Access to Information
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) commenced on 1 July 2010. The GIPA Act replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (FOI Act) and Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993.
The main purpose of the GIPA Act is to provide the public with access to as much information held by local government agencies as is possible in circumstances of each request. The benefit of this legislation is to provide a more open, accountable and transparent government. Council's Information Guide lists the type of information available.
How to Access Government Information
From 1 July 2010, all government agencies are required to proactively release a range of information on their websites and in other accessible formats. Informal release of information can be requested via telephone, email, or in person. Formal applications for access to information should be a last resort.
To access Council information:
- Search Council's website, to see if it is already available;
- Contact the Council's Customer Service Centre and ask for the information (Ph: 4868-0888, email: firstname.lastname@example.org). The Council Officer will consider whether the information you want:
- is open access information that is readily available if it is, they should tell you where and how you can get this information
- can be disclosed to you through "informal release", for example where no third party personal information is involved
- requires a "formal Access Application", for example because consultation with a third party is required.
You can ask for any kind of personal or non-personal information. You do not need to give a reason for seeking the information.
If you are required to submit a formal application, please forward it in writing accompanied by a $30 application fee. Formal applications need to be processed within 20 working days, unless extended as allowed under the GIPA Act. The application form is available online or from Council's Customer Service Centre. In your application please provide as much information as possible about the information you wish to access. If you are unsure, a Council Officer can assist you in filling out the form.
Processing of Access Applications
If your application concerns the personal or business affairs of a third party, Council is required to take reasonable steps to consult with the third party to obtain their views. Council must take into account any views offered by the third party when making its decision.
If you are denied access to documents or are aggrieved by Council's decision relating to an application you are entitled to apply for a review of the decision. You have three options to have the decision reviewed:
- internal review
- external review by the Information Commissioner, and
- external review by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal
A person (either an applicant or third party) aggrieved by a reviewable decision has a right to an internal review. When the aggrieved person is the applicant, an internal review is not required before the Information Commissioner or NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal may conduct a review.
You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW Government information on the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website:
www.ipc.nsw.gov.au (external link)
Factsheet - Ways to Access Government Information (PDF, 49kB)
Enquiries relating to your application may be directed to:
Integrated Planning and Reporting and Governance Coordinator
Telephone: (02) 4868-0888