Access to information

How to access government information

All government agencies are required to proactively release a range of information on their websites and in other formats that are accessible to the public.To access Council information:

  1. search Council website, to see if it is already available
  2. contact the Council's Customer Service Centre and ask for the information. The Council officer will help you decide whether the information you want:
    • is open access information that is readily available. If it is, they should tell you where and how you can get the information
    • can be disclosed to you through "informal release". For example, where no third party personal information is involved
    • requires a "formal access application". For example, when consultation with a third party is required

You can ask for any kind of personal or non-personal information. You do not need to give a reason for seeking the information.

If you are required to submit a formal application, forward it in writing accompanied by an application fee. Download the application form online or contact our our Customer Service Centre on 02 4921 0333 for a copy. In your application, please provide as much information as possible about the information you wish to access. If you are unsure, Council's Access to Information Officer will assist you in completing the form.

Access application process

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, which from 1 July 2010 replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (FOI Act) and Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993, defines "government information" as information contained in a record held by an agency. "Record" means any document or other source of information compiled, recorded or stored in written form or by electronic process, or in any other manner or by any other means (the knowledge of a person is not a record).

Council has a responsibility to deal with your application as soon as possible. Council must decide an access application and give you a notice with the decision within 20 working days after the application in received. This period may be extended by further 15 days if special circumstances apply, such as the need to consult with a third party or when records need to be retrieved from archives.

If your application concerns the personal or business affairs of a third party, Council is required to take reasonable steps to consult with the third party to obtain their views. Council must take into account any views offered by the third party when making its decision.

Processing fees can apply for locating the information, decision-making, and consultation. An hourly fee covers processing for both personal and non-personal information. However, if your application relates to your personal affairs, you are entitled to up to 20 hours processing time for your original application fee.

If you are denied access to documents or are aggrieved by Council's decision relating to an application you are entitled to apply for a review of the decision. You have three options to have the decision reviewed:

A person (either an applicant or third party) aggrieved by a reviewable decision has a right to an internal review of a decision. When the aggrieved person is the applicant, an internal review is not required before the Information Commissioner or NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal may conduct a review.

Further information

Page last updated: 18 July 2016