Access to Information
Your right to access information held by Orange City Council is governed by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA). The GIPA Act commenced on 1 July 2010, replacing the Freedom of Information Act 1989 and Section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993. The GIPA Act can be found here.
The GIPA Act creates new rights to information that are designed to meet the community's expectations of more open and transparent government. This means that information will generally be released unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
This page provides information on how the community can access information from Council.
How do I to get the information I want?
- Step 1: Search Council's website (using the search box at the top of this page) to see if the information you are seeking is already available. A lot of information about Council can already be found online.
- Step 2: Check Council's Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure and Agency Information Guide. These documents (downloadable below) will tell you how to obtain other kinds of information.
- Step 3: If the information is not routinely available, you will need to lodge an Access to Information Application (downloadable below). Council encourages requests for information to be made, initially, under informal request provisions of the GIPA Act. (This processs is explained below). Once your application is received, Council staff will determine whether or not your request should alternatively be made under formal access provisions. If it is decided that your request should be handled under formal access provisions, staff will notify you and request payment of the $30 formal access application fee to validate your application.
- Step 4: If you're still still unsure which approach to follow, please contact Council and ask to speak to a GIPA Right to Information Officer.
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 an Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure which sets out the documents and types of information that are routinely available to members of the public, as well as those that will not generally be available. 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 (provision of copies of documentation is subject to the copyright legislation and explained in more detail in Council's Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure and Agency Information Guide). Photocopying charges are detailed in the Council's annual schedule of Fees and Charges.
The Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure (939 KB) can be downloaded here.
The Agency Information Guide 2017-2018 (2.49 MB) can be downloaded here.
What kinds of information can be released?
The way information is provided to the public depends on the nature of that information. There are four different 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, unless to do so would impose unreasonable additional costs on the agency. This Open Access Information is listed below.
- Proactive release - State and local government agencies are encouraged to make as much other information as possible publicly available in an appropriate manner, including online. 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, initially, under the informal request provisions set out in Section 8 of the GIPA Act. Council's Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure and Agency Information Guide list the types 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 other 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 and submit to Council with a $30 Formal Application fee.
Open Access Information
Council will publish mandatory release information ("Open Access 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 list of government information is Open Access Information that Council is required to make publicly available under Section 18 of the GIPA Act (Mandatory or Proactive Release):
Disclosure Log (424 KB) (Section 25 GIPA Act)
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018 (172 KB) (Section 27-31 GIPA Act)
Additional Open Access Information
Schedule 1 of the GIPA 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, orders and other documents
Please refer to Council's Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure and Agency Information Guide which sets out the full list of Additional Open Access Information available to members of the public under the above 4 information categories.
From this 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 - 2016-2017
- 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 - 2017-2018 [624 KB]
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 the Information Commissioner. The role of the IPC is to promote publc 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)
Internal Review Application Form [327KB] (Refer to Right to Information Guidelines on use of this form)