Accessing Council Information

Overview

Edward River Council is committed to open, accountable and transparent government and ensuring that members of the community are able to efficiently access information about Council.

Your rights to access Council information are provided in the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act), which commenced on 1 July 2010 and replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) and section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).

As part of this reform, the GIPA Act:

  • Upholds rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government;
  • Maintains there is a presumption in favour of the disclosure of government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure;
  • Authorises and encourages government agencies to proactively release government information;
  • Makes it possible for government agencies to release information informally, without the need to submit a formal access application;
  • Requires that a government agency must release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure; and
  • Provides applicants with review rights around information access decisions.

 

Release of information by Council under the GIPA Act will be determined by the public interest test. As provided by section 13 of the Act, there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information if (and only if) there are public interest considerations against disclosure and, on balance, those considerations outweigh the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure.

You can find out more about right to information, the public interest test and the ways to access government information under the GIPA Act on the NSW Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website. The OIC is an independent statutory authority responsible for overseeing the provisions of the GIPA Act. Please note the OIC does not and is unable to provide legal advice to stakeholders.

If the information you are seeking is not available on this website, you should follow the below steps to obtain access:

1. Contact Council and ask for the information

If the information you want is not published on this website, contact us and we will tell you whether the requested information:

  • Is open access information that is already available and how you can access the information;
  • Can be made available as part of a proactive release of information;
  • Can be disclosed to you through informal release; or
  • Requires a formal access application.

 

2. Lodge a formal GIPA request

If Council advises you that information you want cannot be released information (because the information contains a third party’s personal or business details, or sensitive information, or will take some time to process), you will be required to lodge a formal GIPA application using Council’s Formal Access Application. (this form hasn’t been developed yet)

3. Seek a review

If you are not satisfied with the decision made in response to a formal GIPA request, you may seek a review of the decision.

You have three review options:

  1. Internal review by another Council officer who is no less senior than the officer who made the original decision. You must complete the Internal review form (this form hasn’t been developed yet) and pay the $40 application fee.
  2. External review by the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC). Contact the IPC directly for more information on 1800 472 679 or visit their website.
  3. External review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Contact NCAT directly for more information on 1300 006 228 or visit their website.

 

Fees

If you request a copy of information held by Council, Council may charge a fee to cover photocopying or if Council has an authority to charge a fee. Please refer to Council’s fees and charges for more information.

Information and Privacy Commission

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) can provide you with more information about the GIPA Act.