Access to Information
From 1 July 2010 all applications for information and documents will be assessed under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA). The Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) and Chapter 4, Part 2 of the Local Government Act 1993 have been abolished as at 1 July 2010.
What is GIPA and Open Access Information
Information held by Council
In NSW, you have a right to access most government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (the ‘GIPA Act’), unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
What is the GIPA Act and what is government information?
The GIPA Act sets out the rules about how you can access government information from NSW government agencies. Government information means any information contained in a record held by a NSW government agency. Government information can include records and data about how a government agency works, or your own personal information that is held by a government agency. Importantly, there is a presumption in favour of releasing government information. However, some government information is effectively excluded from access under the GIPA Act.
Open access information includes the following:
Agencies are under a mandatory obligation to publish ‘open access information’ unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Open access information must be published on the agency’s website, free of charge, unless to do so would impose unreasonable additional costs to the agency.
- Under the GIPA Act, Council must have an Agency Information Guide (see Council Publications). By describing Council’s functions, responsibilities and organisational structure, the Agency Information Guide aims to promote a better understanding of Council’s work in the community and inform members of the public about the ways in which the community can participate in Council’s decision-making processes. It also details the various types of information held by Council and how that information can be accessed.
- Information about the agency contained in any document tabled in parliament by or on behalf of the agency (other than any document tabled by order of either House of Parliament)
- Policy documents: Council Policies
- Disclosure Log of access applications
- The agency’s record of the open access information (if any) that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure: Disclosure log of refusal due to overriding public interest
- Contracts Register
- Contracts Register 2023
Disclosure of Interest Returns
Disclosure of Interest Returns
The Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (2018) requires a councillor or a designated person to complete and lodge with the general manager a return disclosing his or her pecuniary interests. Designated persons include the General Manager; Senior Staff; and Staff, delegates of Council or members of committees who Council identify as exercising functions that could give rise to a conflict of interest.
Councillors and delegated persons must submit a return of interest within three months of being elected or becoming a designated person and must submit a new return annually. If at any time a Councillor or designated person becomes aware of any new interests that need to be disclosed, a new return must be submitted.
These returns are proactively released here as open access information furthering openness, transparency and accountability in local government. In releasing this information Council has regard to Section 6(4) of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 Act which provides for consideration in favour of disclosure of a certain piece of information weighed in a balancing test as to whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Council applies this public interest test when making information publicly available and, on occasions, certain types of information are redacted.
Disclosure of Interest returns contain information that is personal information. On a case by case basis consideration is given to whether any personal information therein is withheld and therefore redacted from the published version of the return. Following submission of a return to the General Manager, each return is considered in accordance with the public interest test and redacted if required prior to publishing on Council’s website.
How to Request Information
Ways in which the public can access government information
The GIPA Act:
Access to government information may be exercised in four ways:
1. Mandatory release:
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), Council is required to make the government information that is deemed open access information publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.
Open access information is made publicly available free of charge on Council’s website and can be made publicly available in any other way that Council considers appropriate.
Where Council has determined that publishing the information online would impose unreasonable additional demands on Council, access to that information can requested by contacting Council.
- Council’s Agency Information Guide
- Disclosure Log
- Register of Council contracts
- Council meeting agendas and minutes
- Annual Financial Reports
- Annual Report
- Community Strategic Plan
- Delivery Program and Operational Plan
- Resourcing Strategy
- Code of Meeting Practice
- Equal Employment Opportunity Management Plan
- Land Register
- Register of Declarations
- Register of Graffiti Removal Work
- Returns of interests of Councillors and Designated Persons
- Register of voting on Planning Matters
- Environmental Planning Instruments
- Development Control Plans
- Contribution Plans
- Plans of Management for Community Land
2. Authorise proactive release:
In addition to open access information, Council is also authorised to make government information that it holds proactively available to the public unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. This is a discretionary authority to release information in any manner considered appropriate, free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. The proactive release of information also includes information that Council has decided is in the public interest to make available without imposing additional costs on Council.
Council has proactively released the below information, if you would like to access this information please contact Council.
- GIPA Annual Report
- Annual report on its food regulatory information
- Gifts and Benefits Register
- Record of Councillor Attendance at Council meetings
- Record of Councillor Expense Claims
- Register of Declarations of Interest by Councillors
- Register of Declarations of Interest by Staff
Access to Council’s open access information may be obtained via the Council website or by contacting Council’s Customer Service area between 8.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday. If the documents you require are not available on the website please email Council or contact Council’s Customer Service area or Council’s Public Officer.
3. Informal access applications
Other information held by Council is authorised to be release in response to an informal request, subject to any reasonable conditions that Council may wish to impose. This may include information not currently available on Council’s website or a request for an individual’s own personal information. The preferred method of lodging an informal request is through Council’s Customer Services team.
Click here to access Council’s Informal Access Application.
4. Formal access applications
In some limited circumstance, people seeking access to government information will need to submit a formal request. Formal access requests must be made for information that is restricted due to commercial confidence, legal privilege, security or protection of privacy. If you are unsure whether the information you seek will need a formal request, you may submit an informal request. We will review the request and advise you if a formal application is needed.
Click here to download a formal GIPA Application Form (if you cannot download this form you may obtain a form from Council’s Customer Service Team) and, present the completed form and the appropriate fee to Council’s Customer Service Team.
To learn more about your rights to accessing government information, visit the IPC website at http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au/ or call 1800 463 626 between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).
Reasons We May Refuse to Provide Information
A request for information may be refused if:
- There is an overriding public interest against disclosing the information.
- The information is exempt.
- Searching for the requested information would require unreasonable and substantial diversion of our staff resources.
Making an Appeal
If your decision for information is refused, you can appeal the decision. There are three options:
Apply to us for an internal review
- An internal review is not completed by the original decision maker; it is completed by someone at the same level of seniority or higher.
- A fee of $40 is payable for an internal review.
- You have 20 working days from receiving notice of a decision, to ask for an internal review.
- Complete a GIPA Internal Review Form to apply for an internal review.
Ask for a review by the Information Commissioner
- You can request this if you aren’t satisfied with the internal review, or don’t want one.
- You need to apply for this review within 40 working days from when your formal request was denied.
- Contact the Information Commissioner on 1800 472 679 (free call) or visit Information and Privacy Commission website.
Apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an Administrative Review
- If you’ve already had a review by the Information Commissioner, and your appeal was denied, your application must be made within 20 working days from being notified of your denied request.
- If you haven’t had a review by the Information Commissioner, the application must be made within 40 working days from when your original request was denied.
- Please refer to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal website.
How we manage personal and health information
- Legislation regulates the collection, storage, use and disclosure of personal information
- You have the right to access your personal information we hold
What is personal information?
Personal information relates to individuals and includes any information or opinion about them. It can include a name, address, phone number, email address or any information from which a person’s identity can be reasonably ascertained.
What is not personal information?
Information is not protected under law if it:
- Relates to someone’s suitability for public sector employment
- Is about people who have been dead for more than 30 years
- Relates to some types of law enforcement and investigation activities
- Is allowed to be disclosed under other legislation
Your personal information
Any personal information you provide to us will be used for the purpose for which it was collected. It may also be used for other reasonable Wentworth Shire Council purposes.
You have the right to access any of your personal information that we hold, without excessive delay or expense.
You also have a right to request to have your personal information amended so that it is accurate and up to date.
Our Privacy Management Plan
Section 33 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) requires agencies to have a privacy management plan (plan). A plan sets out an agency’s commitment to respecting the privacy rights of clients, employees and members of the public. Wentworth Shire Council’s Privacy Management Plan can be accessed on the Council website under Council Publications. Our plan also explains our practices and procedures in handling personal information under the PPIP Act and health information under the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIP Act).
If you have any queries about privacy or wish to access or correct your personal information please contact us.
A data breach occurs when information held by Council is subject to unauthorised access, unauthorised disclosure, or is lost in circumstances where the loss is likely to result in unauthorised access or unauthorised disclosure.
An ‘eligible data breach’ is a data breach of personal information held by Council as described above and a reasonable person would conclude that the access or disclosure of that personal information would be likely to result in serious harm to an individual to whom the information relates.
Our Data Breach Policy
When a data breach occurs, Council will immediately make all reasonable efforts to contain the breach and try to reduce the likelihood that an individual will experience serious harm. Council’s Data Breach Policy sets out how Council will respond to data breaches involving personal information. The policy outlines how Council will comply with the Mandatory Notification Data Breach (MNDB) Scheme set out in the PPIP Act, including providing mandatory notification of eligible data breaches to affected individuals and the Privacy Commissioner. This Policy can be accessed here.
A public notification is required when it is not reasonably practicable to directly notify any or all of the individuals affected by the breach.
Council is required to record and publish a Public Notification Register that lists the public notifications made by Council of eligible data breaches. Council will retain notifications on the register for a period of 12 months.
There have been no notifications made in the previous 12 months.
Information and Privacy Commission
The Information and Privacy Commissioner provides further information about privacy.
Responsibility for information on this site
Wentworth Shire Council makes no guarantee as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this website. All of the material on this site is for information and communication purposes only and does not constitute legal or any other advice upon which you can rely. Whilst Wentworth Shire Council endeavours to ensure that this information provided on the website is accurate and complete, it does not guarantee that the information is current, complete or correct and accepts no responsibility in these respects.
Council’s responsibility to release information protected by Copyright.
Wentworth Shire Council provides access to information in accordance with the requirements of the GIPA Act, however legal Copyright provisions currently apply.
Information held on Council’s website is intended for general use only. Information and files may be downloaded, stored in cache, displayed and printed. Content must not be modified, copied, reproduced, or republished without the consent of Wentworth Shire Council.
Where Council is not the copyright owner of these documents, authority from the document owner may be necessary before Council can release copies of documents to members of the public. An example of this would be property plans and property reports lodged as part of a DA application.