Requests for Council Information
Access to Council Information and Records
Council makes a wide range of documents available on our website and by public inspection for free. Some information is available in other formats for a small charge (cost of photocopying). The Freedom of Information Part II Statement(PDF, 571KB) sets out the type of information that Council has in its possession and how you can access this information. While every attempt is made to provide the documents you request, the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) does have some limits on access.
Request for Council Information
The Local Government Act 2020 requires various documents to be made publicly available, and additional documents may be released upon request. Facilitating access to these documents supports good governance through openness and accountability, and aligns with Council’s Public Transparency Policy(PDF, 210KB).
Please see the following link for a list of documents Council is required under legislation to make available to the public: Current List of Public Information - 2023(PDF, 285KB)
In some cases, information will only be accessible through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request. Council will advise you if this is the case.
If you are requesting copies of planning documents, please visit Council's Planning Forms, Fees and Checklists page. For copies of building documents, please visit Apply for Building Documents or Information.
If you are wishing to request a document from Council, you may do so via completing the following form:
Submit a Request for Council Information
This form will be assessed by officers who will determine what, if anything, is available to be released publicly (without incurring fees) or whether the application requires submission of an FOI request which, as a legislative process, is governed by the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
Requesting information via a Freedom of Information Request
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (‘the Act’) gives you a general right of access to information held by Council.
For more information regarding how to process a valid FOI request please visit the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner's website.
Making a valid request
Before you make an FOI request, please read the following guidelines.
- Your request should be clear and concise and specify exactly the documents you are seeking.
- You must also provide an accurate description of the documents you are seeking.
- All requests should provide a time period within which Council must undertake its search – for example, ‘1 January 2020 to 13 March 2020’.
- Try to avoid phrases like ‘all documents in relation to’ and ‘including but not limited to’.
- Note: if you are seeking information to support a court case, we suggest you seek legal advice prior to submitting an FOI request, as it may be more appropriate to access the information via a subpoena.
Under the Act, every person has the right to request access to documents held by Victorian public sector agencies and ministers. This right of access is subject to exceptions and exemptions necessary to protect essential public and private interests.
Under section 17 of the Act, a request must meet three requirements to be valid:
- your request must be in writing – please use Council's FOI Request Form below.
- you must provide sufficient information about the documents you are requesting to enable officers to identify and locate the relevant documents. Here are some tips to assist with this:
- Provide an accurate description of the documents you are seeking.
- Refer to the Freedom of Information Part II Statement for guidance on the types of documents and information Council holds.
- Provide a time period in which you wish Council to undertake its search, for example – ‘1 January 2020 to 13 March 2020’.
- Avoid phrases such as ‘all documents in relation to’ and ‘including but not limited to’ – these are not specific enough to enable officers to effectively action your request.
- you must pay the application fee of $31.80, however if payment of said fee would lead to financial hardship, you may request Council waive the fee in full or in part.
For further information on how to make a valid FOI request, please visit the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner’s website.
Submit and FOI Request online Submit an FOI Request(PDF, 933KB)
After you submit your request
Upon submission officers will assess your request to ensure it meets the requirements outlined in section 17 of the Act. If it is determined that your request is not valid, officers will notify you within 21 days post receipt date of your request, and will provide you with assistance to help make the request valid. If your request is found to be valid, officers will begin to process it.
Council has 30 days from the date of submission to provide you with a decision. However, officers may extend this period by up to 15 days if third party consultation is required – this includes liaising with all individuals whose information is contained in the requested documents. Officers may also extend this time by up to 30 days with your agreement. Council will advise if the timeframe changes at any time.
The Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014 (Vic) sets charges related to the costs incurred by an agency in granting access to documents requested. Whether these costs apply depends on the nature of the request. All fees and charges are exempt from GST. These costs are in addition to the application fee.
The current rates are as follows:
Search and retrieval of online documentation, search time at the pay rate of the Council officer conducting the search.
Hard copies $23.85* per hour (or part of an hour, rounded to the nearest 10 cents).
Supervision charges $23.85 per hour (to be calculated per quarter hour or part of a quarter hour).
Photocopying 20 cents per A4 page (black and white).
Where it is anticipated that the costs associated with your application will exceed $50.00, officers will notify you and request that you pay a deposit before proceeding with your request.
If necessary, officers may transfer your request under section 18 of the Act to another agency or minister who is better placed to handle your request. You will be advised if this is the case.
Council is committed to protecting your privacy. The personal information requested on the above form is collected by Council for the explicit purpose of processing your FOI request, or any other directly related purpose. Your personal information will also be disclosed to the Freedom of Information Officer for the purpose of processing your FOI request, as well as any relevant Council officers responsible for sourcing documents and information related to both your request and your payment.
Where applicants have given consent for Council to supply third parties with their name as the FOI applicant, this information will be provided upon request.
Your information will not be disclosed to any other external party without your consent, unless required or authorised by law.
If you wish to alter any of the personal information you have supplied to Council, please contact Council via telephone 03 5321 6434 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your personal information is collected for the purpose of processing your request. We may notify and consult with third parties in considering whether an exemption under sections 29, 31, 31A, 33, 34 or 35 of the Act apply. This may involve disclosing details such as your name, the terms of your request, and the documents falling within the scope of your request that concern the relevant third parties.