Accessing Council Information - GIPAA

View from Warragamba Lookout

Council's Access to Information Guidelines sets out the ways in which government information is available under the GIPA Act and what steps you need to take to access this information.

A summary of this information is listed below:

Open Access Information

Wollondilly Shire Council is committed to providing the community with open and transparent access to information about our services, activities and business operations on its website, where possible. 

The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2018 was made on 31 August 2018. The new Regulation repeals and replaces the previous Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009.

The new Regulation contains an amendment to the additional open access information for local government under Schedule 1 Clause 3 in relation to development applications.

From 31 August 2018 the following information no longer falls within the definition of open access information for local government:

  • development applications made before 1 July 2010;
  • in relation to a development application received before 1 July 2010, any associated documents which were received before, on or after 1 July 2010; and
  • the records of decisions, including decisions on appeal, on development applications made before 1 July 2010.

What does this mean?

If you want access to a development application, or records of decisions that were received on, or after 1 July 2010 you should apply informally as they continue to be OPEN ACCESS information. 

Development applications and decisions made before 1 July 2010 are still 'government information' but you will need to apply formally via an access application. As with any other access application, we will apply the public interest test under Part 2 Division 2 of the GIPA Act when making a decision to release, or refuse access to information in relation to development applications.

Plans, Copyright & Privacy

Some information that is considered ‘open access’ may be subject to copyright. Information that is subject to copyright may be viewed however copies may not be provided. If you require copies (hard copy or email) you will need to gain written permission from the copyright owner/architect.  Their contact details will be provided to you upon request.  Council must also take into account whether the privacy of any other party is affected by a particular request.

Proactive Release Information

Council may choose to place additional information on its website – this is called ‘Additional Proactive Release of Information’.  It is Council’s intent to make available on its website as much information as possible that would be of interest to the general public.

Informal Release of Information Requests

An application for information that is not readily available on Council’s website may be submitted using the Informal Access Application Form

Typically information requested informally may include:

  • Development consents
  • Planner reports
  • Application forms
  • Building certificates
  • Objection letter(s) to development applications
  • Development Applications, Building Applications or Construction Certificate Plans

These applications are free to view but photocopying fees may apply. 

Formal Release of Information Requests

If the information you are seeking is not available in any of the ways outlined above, you will probably need to apply for a Formal Access Application Form

Examples of the types of information requested formally may include:

  • Information that relates to a third party who must be consulted
  • Information that relates to a third party business that must be consulted
  • Information that is sensitive in nature and requires careful balancing of public interest considerations
  • Information previously refused access through the informal process
  • Large volumes of information that involve extensive search

Formal Access Fees

Application processing fees apply for Formal applications.

20150818 Government Information Public Access Act 2009

How to apply

  • Download the relevant GIPA form (Informal or Formal)
  • Complete the form and lodge with Council via post or in person (Note: the Informal form offers an online submit feature)
  • Post: PO Box 21, Picton 2571 with a cheque for the application fee (Formal) or
  • In person: 62-64 Menangle Street, Picton.  Payment may be made by cheque, cash or credit card.

Note: If your application is seeking personal information, proof of identity is required at the time of applying.

Review of a Decision

If you are refused access to information requested Formally, you are entitled to a review.  Please use council’s Internal Review Application Form