The public may access information by:
- searching the Council's website to see if it is already available;
- contacting Council and requesting the information. Council will advise whether the information requested:
- is open access or mandatory release information that is readily available and where and how to get the information;
- should be made available as part of a proactive release of information;
- can be disclosed through an informal release, for example where no third party personal information is involved;
- requires a formal access application, for example because consultation with a third party is required.
If you are considering making an application for access to information we encourage you to contact Council’s Customer Service Centre to discuss your request
To make an informal request for access to information under the GIPAA, Council may require completion of an "Informal Access to Information Request" form. No fee is required for an Informal Access application.
To make a formal request for access to information under the GIPAA, the formal "Access Application" form should be completed. An application fee of $30 is payable at the time of lodging the application and hourly processing charges may also be applicable (Note: there is no GST in relation to these charges). Council is required to acknowledge that a formal application has been received within 5 working days.
If a fee for photocopies of documents provided under the GIPAA is payable, it will be listed in Council's adopted Fees & Charges Schedule and is GST inclusive.
In respect of formal application, Council will notify applicants of the decision within 20 working days, unless the applicant agrees to extend the time. Council may also extend the time by up to 15 working days where a consultation with a third party is required or if Council needs to retrieve records from archives.
If access is deferred by Council, then Council will notify the applicant and include the reason for deferral and the date on which the applicant will be given access. A decision to defer access is reviewable (see Your Review Rights under GIPAA). If Council does not decide the applicant's access application within the above timeframes, it is deemed "refused". Council will refund the application fee and the applicant may seek internal or external review (see Your Review Rights under GIPAA) of this refusal. This will not apply if an extension of time has been arranged or payment of an advance deposit is pending.
Rights of Review and Appeal
Where a member of the public is refused access under a formal application under the GIPAA, 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 the GIPAA has 3 options of review available.
- Applicants can apply to Council for an internal review. This is a 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 by lodging an Internal Review Application Form with the required fee.
- 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 8 weeks from being notified of a decision to ask for this review.
- 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 (ADT). If the applicant has already had a review by the Information Commissioner they have 4 weeks from notification of the decision to make this application. If they haven't had a review by the Information Commissioner they have 8 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.