Access to Information

 Introduction

Cowra Council’s public access policy is governed by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) which replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW)

The Act:

  • created new rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more transparent and accountable government;
  • means State and Local Government agencies are releasing to the public more information than ever.

More information concerning your right to information and how to access NSW Government information can be found on the Information and Privacy Commission website: http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au

Accessing Council Information 

Cowra Council currently provides a range of information under the GIPA Act and is progressively adding more information to our website. Currently, the below documents are available under Schedule 1 Part 2 Section 1 (1) of the Government Information Public Access Regulations 2009. To make a GIPA Application to Council, please use the Application - Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

 

Open Access Information

Cowra Shire Council is committed to providing the community with open and transparent access to information about our services, activities and business operations on its website, where possible. 

The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2018 was made on 31 August 2018. The new Regulation repeals and replaces the previous Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009.

The new Regulation contains an amendment to the additional open access information for local government under Schedule 1 Clause 3 in relation to development applications.

From 31 August 2018 the following information no longer falls within the definition of open access information for local government:

  • development applications made before 1 July 2010;
  • in relation to a development application received before 1 July 2010, any associated documents which were received before, on or after 1 July 2010; and
  • the records of decisions, including decisions on appeal, on development applications made before 1 July 2010.

What does this mean?

If you want access to a development application received, or records of decisions made, on or after 1 July 2010 you should apply informally as they continue to be OPEN ACCESS information. 

Development applications and decisions made before 1 July 2010 are still 'government information' but you will need to apply formally via an access application. As with any other access application, we will apply the public interest test under Part 2 Division 2 of the GIPA Act when making a decision to release, or refuse access to information in relation to development applications.

Plans, Copyright & Privacy

Some information that is considered ‘open access’ may be subject to copyright. Information that is subject to copyright may be viewed however copies may not be provided. If you require copies (hard copy or email) you will need to gain written permission from the copyright owner/architect.  Their contact details will be provided to you upon request.  Council must also take into account whether the privacy of any other party is affected by a particular request. A scanned document may be provided and therefore Copyright will be passed on to any person who reproduces this document at their own risk.


Proactive Release Information

Council may choose to place additional information on its website – this is called ‘Additional Proactive Release of Information’.  It is Council’s intent to make available on its website as much information as possible that would be of interest to the general public.

Informal Release of Information Requests

An application for information that is not readily available on Council’s website may be submitted using the Informal Access applicaton Form (available soon)

Typically information requested informally may include:

  • Development consents
  • Planner reports
  • Application forms
  • Building certificates
  • Objection letter(s) to development applications
  • Development Applications, Building Applications or Construction Certificate Plans


Formal Release of Information Requests

If the information you are seeking is not available in any of the ways outlined above, you will probably need to apply for a Formal Access Application Form 

Examples of the types of information requested formally may include:

  • Information that relates to a third party who must be consulted
  • Information that relates to a third party business that must be consulted
  • Information that is sensitive in nature and requires careful balancing of public interest considerations
  • Information previously refused access through the informal process
  • Large volumes of information that involve an extensive search

Formal Access Fees

Application processing fees apply for Formal applications.

How to apply

Note: If your application is seeking personal information, proof of identity is required at the time of applying.


Review of a Decision

If you are refused access to information requested Formally, you are entitled to a review.

 

GIPA Disclosure Log

A Disclosure Log is a record containing details of Government information already released under GIPA Act. A Disclosure Log is part of the open access information that Cowra Council is required to make publicly available.

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 that could be proactively released.

Click here for the current Disclosure Log