Access to information- Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
Your rights to access Council information are provided in the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act).
The GIPA Act was introduced on 1 July 2010 and replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 and Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993. It introduced a new right to information system designed to meet the community’s expectations of a more open and transparent government.
The GIPA Act requires all councils and State Government agencies to make certain information publicly available. The Act also requires Council to provide other information on request, although fees may be charged for access. You can find out more information about your rights to information and ways to access NSW Government information on the Information and Privacy Commission website.
There are four ways in which council information is available under the GIPA Act:
1. Mandatory release:Certain information, referred to as open access information, must be published on the agency’s website, free of charge.
2. Proactive release: Beyond mandatory release, agencies are encouraged (and authorised) to release as much government information as possible.
3. Informal request: Agencies are encouraged to informally release information, by excusing the need for a formal application (and fee) to be submitted.
4. Formal application: This is the last resort if information is not accessible in any of the above three ways. Decisions made in response to formal applications can be reviewed.
If you can’t find the information you require on Council’s website please contact Council on 02 6632 1611. We can let you know if the information is available elsewhere, can be made available as a part of an informal information request or requires a formal access application.
There is no charge for information sought through an informal access request, although photocopying charges will apply if copies are required.
Where informal access is not possible, a formal application for information under the GIPA Act will need to be lodged. The applicant will be required to pay a $30 application fee and may be required to play an additional $30 an hour processing fee. Informal and formal applications are lodged on the same form, which can be downloaded here.
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) requires Council to maintain an information guide and a disclosure log.
the ways in which the functions (including, in particular, the decision-making functions) of Council affect members of the public;
arrangements which exist to enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of Council’s policy and the exercise of Council’s functions;
information on the various kinds of government information held by Council;
information on the kinds of government information held by Council which Council makes (or will make) publicly available;
A disclosure log is a list of documents released following a decision about an application for access made under the GIPA Act 2009 where in Council’s opinion the information released may be of interest to other members of the public.