Freedom of Information

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Overview

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives the public a legal right to see Council documents created after 1 January 1989 and also any personal documents relating to individuals (regardless of how long they have been held). 

How to make a Freedom of Information request

A request can be made yourself, or you can authorise another person to make one on your behalf.

Requests must be for specific documents or a defined group of documents, stating the time period and the type of documents (eg, reports, letters or permits).  Your request will be interpreted literally so try to avoid phrases like 'all documents in relation to' as it may result in a charge for and receiving documents you don't require.

Your application must include the following:

  • A clear description of the documents
  • A $28.90 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 instance a valid driver's licence or passport
  • Written authorisation when a legal firm submits the request on your behalf
  • Your contact details

Online Freedom of Information Request Form or printable version(PDF, 34KB).  

What is the process once your application is received

Upon receipt of a request and the application fee, we will:

  • Acknowledge your request
  • Inform you of access charges and if a deposit is required
  • Search for and retrieve all documents
  • Review the documents and remove irrelevant material
  • Consult with external organisations and/or individuals if necessary

We will then compile a determination letter listing the documents which are to be released, any documents from your initial request that could not be located and any exemptions applied.

How long will it take to process my request

Council has 30 days from receipt of a Freedom of Information request in which to process the request.  This starts when your request is clear and your application fee if applicable has been paid.  If a deposit of access charges is sought, the 30 day time frame permitted for processing your request commences upon payment of the deposit.

Exempt documents

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 allows Council to refuse access to certain documents or information.  These documents are often called "exempt" documents or information.  In some cases you may be refused access to an entire document.  Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.  Some documents which might be exempt include internal working documents, law enforcement documents, legal advice, and personal information about other people, confidential documents or documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.  Please do not let this deter you from asking for access as each document is assessed on its merits before a decision is made.

For further information, please contact Council on 5382 9777.

Freedom of Information access charges

A charge can be made for the reasonable costs by an agency incurred in:

  • Searching and identifying relevant documents
  • Supplying copies of documents
  • Making viewing arrangements
  • Providing a written transcript
  • Providing a written document containing information otherwise stored electronically
  • If a copy other than a black and white A4 copy is sought

A charge of 1.5 fee units per hour (as of 1 July 2018 this is $21.65), or part of an hour is charged for the time spent conducting a routine search and identifying relevant documents.

Where the Freedom of Information request is for viewing of documents only, the charge for supervised inspection is 1/4 of 1.5 fee units per quarter hour (as of 1 July 2018 this is $5.40).

Each Freedom of Information request is assessed individually, and charges will vary.

The applicant will be informed of the access charges and be given the option to continue with the Freedom of Information request or to withdraw the request.  Where the charges are greater than $50 but less than $100 a deposit of $25 is required.  For charges over $100 a 50% deposit is required.  These figures are set by Regulation 9 of the access charges regulation.

Where the applicant chooses to continue with the request and the request will incur high access charges, the Freedom of Information Officer will consult with the applicant to discuss practicable ways in which to alter the request to enable the reduction of applicable charges.

Where a deposit is required, the 30 day processing time of the Freedom of Information request shall begin from the time the payment of the deposit is made.