Access to information - Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

On 1 July 2010 new right to information legislation came into effect, the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA), repealing and replacing the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) (FOI Act).

As part of this reform, the GIPA Act:

  • upholds rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government;
  • maintains there is a presumption in favour of the disclosure of government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure;
  • authorises and encourages government agencies to proactively release government information;
  • makes it possible for government agencies to release information informally, without the need to submit a formal access application;
  • requires that a government agency must release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure;
  • provides applicants with review rights around information access decisions.

Release of information by Council under the GIPA Act will be determined by the public interest test. As provided by section 13 of the Act, there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information if (and only if) there are public interest considerations against disclosure and, on balance, those considerations outweigh the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure.

You can find out more about right to information, the public interest test and the ways to access government information under the GIPA Act on the NSW Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website. The IPC is an independent statutory authority responsible for overseeing the provisions of the GIPA Act. Please note the IPC does not and is unable to provide legal advice to stakeholders.

Accessing Council Information

There are four ways in which government information is available under the GIPA Act:

1. Mandatory release:

Certain information, referred to as open access information, must be published on the agency's website, free of charge.

2. Proactive release:

Beyond mandatory release, agencies are encouraged (and authorised) to release as much government information as possible. Under section 7(3) of the GIPA Act, Council is required to review its proactive release program at least every 12 months, to identify any information we hold that should in the public interest be made publicly available.

3. Informal request:

Agencies are encouraged to informally release information, by excusing the need for a formal application (and fee) to be submitted.

Making an Informal Application

4. Formal application:

This is the last resort if information is not accessible in any of the above 3 ways. Decisions made in response to formal applications can be reviewed.

Making a Formal Application

How can I get council information?

Open access information

Council is required to publish the following open access information under section 18 of the GIPA Act: 

Council is required to publish the following additional open access information under Schedule 1 to the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Regulation):

Council Code of Conduct - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Code of Meeting Practice - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Annual Reports - (current and previous available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Annual Financial Reports (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Auditors Reports - (available here or by attending Council during business hours as part of Annual Financial Reports)

Management Plan - (previous available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Financial Management Plan (previous available here or by attending Council during business hours)

EEO Management Plan - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Councillors - Payment and Expenses and Provision of Facilities Policy  - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Returns of the interests of Councillors, designated persons and delegates (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Council Meeting Business Papers (available here or by attending Council during business hours excluding Closed Meetings)

Council Meeting Minutes (available here or by attending Council during business hours but restricted in the case of Closed Meetings to the resolutions of the meeting)

Land Register (information available from Customer Service)

Register of Investments (reported to Council on a monthly basis - see business papers)

Register of Delegations (information available from Customer Service)

Register of Graffiti Removal (Section 13 Graffiti Control Act 2008) (information available from Customer Service)

Register of Current Declarations of Disclosures of Political Donations to Councillors  (kept in accordance with sections 328A of the LGA)

Register of Voting on Planning Matters (kept in accordance with Section 375A of the LGA)

Building Certificate Records - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Building Application/Approval Records - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Construction Certificate Application/Approval Records - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Development Application/Approval Records - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Plans of Land proposed to be Compulsorily Acquired by Council - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Property Transfer Register - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Comprehensive State of the Environment Report 2009 - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Community Strategic Plan - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Delivery Program - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Operational Plan - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Resourcing Strategy - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Plans and Policies

Local Approvals Policies - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Plans of Management Community Land - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

  •             Parks
  •             Sportsgrounds
  •             General Community Use Land
  •             Pilchers Reserve

Council Approved Policies - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Dungog Shire Local Environmental Plans  - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Shire Wide Development Control Plan No. 1 - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Section 94 Contributions Plan 2001 - (available by attending Council during business hours)

Shire-wide Section 94 Contributions Plan No. 1 2004 (available her or by attending Council during business hours)

Dungog Shire Rural Strategy 2003 (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Dungog Land Use Strategy 2010 - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Dungog Situation Analysis - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Local Disaster Plan - (Can be viewed here or by attending council during business hours)

Privacy Management Plan - (Can be viewed here or by attending council during business hours)

Tourism Development Strategy (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Roadside Environment Management Plan - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Access Routes Development Study - (available here or by attending Council during business hours)

Register of Councillor Voting on Planning Matters - (Can be viewed by attending council during business hours)

Where can I get more information about right to information?

  • Go to www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
  • Email: ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au
  • Mail: GPO Box 7011, Sydney NSW 2001
  • Visit Level 11, 1 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  • Call 1800 472 679) between 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).