Access to Information
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 ( the GIPA Act) began on 1 July 2010. The GIPA Act replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) and Sections 12 and 13 of the Local Government Act 1993.
The GIPA Act introduces a new right to information that is focused on making government information more readily available. This means that information will generally be released unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
The Act can be found here
Orange City Council will assess all requests for access to documents and information in a timely manner and in accordance with the GIPA Act.
Council has developed Right to Information Guidelines which set out the documents and types of information that are available to members of the public as a matter of routine, and those that will not generally be available for inspection and copying. Where practicable, Council will deal with requests to inspect documents in accordance with the GIPA Act free of charge, but a reasonable photocopying fee may be payable under the Act for copies of documentation. All charges are detailed in Council's Schedule of Fees and Charges.
GIPA Right to Information Guidelines (580 KB)
There are four ways that Council information will be released:
- Mandatory release - State and local government agencies are required to publish specific open access information on their website, free of charge. For example, these could include a register of government contracts, policies, media releases and annual reports. Council's Agency Information Guide - 2014 and GIPA Right to Information Guidelines list the type of information that is available.
- Proactive release - State and local government agencies are encouraged to make as much other information as possible publicly available in an appropriate manner, including on the internet. The information should be available free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. For example, frequently requested information or information of public interest may be made readily available.
- Informal release - State and local government agencies are authorised to release other information in response to an informal request, subject to any reasonable conditions an agency imposes, without the need for an application to be lodged under Formal Access. Council encourages applications for access to information to be made, in the first instance, under the informal request provisions set out in Section 8 of the GIPA Act. Council's Agency Information Guide - 2014 and GIPA Right to Information Guidelines list the type of information that is available. Complete the Access to Information Application Form to make an informal information request (no fee is required for an Informal Request application, however, photocopying charges will apply in accordance with Council's adopted Fees and Charges).
- Formal release - 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 available in any way. If your application involves a large volume of information, estimated processing time exceeds 1 hour, extensive research and substantial resources are required or the information requested relates to third parties who will need to be consulted prior to release of the information, then your request will be dealt with under the provisions of Formal Access (Part 4 of the GIPA Act). Complete the Access to Information Application Form to make a formal access application (note: a $30 application fee is required to be submitted with your application).
Open Access Information
Council will publish mandatory release information on its website unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or do so would impose an unreasonable additional cost on Council.
The following government information is "open access information" that Council is required to make publicly available under Section 18 of the GIPA Act(mandatory proactive release):
Agency Information Guide 2015-2016 (2.30 MB)
Disclosure Log (210 KB) (Section 25 GIPA Act)
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016 (164 KB) (Section 27-31 GIPA Act)
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 (124 KB) (Section 27-31 GIPA Act)
Additional Open Access Information
Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulations lists further documentation as Additional Open Access Information under the following information categories which is to be made publicly available:
1. Information about Council
2. Plans and Policies
3. Information about Development Applications
4. Approvals, oders and other documents
Please refer to Council's GIPA Right to Information Guidelines which sets out the full list of Additional Open Access Information available to members of the public under the above 4 information categories. From such list Council has made the following information available on its website:
- Model Code of Conduct
- Code of Meeting Practice - see Code of Meeting Practice
- Code of Conduct - see Council Policies
- GIPA Annual Report - 2015-2016
- Annual Financial reports- see Annual Report
- Auditor's Report - see Annual Report
- Delivery and Operational Plan - see Public Documents
- EEO Management Plan - see Council Policies
- Councillors Payment of Expenses - Provision of Facilities - see Council Policies
- Council Meeting Agendas and Business Papers - see Meetings & Minutes
- Minutes of Council Meetings - see Meetings & Minutes
- Register of current declarations of disclosures of political donations to Councillors - see Voting & Political Donations
- Register of Councillor voting on planning matters kept in accordance with section 375A - Voting & Political Donations
- Register of graffiti removal work kept in accordance with Section 13 of the Graffiti Control Act 2008
- Graffiti Removal Register - 2015-2016 [372KB]
- Graffiti Removal Register - 2016-2017 [360 KB]
Unsure how to get the information you want?
- Step 1: Search Council's website (using the search box at the top of this page) to see if it is available.
- Step 2: Check the Agency Information Guide and Right to Information Guidelines. These documents will tell you how to obtain the information.
- Step 3: If the information is not routinely available (ie, not open access information), you will need to lodge an informal or formal Access to Information Application. Council encourages requests for information to be made, in the first instance, under informal request provisions of the GIPA Act. Upon receipt of your application, Council will determine if your request needs to be made under formal access and, if it is determined your application will need to be dealt with under formal access, will notify you accordingly and request payment of the $30 formal access application fee to validate your application.
- Step 4: If still unsure, contact Council and request to speak to a GIPA Right to Information Officer.
Where can I get further information?
Further information can be obtained from the Information and Privacy Commission NSW.
The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has been established as part of the new right to information system and is led by an Information Commissioner. The role of the IPC is to promote public awareness and understanding of the new right to information law, and provide information, support, advice, assistance and training to agencies and the general public.
To contact the IPC:
- Go to the website at http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
- Email an enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mail an enquiry: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
- Call 1800 472 679 between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Access to Information Application Form (word editable version)
Internal Review Application Form [407 KB] (Refer to Right to Information Guidelines regarding use of this form)