The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) commenced on 1 July 2010 and created rights to information which were designed to meet the community’s expectations of more open and transparent government. The GIPA Act encourages the routine and proactive release of government information, including information held by providers of goods and services contracted by government agencies.
Open access information
- The information guide
- Access to Council’s plans, policies and reports and other publications
- A register of Council contracts
Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009
The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 prescribes additional open access information which councils must make publicly available. A range of information is available on Council’s website, at Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head, or by contacting the Right to Information Officer on 02 6660 0300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure of Interest Returns for councillors and designated persons are available for public inspection free of charge at Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head during ordinary business hours.
Informal access requests
Open access information which Council is not able to make available on the website can be accessed by making a request in writing or by completing a Request to review Building and Development Records form. There is no charge for this request, however, appropriate photocopying charges of obtained copies of information will apply as per Council’s current Revenue Policy.
The public will also be offered the opportunity to inspect and obtain copies of the information from Council’s Customer Service Centres in Casino and Evans Head between the hours of 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Formal access requests
Access to other Council information, such as information containing personal information of another party or commercial information, can be applied for by completing a Formal Access Application Form.
The applicant will be required to pay an application fee of $30 and may be required to pay an additional charge for processing the application at $30/hour.
Further information may be obtained by contacting Council’s Right to Information Officer on 02 6600 300.
Agency information guide
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the GIPA Act) requires Council to maintain an information guide.
The information guide:
- describes the structure and functions of Council;
- describes the ways in which the functions (including, in particular, the decision-making functions) of Council affect members of the public;
- specifies any arrangements which exist to enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of Council’s policy and the exercise of Council’s functions;
- identifies the various kinds of government information held by Council;
- identifies the kinds of government information held by Council which Council makes (or will make) publicly available;
- specifies the manner in which Council makes (or will make) government information publicly available; and
- identifies the kinds of information which are (or will be) made publicly available free of charge and those kinds for which a charge is (or will be) imposed.
GIPA disclosure log
A disclosure log is a list of documents released following a decision about an application for access made under the GIPA Act 2009.
What is the purpose of a disclosure log?
Disclosure logs provide access to information for people who want the same or similar information as previous applicants, and would otherwise have to make formal access applications. A disclosure log also helps Council to identify information which could be proactively released.
What information is required to be kept in the disclosure log?
The disclosure log must contain the following details:
- the date the access application was decided;
- a description of the information provided; and
- whether any of the information is now publicly available and, if so, how it can be accessed.
The disclosure log does not have to include the following information:
- information on applications for personal information regarding the applicant; or
- information about applications where factors involving the applicant were a consideration in whether or not the disclosure of the information was in the public interest.
When is information entered into the disclosure log?
Details are entered into the disclosure log when the access application has been decided, and any review time limits have expired.
Richmond Valley Council’s disclosure log is regularly updated following determination of any formal access applications received by Council for information that may be of interest to members of the public.
General information about the GIPA Act is available by calling the Office of the Information Commissioner on free call 1800 194 210 or at its website.