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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act provides individuals and organisations with a general right of access to information held by the Council. It also provides a right of appeal in relation to decisions to refuse access to information made to the Council regarding Freedom of Information Requests.

How to make a request for information

To make a request for a Council document under the Freedom of Information Act you should place your request in writing using the FOI request form. The request should be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of $28.40 and forwarded to:

Freedom of Information Officer 
Banyule City Council 
PO Box 94 
GREENSBOROUGH  VIC  3088

Important

  • Be aware that some Council information is freely available and you may find the information you require can be obtained without making a Freedom of Information request. If in doubt, please speak to the Freedom of Information Officer about your request before lodging the application form and fee.
  • All requests for information should contain sufficient details concerning the relevant documents to enable them to be identified. This should include the approximate date range of the documents sought if this is known. If you are unsure about the necessary information sufficient to identify the documents requested, the Freedom of Information Officer will assist you.
  • If the information you seek relates to a planning application, speak to the planning department before lodging a request. Also be aware that because of copyright laws Council cannot release development plans unless the owner of the plans (usually the architect) has authorised their release.

The Freedom of Information Officer has 30 days from the date they receive a valid request to respond to the applicant.

The application fee is not refundable so it is important to be sure that Council has the documents or information that you are requesting. Also be aware that some Council information is freely available and you may find the information you require can be obtained without making a Freedom of Information request. If in doubt, please speak to the Freedom of Information Officer about your request before lodging the application form and fee.

All requests for information should contain sufficient details concerning the relevant documents to enable them to be identified. This should include the approximate date range of the documents sought if this is known. If you are unsure about the necessary information sufficient to identify the documents requested, the Freedom of Information Officer will assist you.

If the information you seek relates to a planning application, speak to the planning department before lodging a request. Also be aware that because of copyright laws Council cannot release development plans unless the owner of the plans (usually the architect) has authorised their release.

The Freedom of Information Officer has 30 days from the date they receive a valid request to respond to the applicant.

Other Costs

Where an application for access is granted, costs will be incurred by the applicant (in addition to the application fee). These costs will relate to, amongst other things:

  • search fees
  • supervision charges
  • photocopying charges
  • providing access in a form other than a photocopy

The costs for these charges are governed by the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 1993.

Where it is anticipated that costs will exceed $50, the applicant will be advised and requested to submit a deposit. The applicant will also be asked if they wish to continue with the request. At this point, the applicant also has the right (of which they will be informed) to request a review of the charges.

Refusal of a Request

Not all information is automatically available.

The Freedom of Information Act allows an agency to refuse access to certain documents. These documents are often called 'exempt' documents.

Examples of documents that may not be released include:

  • law enforcement documents
  • confidential matters considered by Council
  • some internal working documents
  • documents covered by legal professional privilege such as legal advice
  • documents containing personal information about other people
  • documents containing "Commercial in-confidence" information or trade secrets
  • information obtained in confidence
  • personal details of others

What if my Freedom of Information application is refused?

If you are refused access to documents, or are not satisfied with the action or decision taken by the Freedom of Information Officer you have a right to apply for a review of your original request. The request for a review must be done within 28 days, by writing to the:

Information Commissioner - Reviews
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274 
MELBOURNE  VIC  3001

(e) enquiries@foicommissioner.com.au

For additional information, visit the Department of Justice’s Freedom of Information website.

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