Access to Information

Introduction

In 2009, legislation was passed through the NSW parliament relating to access to government information.  This new legislation is called Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA).

GIPAA came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaces section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) and the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW).

The aim of the new right to information legislation is to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In 2009, legislation was passed through the NSW parliament relating to access to government information.  This new legislation is called Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA).

GIPAA came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaces section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) and the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW).

The aim of the new right to information legislation is to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.

How do the public access information under GIPAA?

The Act establishes four ways for the public to access government information:

  1. Mandatory Disclosure
    - Certain information must be published on Council's website free of charge.
  2. Proactive Release
    - Council is encouraged to release as much government information as possible free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost). This information will be placed on Council's website.
  3. Informal Release
    - Council is encouraged to release information without the need for a formal application, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
  4. Formal Access
    - In limited circumstances, access to information will require a formal access application. 

What information is Open Access Information?

Council publishes open access, or mandatory release, information on its website unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or do so would impose an unreasonable additional cost on Council.  In respect of the latter the Council will make the information freely available in another format eg hard copy at the Council Administration Office.  

The open access information is:

  • Council's policy documents;
  • A publication guide with information about the council's structure and functions, and listing the type of information that is publicly available;
  • disclosure log of formal access applications where in council's opinion the information released may be of interest to other members of the public;
  • register of contracts worth more than $150,000 that council has with private sector bodies; and
  • A record of open access information that council does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure.
  • To request access to information, including environment and planning documents, download the Information Request Form.

Publication Guide(PDF, 570KB)

Information Request Form(PDF, 276KB)

Publicly Available Information

These documents are: 

1. Information about Council

2. Plans and Policies

  • Local Policies adopted by Council concerning approvals and orders
  • Plans of Management for Community Land; and
  • Environmental Planning Instrument, Development Control Plan

3. Information about Development Applications

Development Applications and any associated documents received in relation to a proposed development, eg:

  • Home Warranty Insurance documents;
  • Construction Certificates;
  • Occupation Certificates;
  • Structural Certification Documents;
  • Town Planner Reports;
  • Submissions received on Development Applications;
  • Heritage Consultant Reports;
  • Tree Inspections Consultant Reports;
  • Land Contamination Consultant Reports;
  • Records of decisions on Development Applications including decisions on appeals; and
  • Records describing the general nature of documents that Council decides to exclude from public view after application of public interest test considerations. 

4. Approvals, Orders and Other Documents

  • Applications for approvals under part 7 of the LGA;
  • Applications for approvals under any other Act and any associated documents received;
  • Records of approvals granted or refused, any variation from Council Policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals;
  • Orders given under Part 2 of Chapter 7 of the LGA, and any reasons given under section 136 of the LGA;
  • Orders given under the Authority of any other Act;
  • Records of Building Certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;
  • Plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council;
  • Compulsory Acquisition Notices; and
  • Leases and Licenses for use of Public Land classified as Community Land.

Copies of documents provided are given for information purposes only and are provided by Council to meet its requirements under relevant legislation.  Copyright laws still apply to each document.  The copyright-owner's consent is required if any part of the document is used for any other purpose. 

What information is Council not allowed to release?

Council may refuse a request for information if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or if searching for the requested information would require unreasonable and substantial diversion of the Council's resources.

For more detail on information for which there is a conclusive presumption of overriding public interest against disclosure, please refer to Schedule 1 of the GIPA Act.

Council will always explain to the applicant its reasons for not releasing information.  Where documents contain information where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, any remaining information contained within the requested document will be available under the Act.

Access to Council Information

Members of the public seeking access to council information have a number of avenues that they can use. Council has endeavoured to place as much information as possible on our website for ease of access. In the first instance, the public should search council's website for information.

Most information can be inspected and obtained from Council's Administration building between the hours of 8.00am and 4.30pm Monday to Friday (except public holidays), at 105 Loftus Street, Temora, by phoning (02) 69801100 or in writing. In many instances information may be provided or access given to review documents by simply making a request in person or in writing.

If the information being requested is an open access document as classified under the GIPA Act and GIPA Regulation, but is not easily accessible, or if council can not obtain the information for you immediately, you will be asked to complete an Informal Access Application.

All open access information is available free of charge in at least one form. If this information is not on our website, Council will make a copy for you.  If the information requested requires Council to consult with a third party, where the information will require a significant amount of Council resources to provide the information or if the request is for sensitive information, Council will request you to complete a Formal Access Application, fees and charges will apply.

The fees and charges associated can be located in Council's Fees and Charges Schedule. This can be located on Council's website, for viewing at Council's Administration Building or at the Shire Libraries.

If you experience any difficulty in obtaining information, please contact council's Right to Information Officer.

When would a formal access application be required?

 A formal access application will be required when:

  • the request means that Council will need to consult with other agencies or third parties before information can be released;
  • Where the scope of the information required means that it will take significant Council resources to provide the information; and
  • If the request seeks access to sensitive information

How do I make a formal access application?

To make a formal access application you will need to fill out the Formal Access Application Form  and forward this to Council.

Formal Access Application Form(DOC, 102KB)

Mailing to:
Temora Shire Council
Att: Right to Information Officer
105 Loftus Street
TEMORA  NSW  2666

Ensure that you have enclosed a $30 application fee.  Additional processing charges may be applicable, in relation to the formal access application.  An acknowledgement of the application and the requirements of any advance deposit will be provided by Council within five working days. 

How do I make an informal access application?

To make an informal access application you will need to fill out the Informal Access Application Form and forward this to Council.

Informal Access Application Form(DOC, 98KB)

Mailing to:
Temora Shire Council
Att: Right to Information Officer
105 Loftus Street
TEMORA  NSW  2666

Can anyone access my personal information? 

Council is unable to release personal information to a person or other body, unless:

  • The disclosure is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected;
  • Council had no reason to believe that the person concerned would object to the disclosure;
  • The person is likely to have been aware, or has been made aware, that information of that kind is usually disclosed to another person or body; or
  • Council believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the person concerned or another person.

This is legislated under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.  Only the individual for whom the personal information is about is able to obtain or amend personal information held by council.  No personal information will be released without the consent of the individual concerned.

Council does realize that there may be some instances, where the release of person information about a person may need to be released to a third party.  In such cases Council has created a Third Party Authority Form(DOC, 104KB) .

This form can be lodged in person or via post at the Council's Administration Building located at:

Temora Shire Council
105 Loftus Street
TEMORA  NSW  2666

Rights of Review and Appeal 

Where a member of the public is refused access under a formal application under GIPA Act, staff will provide details of the reasons for refusal to the member of the public in writing.  An applicant who has been refused access by Council to information requested under a formal request for access to information under the GIPA Act has three options of review available.

  • Applicants can apply to Council for an internal review. This is review by someone more senior than the original decision maker and there is a $40 fee.  Applicants have 20 working days from receiving notice of a decision to ask for an internal review.

To request an internal review, applicants need to complete an Internal Review Application Form and forward this to Council.  Ensure that you have enclosed the $40 review fee.

Internal Review Application Form(DOC, 93KB)

  • If an applicant is not satisfied with the internal review, or does not want one, they can ask for a review by the Information Commissioner.  Applicants have eight weeks from being notified of a decision to ask for this review.

The Office of the Information Commissioner can be contacted:

Go to - www.oic.nsw.gov.au
Phone - 1800 463 626
Email - oicinfo@oic.nsw.gov.au
Postal Address - GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001

If an applicant is not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner or the internal reviewer or if they do not want to take these options they can apply to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.  If the applicant has already had a review by the Information Commissioner they have four weeks from notification of the decision to make this application.  If they haven't had a review by the Information Commissioner they have eight weeks from notification of the decision to make this application.

 It is noted that there are no rights of review in respect of informal applications, but the applicant may make a formal application at any time.

Fees and Charges

Application Fee - $30
Covers the 1st hour of processing the formal access application. Processing Fee - $30/hr
Charge for any time spent in dealing efficiently with the application.  The first 20 hours is free when requesting personal information. Advance Deposit - Up to 50% of the total processing time will be required in advance.  Council will advise the estimated processing charge and given the application for weeks for payment to be made.

Photocopying - As per the Fees and Charges Schedule