Government Information Public Access (GIPA)

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.

  1. Open Access Information (Mandatory Release)
  2. Proactive Release of Information
  3. Informal Release of Information
  4. Formal Release of Information

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:

  • Council Policy Documents
  • Annual Reports
  • Council Management Plans
  • Council Minutes and Agendas
  • Information about Council
  • Long Term Financial Plans
  • Development Application Consents

Council must make open access information available on our website 

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.

Click here to check out our Council News section 

Informal Release of Information

Under the GIPA Act  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.

Go to our Forms & Policies page to download the Informal Access Application Form  

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 

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.

Application and processing fees apply for formal requests.  Go to our Forms & Policies page to download the Formal Access Application Form and present it with the application fees to Council Offices.  

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 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.


Disclosure Log

Council’s Disclosure Log is a record of information about formal Access Applications to Council that would be of interest to other members of the public, in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (“GIPA Act”).

Details are entered into the Disclosure Log when the access application has been decided and any review time limits have expired. Updates will be posted on our website every six months.

Section 6(5) Record

The Section 6(5) Record sets out the records of open access where Council has determined to redact information on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Under section 6(5) of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), Council is required to maintain a record of open access information that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Open access information is information that must be made publicly available. It includes Council’s policies, guidelines and the disclosure log of access applications.

GIPA-SVC-Section-6.5-Record-as-of-15-February-2024.(PDF, 191KB)