Access to Council Records
From 1 July 2010, the old Freedom of Information Act 1989 has been replaced by new legislation, the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPAA). GIPAA aims to make more information available to all sectors of the community through open access information and promotes more open and transparent government.
The NSW Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) is an independent body that has been established to promote public awareness and understanding of the new system, and provide advice, assistance and training to government agencies and the public. To assist the public and non-government organisations, the OIC has developed a range of tools and resources including frequently asked questions which can be found online at the OIC website.
You are also welcome to contact the OIC directly:
The GIPA Act is complemented by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIPA), which establishes a right to amend personal information in records held by Councils and other government agencies - new Part 6A.
How do I access my personal information which is held by Council?
If you are looking for access to your personal information kept in Council's records you must apply in writing to Council.
If you are looking for personal information of other members of the public or government information that is not open access information, please complete a Information Request form located on the Application Forms page.
How do I access general Council information?
If you are looking for information about how the Berrigan Shire Council operates, a good starting point is the Agency Information Guide which can be found on the Management Plans, Codes & Reports page.
Many documents are available to the public free of charge in the Documents and / or Application Forms section of our website. If you wish to view requests which have been made to Council, and the information which was provided in response to such requests,via Council's Disclosure Log which is located on Management Plans, Codes & Reports page.
Another source of information is Council's Register of Contracts, which can also be found listed on the Management Plans, Codes & Reports page, this contains information about government contracts which have a value of $150,000 or more.
You can also view Council Policies which are used by Council in connection with the exercise of those functions that affect rights, privileges, obligations, penalties or other detriments, to which members of the public are entitled, eligible, liable.
If the information that you seek is not published on the website, the Council is generally quite willing to provide most information in response to an informal request, alternatively if you are seeking information from Council, which is personal information of other members of the public, you can make a formal Information Request application to access the information. This must be made on the Information Request form located on the Application Forms page, or alternately can be submitted in writing but must:
- clearly indicate it is an access application made under the GIPA Act
- state your postal address in Australia
- be accompanied by the $30 fee
- provide sufficient detail to enable the Information Access Officer to identify the requested information.
You can submit your application in the following forms:
By post, addressed to:
Director Corporate Services
Berigan Shire Council
PO Box 137
BERRIGAN NSW 2712
In person at the Council chambers at 56 Chanter Street Berrigan, Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 5pm
A formal Information Request application is subject to an application fee of $30 which covers the making of the application, together with the first hour of processing time. Council may impose a further processing charge for dealing with an access application at the rate of $30 per hour for each hour of processing time for the application in excess of two hours.
The application fee can be paid by cash, cheque or credit card - at the Customer Service Counter, or by posting a cheque or money order. Please do not send cash by post.
Council's Information Officer must decide an access application and give you a notice of the decision within 20 working days after receiving your application. The decision period can be extended by up to 10 -15 working days if consultation with third party is required or/and records are required to be retrieved from the archive, but you will be notified if this is required.
What if I am not satisfied with the answer I receive?
If you are not satisfied with the decision about your application, you have a right to ask for a review. For instance, you may have been refused access to the whole or part of a document, or perhaps you are concerned that your personal or business information will be disclosed to someone else. You have the options of applying for an internal review or external review.
The internal review request must be lodged with Council within 20 working days of receiving the decision, must be in writing, and accompanied by a $40 fee. Lodgement must be via post or in person, as for a formal access application, above.
A person more senior to the original decision-maker will review your application and inform you of the review decision within 15 working days, including reasons as to why the original decision is affirmed, modified or overturned. If further consultation is required, the review period may be extended by up to 10 working days.
You can also request an external review by sending a review application to the Information Commissioner or Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Office for the Information Commissioner
GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
Ph: (02) 1800 463 626
Administrative Decisions Tribunal
Level 15, 111 Elizabeth Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 92 234 677
Fax: (02) 92 333 283