There are four ways in which council information is available under the GIPA Act:
Mandatory Release (section 6 of the GIPA Act)
The GIPA Act requires NSW government agencies to publish ‘Open Access Information’ on their website, free of charge unless to do so would impose unreasonable additional costs or strain to the organisation and its resources. To see if information is already publicly available, search Council’s website. Refer to Council’s Agency Information Guide(PDF, 382KB) for a full list of information available.
Proactive release (section 7 of the GIPAAct):
Beyond mandatory release, NSW agencies are encouraged (and authorised) to publicly release as much government information as possible. This information should be available in an appropriate manner (including online), free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. It is the responsibility of Council’s General Manager (GM) to determine whether information held by Council is proactively released. The GM must ensure that all commercially sensitive information, as well as personal and identifying information is redacted from any document prior to being proactively released comply with the Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998.
Informal release (Section 8 of the GIPA Act):
NSW agencies are encouraged to informally release information without the need for a formal access application (and associated fee) to be submitted. Information will be informally released, where appropriate and provided there is not overriding public interest against the release of information. Council encourages applications for access to be made initially under the informal request provisions set out in Section 8 of the GIPA Act. You can also refer to Council's GOV-POL-13 Access to Information Policy and Agency Information Guide(PDF, 382KB) .
Note: the GIPA Act provides no statutory timeframe by which informal requests must be decided within. Council is not required to disclose government information pursuant to an informal request and is also not required to consider an informal request for government information (section 8(3)). Council can decide however by what means information is to be released in response to an informal request (section 8 (4)).
For access to the majority of information held by Council, you should make application by lodging Form 73 - Informal Access (no fee is required and access is provided digitally via Council's online portal). In the case where the request involves personal or sensitive information or requires consultation with a third party Form 74 - Formal Access to Information Application will need to be submitted.
Formal application (section 9 of the GIPA Act):
Under the GIPA Act, Council can release information in response to a formal access application. This is the last resort for obtaining Council information if it is not accessible in any of the three ways outlined above.
Your request will be dealt with under the Formal Access Provisions of Part 4 of the GIPA Act and Form 74 - Formal Access to Information Request will be required to be submitted, with a $30 application fee, if your application involves any of the following:
- Large volume of information.
- Estimated processing time exceeding one hour.
- Extensive research and substantial resources are required.
- The information requires consultation with a third party to which it relates prior to the release of the information.
An application will only be deemed valid if it meets the following requirements:
- It must be in writing.
- Lodged with the correct agency.
- Be accompanied by a $30 application fee.
- State that you are seeking information under the GIPA Act.
- Be clear and specific about the information requested.
- Include a postal address for response.
The application process will take up to 20 working days, unless you agree to extend the time. However, if Council needs to seek further information from a third party or from archives, it may take an additional 10-15 working days. Council will notify you if the process will take longer, why and when it will be completed. Additional processing charges at a rate of $30 per hour may also apply as part of deciding the application.