Your access to information

1. Overview

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, there is a preference for the disclosure of government information, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

The law is designed to:

  • create rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government
  • encourage government agencies to proactively release government information.

You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access government information from the NSW Information and Privacy Commission on 1800 472 679 or from its website at.

2. How to find Council information

Step 1: Search Bellingen Shire Council’s website to see if the information you’re looking for is already available.

Step 2: Request the information by phoning Council’s Customer Service centre on 02 6655 7300 or completing a Report an Issue form. If we can informally release the information, we will do so.

Step 3: For access to some information, we will ask you to complete a GIPA Act Access Application form(PDF, 2MB). This is usually required if the information you seek concerns other people and Council must consult them first. 

3. How the GIPA Act works

The GIPA Act provides you with four ways to access Council information.

Open access information

Open access information is available free of charge on our website. Council must release this information unless it is not in the public interest to do so. Open access information includes:

All other information

We must proactively release as much other information as possible for free or at the lowest possible cost, as long as it is in the public interest.

Informal release

You can informally apply to access any Council information that is not already publicly available. We will provide the information if it is in the public interest and reasonable conditions are met. For example, you may access information about yourself but not someone else. Informal GIPA Act Access Application Form(PDF, 2MB)

Formal release

You will need to make a formal application if the information you are seeking involves or is likely to involve:

  • information about a third party, whether an individual or a business
  • confidential information
  • commercial-in-confidence considerations
  • current or proposed legal action
  • a substantial investment of Council time or resources to meet your request

To request information of this kind, please complete a GIPA Act Access Application form(PDF, 2MB)

4. Fees

There is a GIPA application fee of $30 for formal information requests.

If you have a Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card (TPI and War Widows), the processing fee is reduced by 50% and is therefore $15 an hour.

Where the information you have requested is identified as being in the public interest, the processing fee is reduced by 50% and is therefore $15 an hour.

You may be asked to pay other fees depending on the information you have requested and the time it will take to process your request. For more information about fees, see Council's Schedule of Fees and Charges(PDF, 16MB)

5. Copyright

Under the Copyright Act 1968, we cannot provide copies of any documents which may be subject to copyright without the express written consent of the copyright owner.

6. Review of a decision

If you are unhappy with Council’s decision about your information request, you can ask for a review of the decision by completing a GIPA Act Internal Review Application(PDF, 138KB)

7. More information

You can learn more about your right to Council information on the Information and Privacy Commission website