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Connecting with Council

Access to information

City of Parramatta Council (Council) holds a variety of information that is made available to the community under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

The GIPA Act allows the community to have right of access to information held by Council.

Further information is available in Councils Information Guide.

What is Access to Information?

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Information means any information contained in a record held by Council, this can be in hardcopy or digital format.

The GIPA Act is generally in favour of releasing information subject to Public Interest requirements.

Mandatory Release (Open Access information)

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Under section 18 of the GIPA Act certain information is prescribed as Open Access information. This information must be made available free of charge on Council's website, this includes:

Council’s website should be reviewed in the first instance for Open Access information to see if the information you seek is freely available. The GIPA Act and Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2005 (GIPAR) sets out the minimum information that is freely available in addition to other information made freely available by Council.

Further information is available in Councils Information Guide.

Proactive Release

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Similar to Mandatory release, City of Parramatta will review the information it holds and determine if it should be made available to the community e.g. information that is frequently requested will be made routinely available and released under Mandatory Release. Information will be made available free or at the lowest reasonable cost.

Information held by Council can include:

  • Approved Council Strategy and Plans
  • Community information directories, publications and service
  • Council Reports and/or Research Studies e.g. State of the Environment report, reports against Council’s Delivery Program and results of research studies
  • Councils events information
  • Development Application and relevant associated documents
  • Government submissions
  • Major projects updates
  • Standing and Special Committee Terms of Reference
  • Statement of Fees and Charges

Informal Release

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If the information you seek is not available on City of Parramatta’s website then an Informal Application to access information should be made.

Information that may be applied for under Informal Release may include, for example:

  • information that is not too complex to process
  • information that does not require significant processing time
  • details of a complaint (excluding the complainant details)

An Informal Application for information may take 20 working days or more depending on the information requested.

Information will be made available for free or at minimum charge, i.e. photocopying fees.

For further fees refer to Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.
 

Informal Request for Access to Information

Formal Release

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For information that is not available on Council’s website or the three (3) ways of access listed above. You can submit a formal access application by using Council's online services or submitting a Formal Access application form.

A Formal Access application is a request for information where the information is of a type that includes:

  • information that relates to the personal/business/commercial/financial interests of another party
  • information that must be consulted with a third party
  • confidential information
  • information that requires significant research and will require significant Council resources
  • a complex scope

Processing time for a Formal Access application is 20 working days. This can be extended by 10 to 15 days when information held by Council must be retrieved from a of-site file storage facility or third party consultation is required.

An application or other request for government information is not a valid access application unless it complies with the following requirements:

  1. it must be in writing sent by post to or lodged at an office of the agency concerned or online
  2. it must clearly indicate that it is an access application made under this Act
  3. it must be accompanied by a fee of $30
  4. it must state the name of the applicant and a postal or email address as the address for correspondence in connection with the application
  5. it must include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable the government information applied for to be identified
     

Formal Request for Access to Information

Processing Charges and Fees

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The application fee for a Formal Access Application is $30.

In addition to the application fee, a Formal Access Application may also incur the following charges:

  • processing charges of $30/hour - the processing charge covers the time spent dealing efficiently with the application
  • an Advance Deposit - Council may request an Advance Deposit, advising of the estimated processing charge and giving at least 20 working days for payment to be made. Advance Deposits can be made for up to 50% of the total estimated processing charge

Applicants may be entitled to a 50% reduction in processing charges on the grounds of financial hardship or if the information being applied for is of special benefit to the public generally. The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 states that the financial hardship reduction will apply if the applicant provides evidence that he or she:

  • is the holder of a Pensioner Concession card issued by the Commonwealth that is in force
  • is a full-time student
  • is a non-profit organisation (including a person applying for or on behalf of a not-for-profit organisation)

For further fees refer to Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.

How much will it cost?

Open Access No cost
Proactive Release  No cost or minimum cost i.e. photocopying
Informal Release No cost or minimum cost i.e. photocopying
Formal Access $30 application fee 
$30 per hour processing charge (the application fee counts towards the first hour of processing).

An advance deposit may be requested dependent on information requested.

How to get the information you want

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  1. Search Council’s website to see if information is already available
  2. Check Council’s Councils Information Guide to see if the information is Open Access information
  3. If the information is not routinely available, i.e. not Open Access information, you need to make an Informal Application or Formal Access Application.

Copying of Documents

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Legal processes apply to the copying of documents under the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968. There maybe documents that cannot be copied without the consent of the copyright owner e.g. certain building plans, publications and consultants reports. Copying charges may apply. For further fees refer to Council’s Schedule of Fees and Charges.

Disclosure Log

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The GIPA Act requires Council to keep a public record called its Disclosure Log that records information of Formal Access applications made to Council to which it provides access to that generally may be of interest to the community.
 

Download Disclosure Log

Internal Review

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If you are unhappy with the outcome of your Formal Access application, you can seek an internal review of the decision.

All or some part of the Decision can be reviewed.

An application for internal review must be made within 20 working days after the Decision has been made for a Formal Access application.

An internal review is completed by making a new decision, as if the original decision had not been made. The Internal Review is undertaken by a different City of Parramatta staff member.

A $40 application fee is payable but there are no processing charges. The Internal Review must be completed within 15 working days.


Internal Review Application

Privacy

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If you are applying for information as an individual, you may be providing Council with personal information (such as your name and address) within the meaning of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998.

The supply of information is voluntary. If you do not provide all details requested, Council may be unable to process your application.

The details you provide are stored at Council Offices and are not made publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest to do so under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) and Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW).

Council is collecting this personal information from you in order to identify and process your application. You may make a request for access or amendment to information held by Council. You may also make a request that Council suppress your personal information from being made publicly available.

For further information

You can find more about your right to information by: