Freedom of Information Requests
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982 gives you the right to access information held by state and local government agencies.
What is Freedom of Information
The Act gives you the right to access information held by state and local government agencies. The Act lets you access documents held, including those about your personal affairs. Indigo Shire Council is subject to the Freedom of Information Act and responds to requests directly related to its operations.
The Freedom of Information Act has four basic principles
- To provide a general right to access documents
- To enable individuals to amend incorrect information about them held by government
- To provide rights of review in relation to the previous two functions
- To require agencies to publish certain details about themselves and their functions
Who may use the Freedom of Information form?
Any person may request access to information that is held by Indigo Shire Council.
Do I need to use FOI to access documents?
Many documents are available outside the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. In these instances the request is not necessary under FOI.
Information which you may obtain without an FOI application includes information which is available publicly, such as on a public register and information which is available for purchase.
What information is available?
You have a right to apply for access to documents, held by Indigo Shire Council, provided that it is not information that is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act.
This includes documents created by Indigo Shire Council and documents supplied to Indigo Shire Council by an external organisation or individual.
You can apply for access to documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents.
What information is not available?
Not all information is automatically available in response to a request for it.
The Freedom of Information Act sets out a number of situations in which a Council may refuse a person access to the documents he or she has requested. Documents that are exempt include those that:
- Contain the personal affairs of another person - this includes the name and/or address of somebody who is not the applicant. For example, where an applicant may wish to know the name and address of a complainant, this would be considered to be exempt under Section 33 or the Act.
- Are commercially confidential.
- Would undermine law enforcement.
- Contain information supplied in confidence.
These documents or information are referred to as ‘exempt' documents. In some cases, you may be refused access to an entire document. Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.
Your application may also be refused if it is considered ‘voluminous in nature' in that "it would interfere unreasonably with the operations or performance of the Council".
How to make an FOI Request
All requests must be in writing (by mail, email or fax) and be accompanied by an application fee. Your request must clearly describe the document(s) being sought and must include your name, address, contact number(s) and in what form the documents are required (e.g. copy or inspection).
If your request relates to the correction or amendment of your own personal information held by us, you need to specify how and why you believe the information about you is incorrect, incomplete, misleading or out of date and detail the amendments you wish to make.
The request must contain sufficient information to enable the FOI Officer to identify the information requested. On receipt of the request and the fee, the Freedom of Information application will be processed. Council must notify applicants of a decision on a request within 45 days from receipt of the request.
Where a decision is made to refuse, partially refuse or defer access, the applicant will be notified in writing of the reasons for the refusal and the procedures available to appeal the decision.
It is recommended that you make contact with Council's FOI officer before submitting any request. The FOI officer can be contacted on (03) 5728 8000.
Fees and Charges
The Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations set out the charges that can be levied for the provision of information. These charges are listed on the application form and are outlined below.
If the access charges are likely to exceed $50 you will be notified. A deposit of half of the estimated fees will be required if you wish to proceed with the request.
*Application fees only may be waived in certain circumstances (e.g. for applicants who hold a current health care or pension card - a copy of the card must be submitted with your request). The application fee increases each year on 1 July.
No charges apply to requests for the correction or amendment of your own personal information.
For all queries relating to FOI, please contact the FOI officer on (03) 5728 8000
Where to submit the FOI request
Council prefers all FOI requests to be submitted via email. FOI email submissions can be sent to email@example.com
If you do not have access to email, a letter may be forwarded to Council's physical mail address:
Attention: FOI Officer
Indigo Shire Council
PO Box 28
BEECHWORTH VIC 3747
or via fax: (03) 5728 1676.
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