Public Access to Information (GIPA)
Council is committed to assisting members of the community in accessing information about Council. The following information will help you to access particular details about Council's structure and functions, how you can participate in the formulation of our policies and the exercise of functions, the information we hold and will make available to you and the ways in which you can access Council's information.
As a member of the public you have the right to access certain government information.
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, (GIPA) there are four ways you can access information about Council. You can learn more about each method of obtaining information below.
Open Access Information (Mandatory Release)
Certain information must be disclosed by us unless it is not in the public interest to do so. This is referred to as open access information and includes the following:
Proactive Release of Information
In addition to the open access information that we must make available on our website, we also proactively release information with a commitment to providing as much information as possible for free or at the lowest possible cost unless there is an overriding public interest against public disclosure of the information.
Informal Release of Information
If the information you require is not available on the website please contact us. Under the GIPA Act Snowy Valleys Council can choose to release information without the need for a formal access application. Access via this path may still be subject to reasonable conditions such as photocopying charges.
Formal Release of Information
If you are unable to obtain your required information through any of the previous methods, a formal access application may be necessary. With a formal request you have a legally enforceable right to be provided with access unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information or the information is excluded under Schedule 2 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
These requests are generally for:
- Large volumes of information that involves extensive search
- Information which could not be provided informally
- Material that is sensitive in nature and requires careful balancing of public interest considerations
Application and processing fees apply for formal requests. Download the Formal Access Application Form and present it with the application fees to Council Offices.
A valid access application, must:
- Be in writing sent to or lodged at Council
- Clearly indicate that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act
- Be accompanied by any application fees (refer Council’s Fees & Charges Schedule)
- State a postal address in Australia as the address for correspondence in connection with the application
- Include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable the government information applied for to be identified
Council must give the applicant notice of its decision within 20 working days, although this time can be extended under section 57(2) to consult with third parties or retrieve information from archives. Processing charges per hour may also apply as part of deciding the application.
Under the Act, we must consider the privacy and personal interests of any third parties before making a determination as to whether there is an overriding public interest against or for disclosure of the information.
Council is not permitted to make open access information available in any way that would constitute an infringement of copyright.
Council keeps a record of the open access information that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure. The record is to indicate only the general nature of the information concerned.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can anyone access my personal information?
As legislated under the GIPA Act and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1996, only the individual for whom the personal information is about is able to obtain or amend personal information held by council. No personal information will be released without the consent of the individual concerned unless:
- The disclosure is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected;
- Council had no reason to believe that the person concerned would object to the disclosure;
- The person is likely to have been aware, or has been made aware, that information of that kind is usually disclosed to another person or body;
- Council believes that the disclosure is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to the life or health of the person concerned or another person.
Council does realise however, that there may be some instances where the release of personal information may need to be released to a third party. In such cases a Third Party Authority Form can be lodged in person or via post at the Council Offices
What information is Council not allowed to release?
Council may refuse a request for information if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or, if searching for the requested information, would require unreasonable and substantial diversion of the Council’s resources.
For more information on your review rights under the GIPA Act visit the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) website.