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LG Alert

A new regulation has been added to the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 1996 to increase transparency and accountability in local government, through greater oversight of incidental spending.

Regulation 13A covers purchasing cards issued by local governments to their employees. Purchasing cards use a local government approved line of credit that allows for the timely payment of goods and services acquired in the ordinary course of business.

Purchasing cards include the following:

  • business or corporate credit cards
  • debit cards
  • store cards
  • fuel cards
  • taxi cards

Other than debit cards, purchasing cards all require a separate payment to the card provider.

Purchasing cards do not include:

  • non-reloadable gift cards –  these cards are not connected to a local government account or intended to be used as a means of making ordinary business transactions
  • pre-loaded purchase or credit card advances – these are cash advances and should be recorded and acquitted accordingly
  • SmartRider cards that are centrally controlled for general use – if these cards are managed under the cash advance provisions.

Cash advances for council members are covered by Section 5.102 of the Local Government Act 1995. Cash advances for local government staff are covered by procedures established by the local government CEO under regulation 11 of the Local Government (Financial Management) Regulations 1996.

Explanation of terms used

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) has developed the following guidance on terms used to help the sector understand and comply with the new regulation requirements:

Payee names

    Payee names are currently reported under the existing regulation 13 (list of accounts), so reporting payee names from purchasing card transactions is not considered to create any adverse consequences  

    The amount of the payment

    The amount of the payment is a matter of fact and is currently reported in the current regulation 13 list of accounts.

    The date of the payment

    The date of the payment is the date of the purchasing card transaction. There may be multiple transactions on the same day  all need to be reported. The periodic payment to the purchasing card provider will continue to be reported under the existing Regulation 13 list of accounts.

    Sufficient information to identify the payment

    The description is not required to be overly detailed or identify personal information. Any personal or sensitive information that is inappropriate to be published can be redacted from the list of payments made using the purchasing card while still complying with the requirements set out in regulation 13A.

    The existing Regulation 11 requires all local governments to have established procedures for the authorisation and payment of accounts, including by credit cards and other purchasing cards, plus the auditing of local governments also commonly verifies these controls.

    DLGSC has existing guidance on the use of corporate credit cards for local governments.

    If you have further queries please contact the financial policy team at for assistance.

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    Page reviewed 27 February 2023