Access to Information

 135 Byng St, Orange
 02 6393 8000
 02 6393 8199
 council@orange.nsw.gov.au

Your right to access information held by Orange City Council is governed by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).  The GIPA Act began 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 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.

Accessing Information

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 accord with the GIPA Act, free of charge, but a reasonable photocopying fee may be payable under the Act for copies of documents.  (The provision of copies of documents is subject to copyright legislation and explained in more detail in Council’s Access to Information Held by Council policy and procedure and Agency Information Guide).

File Comments
Fees and Charges - 2020-2021Photocopying charges are detailed in the Council’s annual schedule of Fees and Charges
Access to Information held by Council - ST083
Agency Information Guide 2020-2021

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 :

  1. Mandatory release – State and local government agencies are required to publish specific Open Access Information on their website, free of charge, unless if doing so would impose unreasonable additional costs on the agency. This Open Access Information is listed below.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 Informal Request for Information Form to make an informal information request.  (No fee is required for an Informal Request application, however, fees not exceeding Council’s photocopying charges will apply in accordance with Council’s adopted Fees and Charges).
  4. Formal release – Under Part 4 of 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. Generally, a Formal Access Application is required if your application involves:
    • a large volume of information,
    • sensitive or confidential 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.

Complete the Formal Access Application Form and submit to Council with a $30 Formal Application fee (statutory charge under the GIPA Act).  Please note that $30 hourly processing charges may also apply.

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 if doing 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):

File Comments
Agency Information Guide 2020-2021
Council Policies
GIPA Disclosure LogSection 25 GIPA Act
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019Section 27-31 GIPA Act
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020Section 27-31 GIPA Act
Register of Government Contracts - 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021Section 27-31 GIPA Act
Register - Open Access Information Not Publicly AvailableSection 6(5) GIPA Act
Additional Open Access Information as defined in Schedule 1 of the GIPA Regulations

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:

File Comments
Model Code of Conduct
Code of Meeting Practice Strategic PolicySee Code of Meeting Practice
Code of ConductSee Council Policies
Register of Disclosure of Interests 2019-2020 - Councillors and Designated StaffCouncil is required to publish annual declaration returns from councillors and designated staff.

Section 14 of the GIPA Act 2009 lists, as a consideration against disclosure, information that may reveal someone's personal information, or would contravene an information protection principle under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW).

Given the amount of personal information that may be contained in the returns, special care is taken to protect such disclosure. Accordingly, personal information such as signatures and personal addresses have been redacted.
Register of Delegations
Annual Financial ReportsSee Annual Report
Auditor's ReportSee Annual Report
Delivery and Operational PlanSee Plans and Policies
EEO Management PlanSee Council Policies
Councillors Payment of Expenses - Provision of FacilitiesSee Council Policies
Council Meeting Agendas and Business PapersSee Meetings and Minutes Archive
Register of current declarations of disclosures of political donations to CouncillorsSee Voting & Political Donations

• Register of Councillor voting on planning matters kept in accordance with section 375A
Register - Graffiti Removal Register 2019-2020
Register - Graffiti Removal Register 2020-2021
Register - Council Land RegisterCouncil is required is required to keep a register of all land vested in it or under its control pursuant to Section 53 of the Local Government Act 1993. This register will be updated every six months.

Where can I get further information?

Further information can be obtained from the Information and Privacy Commission of NSW. 

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has been established as part of the right to information system and is led by the Information Commissioner.  The role of the IPC is to promote public awareness and understanding of the  right to information law and provide information, support, advice, assistance and training to agencies and the general public.

To contact the IPC:

Forms

File Comments
Informal Request for Information FormMost commonly used form when requesting information from Council. If you are unsure which form to lodge, please contact a Council Right to Information Officer.
Formal Access Application formIt is recommended that you contact a Council Right to Information Officer to discuss your request prior to lodgement of a Formal Access Application as your request may be able to be processed under an Informal Request for Information.
Internal Review Application formOnly relates to Formal Access Applications. This form is only used following a determination of a Formal Access Application in which the Access Applicant requests an internal review of Council's decision.