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 $28.90 and forwarded to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Banyule City Council
PO Box 94
GREENSBOROUGH VIC 3088
- Please note 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 a detailed description of the documents to enable them to be clearly identified. This should include the approximate date range of the documents and a clear and concise description of the documents. If you are unsure about the necessary information that is required please feel free to contact the Freedom of Information Officer.
- 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. Where consultation is required and additional 15 days processing time is automatically granted under The Act.
Council must consult with individuals and businesses whose name appear in documents that are to be released as part of an FOI request. Consultation is required to gain their views on the disclosure of their personal information and is a requirement of the Act.
In the case where an individual or business objects to the release of their information and the FOI officer makes a decision to release the documents an additional 60 days holding time will be applied to the documents. This gives the objector 60 days to appeal the FOI officer’s decision as required by the Act.
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 2014.
Where it is anticipated that costs will exceed $25, 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.
Examples of documents that may not be released (often called ‘exempt’ documents) 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 30 days of the final decision, by writing to the:
Victorian Information Commissioner
Freedom of Information Reviews
PO Box 24274
MELBOURNE VIC 3001