared, regardless of the number.
"The total's irrelevant," said Rob Spence, chief executive of the Municipal Association of Victoria. "If you had 25 people give you $100 then it's not going to get declared."
In Knox, all 26 candidates lodged a formal return in which all but three said they had not received donations of more than $500.
Both Taylor Ward candidates Anthony Osborne and Darren Pearce declared donations to their campaigns.
Losing candidate Mr Osborne received $850 from Pauline Renzow and Cr Pearce said he received $100 from Graham De Clifford. New Tirhatuan Ward councillor Nicole Seymour declared a $10 donation from John Beggs.
Local Government Minister Jeanette Powell said candidates who failed to lodge a campaign donation return form risked a $8450 fine.
"The Local Government Act's requirement that campaign donations of $500 or more be publicly disclosed is an important component of conflict-of-interest provisions that require an elected councillor to step aside from any council decision that involves a person who made a contribution to their campaign," she said.
Campaign donation disclosure is only one aspect of the electoral system that is being re-examined by the MAV.
Mr Spence said voters had expressed concern over a lack of information on candidates, their platform and their political affiliations.
"The message is coming to us that people are finding it difficult to understand who's standing so that they can make an informed decision," he said.
"Some people have expressed the view to us that if you're a member of a political party, you should tell people. That 150 words [allowed in a candidate's statement] is not enough to get information on the individuals."
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