Open Access Information

Overview

Uralla Shire Council provides open access to information in accordance with relevant legislation including the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) and the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and Regulation 2009.

 Section 6 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) states:

“(1) An agency must make the government information that is its “open access information” publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.

(2) Open access information is to be made publicly available free of charge on a website maintained by the agency (unless to do so would impose unreasonable additional costs on the agency) and can be made publicly available in any other way that the agency considers appropriate.”

The types of Council information defined as Open Access Information are set out under Section 18 of the GIPA Act and Section 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (Regulations).

Open Access Information under section 18 of the GIPA Act includes:

  1. An Information Guide with information about Council’s structure and functions, and listing the type of information that is publicly available (Division 2); 
  2. Council’s policy documents (Division 3);
  3. A disclosure log of formal access applications where in Council’s opinion the information released may be of interest to other members of the public (Division 4);
  4. A register of contracts worth more than $150,000 that Council has with private sector bodies (Division 6); and
  5. Council’s record of Open Access Information not made publicly available on the basis of overriding public interest against disclosure (under Section 6).

What documents are Public Access?

Under the GIPA Act, the following list of documents or categories of documents are available for public access, free of charge:

Information about Council

  • Agency Information Guide(PDF, 744KB) 
  • Annual Reports
  • Annual financial reports
  • Auditor’s report
  • Council Code of Conduct
  • Community Strategic Plan
  • Council’s Land Register
  • Customer requests for service and complaints
  • Committee Terms of Reference, Reports, Agendas and Minutes
  • Community Directories
  • Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) management plan
  • Financial Management Records
  • Register of investments
  • Register of delegations
  • Register of graffiti removal work (in accordance with s13 of the Graffiti Control Act 2008)
  • Register of Councillor voting on planning matters (in accordance with s375A of the Local Government Act)
  • Rates Management Information

Plans and Policies

  • Council Policies
  • Plans of Management for Community Land
  • Environmental Planning Instruments
  • Development Control Plans
  • Contribution Plans.

Information about Development Applications

Development Applications and any associated documents received in relation to a proposed development:

  • Home Warranty Insurance documents;
  • Construction Certificates;
  • Occupation Certificates;
  • Structural Certification documents;
  • Town Planner Reports;
  • Submissions received on Development Applications;
  • Heritage Consultant reports;
  • Tree Inspections Consultant reports; 
  • Acoustic Consultant reports; 
  • Land Contamination Consultant reports; 
  • Records of decisions on Development Applications including decisions on appeals; 
  • Records describing general nature of documents that Council decides to exclude from public view including internal specifications and configurations of residential buildings and commercially sensitive information.

Approvals, Orders and Other Documents

  • Applications for approvals under part 7 of the Local Government Act; Applications for approvals under any other Act and any associated documents received;
  • Records of approvals granted or refused, variation from Council Policies with reasons for 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; and
  • Compulsory Acquisition notices.

Authorised Proactive Release of Information

In addition, Council will make as much other information as possible publicly available in an appropriate manner, including on its website. The information will be available free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. It includes frequently requested information or information of public interest that has been released as a result of other requests.

Informal Release

Access to information which is not available as Mandatory Release or Authorised Proactive Release information may be provided through Informal Release. In this regard, applications should be made to Council by submitting the appropriate ‘Informal Access to Information’ application form(PDF, 55KB). Council will endeavour to release information in response to such a request, subject to any reasonable conditions as Council deems fit to impose.

Note: Copyright law applies to most plans and reports. Council cannot reproduce copies of these documents without written permission of the person or company that created them (section 36 Commonwealth Copyright Act 1969). If possible, Council will attempt to supply details of copyright owners of plans and reports to assist an applicant to obtain the necessary copyright permission. Council will continue to allow “view only” access for the purposes of the GIPA Act (unless the copyright owner has authorised other uses).

Formal Access Applications

Notwithstanding the lodgement of an informal application, Council may require a formal access application to be submitted where the information sought:

  • 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 that requires consultation; or
  • Would involve an unreasonable amount of time and resources to produce.

To make a formal request for access to information a ‘Formal Access Information’ application form(PDF, 149KB) should be completed. In accordance with the GIPA Act, an application fee of $30.00 is payable, and additional processing charges may be applicable. An acknowledgement of such application will be provided by Council within five working days.

Note: Any fees for photocopies of documents provided under the GIPA Act are listed in Council’s adopted Schedule of Fees and Charges.

Copies of documents provided are given for information purposes only and are provided by Council to meet its requirements under relevant legislation. Copyright laws still apply to each document. The copyright owner’s consent is required if any part of a copyright document is used for any other purpose.

Where information is released to an applicant under a formal access application and Council considers that it will be of interest to other members of the public, Council will provide details of the information in a disclosure log for inspection by the public.