Anyone who makes a formal access application for Councils information has a legally enforceable right to be provided with access to the information in accordance with GIPA Act Part 4 (Access applications) unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.
To make a formal access application you can fill out the Formal Access to Council Information Application or write to the General Manager and forward a $30 application fee to Councils Administration Centre. The Formal Access to Council Information Application form is available for download here.
A valid formal application for access to government information must:
- be in writing
- state that it is made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)
- have an Australian postal address for return correspondence
- provide enough details to help us identify the information you want and
- enclose the application fee of $30.
Applicants may be entitled to a 50 per cent reduction of processing
charges on financial hardship grounds, or if the information requested
is of special benefit to the public generally.
If Council decides to provide you with access to the information, you may be asked to pay a further processing charge. Processing costs $30 per hour and covers time needed to deal efficiently with the application.
We may ask an applicant to pay up to 50 per cent of the expected processing charge in advance. This request must be in writing and the applicant must be given at least four weeks to pay.
If you seek access to your own personal information, the first 20 hours of processing time are free of charge.
You will be notified of the decision on your application within 20 working days, unless you agree to extend the time.
We may also extend the time by 10-15 days where consultation with a third party is required or if we needs to retrieve records from archives.
If Council defers access to information, we must notify you and include the reason for deferral and the date on which you will be given access. A decision to defer access is reviewable (review rights).
If Council does not decide your access application within 20 days, it is considered “refused”. Your application fee must be refunded and you may seek internal or external review (review rights) of this refusal.
This will not apply if an extension of time has been arranged or payment of an advance deposit is pending.
If you receive information after making a formal application, and we
believes that information may of interest to other members of the
public, we will ordinarily record it on the “disclosure log” which is
made available on the website.
The disclosure log describes the information that was provided to the applicant and, if it is available to other members of the public, how they can access it.
You can object to information being included in the disclosure log if it includes personal information about you or about a deceased person that you personally represent; the information concerns your business, commercial, professional, or financial interests or research undertaken.
Council can refuse your request if:
- the information you have asked for is already publicly available,
- you have not paid a deposit,
- your request would take an unreasonable amount of time to process,
- there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
You have three options if you have been refused access to information:
- Internal review:
You can apply to Council for an internal review. This is a review by someone more senior than the original decision maker and there is a $40 fee. You have 20 working days from receiving notice of a decision to ask for an internal review. The Internal Review Application form is available for download here.
- Review by the Information Commissioner:
If you are not satisfied with the internal review, or do not want one, you can ask for a review by the NSW Information Commissioner. You have eight weeks from being notified of a decision to ask for this review.
- Review at the Administrative Decisions Tribunal:
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner or the internal reviewer or if you do not want to take these options you can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (ADT). If you have already had a review by the Information Commissioner you have four weeks from notification of the decision to make this application. If you haven’t had a review by the Information Commissioner you have eight weeks from notification of the decision to make this application.