Access to Council Records - Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA) commenced on the 1st of July 2010 repealing and replacing the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) and Access to Information provisions in the Local Government Act (sections 12 and 13).
The focus of the GIPAA is to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective. The Act requires Council to proactively release information where possible, providing there is no over-riding public interest against disclosure.
The Act establishes four ways that the public can access Council information:
1. Mandatory Disclosure
Some Council documents are considered "open access" and will generally be published on Council's web site. If you are seeking an "open access" document which is not available on the web site, please contact Council's office on 69901100 or send an email to email@example.com:
Council is required to publish the following open access information under section 18 of the GIPA Act:
documents tabled in parliament
policy documents (available at Council's Office)
disclosure log of access applications
register of government contracts
record of open access information not publicly available
other information as prescribed by the regulations as open access (see below)
Council is required to publish the following additional open access information under Schedule 1 to the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Regulation):
Information about council
Council Plans and Policies
Information about development applications
Information about approvals, orders and other documents
2. Informal Release
Council can release information in response to an informal request providing there is no over-riding interest against disclosure. Requests for informal release do not involve any fees or charges, except copying charges where relevant.
Council can determine how the request is processed and in what form the information will be supplied. Informal application decisions are not reviewable.
Informal requests for information can be made in person at the Council Office.
3. Formal Access
Persons making a formal access application have a legally enforceable right to be provided with this access unless there is an over-riding public interest against disclosure of this information. Formal Access applications must be in writing, specifying that access to information is sought under the GIPAA accompanied by a fee of $30 and must contain enough detail to identify the information to which access is sought. Additional processing charges may apply to these applications.
Formal Access applications are not required for "open access" information. Decisions are reviewable in certain circumstances.
Upon receipt of a valid access application, Council must give the applicant notice of its decision within 20 working days, although this time can be extended under section 57(2) to consult with third parties or retrieve information from archives. Processing charges at a rate of $30 per hour may also apply as part of deciding the application. Applicants aggrieved with a reviewable decision set out under section 80 of the GIPA Act have the right to request a review of that decision.
To make a formal access application, please download and fill out the below application form:
GIPAA Formal Access Form
4. Proactive Release
In addition to the mandatory release of information we are authorised to make any other information publicly available providing there is no over-riding public interest against disclosure.
5. What if I am not satisfied with the answer I receive?
If you are not satisfied with the decision about your application, you have a right to ask for a review. For instance, you may have been refused access to the whole or part of a document, or perhaps you are concerned that your personal or business information will be disclosed to someone else. You have the options of applying for an internal review or external review.
The internal review request must be lodged with Council within 20 working days of receiving the decision, must be in writing, and accompanied by a $40 fee. Lodgement must be via post or in person, on the prescribed form.
GIPAA Internal Review Application Form
A person more senior to the original decision-maker will review your application and inform you of the review decision within 15 working days, including reasons as to why the original decision is affirmed, modified or overturned. If further consultation is required, the review period may be extended by up to 10 working days.
You can also request an external review by sending a review application to the Information Commissioner or Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Office for the Information Commissioner
GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
Ph: (02) 1800 463 626
Administrative Decisions Tribunal
Level 15, 111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 92 234 677
Fax: (02) 92 333 283
6. Disclosure log
Council's disclosure log records details about information that has already been released in response to a formal access application and may be of interest to other members of the public (unless the applicant objects to its recording).
Nil to date.
Hay Shire Council Administration Building is located at
134 Lachlan Street,
PO Box 141
Hay NSW 2711
Telephone: (02) 6990 1100
Facsimile: 02 6993 1288
9am - 5pm Monday to Friday
9am - 4pm Monday to Friday