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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Access to Information (GIPA)

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA ACT)

The aim of the GIPA Act is to provide an open, accountable, fair and effective government. This means that government agencies in NSW are being required to make more information freely available and more processes and documents of Government will be available following an application process.

The GIPA Act applies to all NSW government agencies, including local and county Councils. It requires proactive information disclosure through mandatory publication and authorised release of open 'access information’. The Act also provides for disclosure in response to informal requests and a revised system of response to formal access applications.

Council's Policy

Council's Access to Information Policy details Council’s position on the GIPA Act and the procedures provide the specific steps that are to be followed in order to implement the policy. view policies and procedures »»»

How do I access information?

There are four ways to access Council information:

  • Mandatory release
    You can search our website. Certain information must be disclosed on Council website, free of charge. This includes our policy documents, current publication guide, disclosure log and register of government contracts.
  • Proactive release
    You can ask us what information we will make available to the public, in addition to the information contained on our website. We are encouraged to release as much government information as possible, in an appropriate way and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost).
  • Informal request
    You can ask for specific information by contacting Council's Customer Service Team on 6499 2222. We are encouraged to release information without the need for a formal access application.
  • Formal application:
    This is the last resort, if you haven’t been able to get the information you need in any other way. You can formally request specific information by completing the Access to Information application form.

Using the Publications Matrix, locate the type of information that you are looking for to see how that information will be available.

Who can ask for information?

Anyone can ask for Council information including:

  • members of the public wanting to get access to general information
  • individuals wanting to know what information is held about them in a file
  • organisations helping people access their information
  • academics doing research
  • special interest groups seeking information
  • media agencies obtaining information for stories/reports
  • government agencies seeking information from another government agency.

Why do people request information held by government?

People/organisations/groups/agencies request information for a variety of reasons including to:

  • obtain personal information
  • support a legal case
  • conduct research and analysis
  • publish reports and media stories
  • ensure transparent and accountable government.

Is there any information that cannot be given out?

Sometimes there is an overriding public interest against disclosing certain information. Generally, Council must not publish and must refuse requests to disclose information in the 12 categories listed. Formal applications for ‘excluded information’ are invalid under the Act.

  • Information subject to an overriding secrecy law (26 specifically names Acts)
  • Cabinet information
  • Executive Council information
  • Information subject to the direction or order of a court or other body with the power to receive evidence on oath, or to Parliamentary privilege
  • Information subject to legal professional privilege
  • ‘Excluded information’ (judicial and prosecutorial information, information about complaints handling and investigative functions, competitive and market sensitive information, information in relation to specific functions about ranking and assessment of students completing the HSC)
  • Documents affecting law enforcement and public safety
  • Specific information relating to transport safety
  • Specific information in relation to adoption procedures and records
  • Specific reports concerning the care and protection of children
  • Information contained in the Register of Interests kept in relation to the Ministerial Code of Conduct
  • Specific information relating to Aboriginal and environmental heritage.

Further information

Contact the Office of the Information Commissioner at http://www.oaic.gov.au/ or phone 1800 194 210.

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