Council >> Information Held by Council

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.

Click here to access GIPA Fact Sheet.

How does Council give out information?

Search our Website to see if the information is freely available

Under the GIPA Act, Council must release certain information (known as ‘open access information’) unless there is an overriding public interest against doing so. Generally, open access information must be made publicly available, free of charge, and on Council's website. Council can also make open access information available in other ways (for example, in hard copy or by viewing at Council offices). Council is not required to release all information on its website, but a lot of information should be available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, or it would be unreasonably costly for Council to publish the information on its website.  If you are unable to locate the information you require on Council's website, contact Council's Customer Service team either in person at 1 Benerembah Street Griffith or by phoning 6962 8100 during Council office hours 8.15 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday.

Make an informal request

Access to information which is not otherwise made readily available by Council may be provided through informal release. As with open access information, Council is authorised to make publicly available any information it holds unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Application should be made to Council by submitting an informal access application form, available below. Please note that any photocopying or printing required will incur a fee in accordance with Council's adopted Fees & Charges.

Even if you lodge an informal access application form, Council may require a formal access application form to be submitted in certain circumstances. This is generally the case if the information being sought:

  • is not available via proactive or informal release, and
  • is of a sensitive nature that requires careful weighing of the considerations in favour of and against disclosure, or
  • contains personal or confidential information about a third party which may require consultation, or
  • may involve a substantial amount of time and resources to produce.

Click here to access Council's Informal Access Application. 

Make a formal GIPA request

If you can’t get the information any other way, you can make a formal ‘access application’. Application can be made to Council by submitting the formal access application form, available below, accompanied by the application fee of $30. Additional processing charges of $30/hour will generally apply (subject to a discount of 50% in limited circumstances as detailed on the application form). Formal access applications are required to be decided within 20 working days, with an extension of up to 10 working days available to Council where consultation with another person is required or records are required to be retrieved from a records archive. If both of these circumstances apply to a particular application, the decision period can be extended by a maximum of 15 working days.

Click here to access Council's Formal Access Application.

Agency Information Guide

Under the GIPA Act, Council must have an Agency Information Guide. 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.

Privacy

Council is also required to fulfil certain obligations for the protection of personal information, and for the protection of the privacy of individuals generally, under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. Council’s Privacy Management Plan provides further information about how Council meets these obligations.

Copyright

There are certain circumstances in which Council cannot lawfully provide copies of information and must make such information available by inspection only. This is particularly relevant where information is subject to copyright. Copies of documents containing copyrighted information can only be provided to members of the public with the written consent of the copyright owner, or in other limited circumstances as provided by the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). As such, without written consent or a lawful exception, Council makes copyrighted information available to members of the public by inspection only.

Council will (wherever practical) provide information about the copyright owner to members of the public so that they may make their own enquiries with the copyright owner and request that Council be provided with written consent to provide copies of documents containing copyrighted information. Members of the public should be aware that Council's ability to provide information about copyright owners may be limited by the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, therefore Council cannot guarantee that it will be able to provide such information in all circumstances. 

What information is publicly available?

The following information can be obtained by contacting Council's Customer Service team:
  • Disclosures by Councillors and Designated Persons Returns;
  • Land Register;
  • Register of Investments;
  • Register of Delegations;
  • Register of Graffiti Removal Works;
  • Council's Specific Plans of Management;
  • Applications for approval under Part 1 or Chapter 7 in the Local Government Act;
  • Applications for approval under any other Act and any associated documents received;
  • Records of approvals granted or refused, any variation from Council Policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals;
  • Orders given under Part 2 of Chapter 7 of the Local Government Act, and any reasons given under section 136 of the Local Government Act;
  • Orders given under the authority of any other Act,
  • Records of Building Certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;
  • Plans proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council;
  • Compulsory Acquisition Notices; 
  • Leases and Licenses for use of Public Land classified as Community Land,
  • Performance improvement orders issued to Council.

Information About Development Applications

The following information relating to development applications is also prescribed as open access according to the GIPA Act and can be obtained by contacting Council's Customer Service team:
  • Home warranty insurance;
  • Construction certificates;
  • Occupation certificates;
  • Structural certification documents;
  • Town planner reports;
  • Submissions received on development applications;
  • Heritage consultant reports;
  • Tree inspection consultant reports;
  • Acoustic consultant reports;
  • Land contamination reports
  • Records of decisions made on development applications on or after 1 July 2010 on development applications (including decisions made on appeal),
  • A record that describes the general nature of the documents that the local authority decides are not to be made publicly available on the basis of the following exception:
    • This does not apply to so much of the information about development applications as consists of:
      • the plans and specifications for any residential parts of a proposed building, other than plans that merely show its height and its external configuration in relation to the site on which it is proposed to be erected, or
      • commercial information, if the information would be likely to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it or to reveal a trade secret, or
      • development applications made before 1 July 2010 and any associated documents received in relation to the application.
  • Council must keep the record that describes the general nature of the documents that Council decides are not to be made publicly available on the basis of the above exception.

Council's GIPA Annual Reports

For further details on the GIPA legislation the Information and Privacy Commission website at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au