Freedom of Information
Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation gives individuals and organisations a general right of access to documents held by Council. It also provides rights of appeal if access to information through a FOI request is not granted.
If you are seeking access to information, contact Council as the agency that holds the information first. If we cannot give you access, under the FOI Act you have the right to make a FOI request.
How to make a Freedom of Information request
An application to access documents can be made by:
Before sending us your request, ring the FOI Officer on (03) 5382 9777, or email email@example.com, to discuss what you are after, how you want it, fees and charges, timelines, consultation with third parties and documents that may be exempt.
Your application must include:
- An accurate description of the documents you are seeking access to (either specific documents or a defined group of documents stating the time period and type of documents)
- A $29.60 application fee or evidence that you qualify for an application fee waiver, for example, a valid pension or health care card
- Evidence of your identity if the documents you seek are about your personal affairs, for example, a valid driver's licence or passport
- Written authorisation when a legal firm submits the request on your behalf
- Your contact details.
Please note that your request may incur search and access charges in accordance with the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014. You will be supplied with a statement of any applicable charges as your request progresses.
What documents are available?
You can ask for any documents held by Council, however, we are not able to provide some documents as they (or parts thereof) may be exempt under the FOI Act for personal or business reasons.
Some internal working documents
Law enforcement documents
Personal information about other people
Confidential matters considered by Council
Documents covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.
Where a decision is made to refuse or defer access, you will be notified in writing of the reasons for denial/deferral. If you are not satisfied with the reasons, you can seek a review from the Victorian Information Commissioner.
Your application may be refused if it is considered to be "voluminous in nature", in that it would interfere unreasonably with the operations or performance of Council.
Before submitting your request, ring the FOI Officer on (03) 5382 9777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what you are after, how you want it, fees and charges, timelines, consultation with third parties and exempt documents. Council makes a lot of documents available to the public already.
Documents available for public inspection
What happens once your application is received?
Once we receive your request and application fee payment, we will:
Acknowledge your request
Advise you of the access charges and if you need to pay a deposit
Search for and retrieve all documents
Review the documents and take out information that's not relevant
Consult with external organisations and/or individuals if necessary.
We will then send you a determination letter listing the documents to be released, any documents from your initial request that couldn't be located and any exemptions applied.
Council has 30 days to process your request. This starts when your request is clear and your application fee (if applicable) has been paid. If a deposit for access charges is sought, the 30 day time frame commences upon receipt of the deposit.
Fees and charge
Application Fee: $29.60 (as of 1 July 2019)
Search and retrieval of documents: $22.20 per hour or part thereof (as of 1 July 2019)
Supervised inspection of documents: $22.20 per hour to be calculated per 1/4 hour ($5.60)
For charges greater than $50 but less than $100, a $25 deposit is required. For charges $100 and over, a 50% deposit is required.
You are entitled to make a complaint to the Victorian Information Commission concerning any action taken or failed to have been taken by Council in making the decision to disclose the information. The complaint must be made within 60 days after the action or conduct occurred. For further information, please visit: https://ovic.vic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/for-the-public/make-a-complaint/