The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (‘the Act’) gives you a general right of access to information held by Council.
How to make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request
Before you make an FOI request, please read the following guidelines.
When making an FOI request:
- Your request should be clear and concise.
- Provide an accurate description of the documents you are seeking.
- It is recommended that you identify a time period and type of documents you are seeking e.g. ‘Reports regarding x from 1 January 2015 to 1 February 2015’.
- Try to avoid phrases like ‘all documents in relation to’ and ‘including but not limited to’.
- If your request is quite broad, you run the risk of being charged for documents you do not require access to.
- You application must be in writing using the FOI Request Form and must be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $27.90.
Please send your FOI request to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Hepburn Shire Council
PO Box 21
Daylesford VIC 3460
Fees and access charges
A person making a request for documents or information under FOI is required to pay an application fee of $27.90.
The Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014 (Vic) set charges related to the costs incurred by an agency in granting access to documents requested. Whether these costs apply depends on the nature of a 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
$20.91 per hour, or part of an hour
$20.91 per hour (to be calculated per quarter hour or part of a quarter hour
20 cents per A4 page (black and white)
Where it is anticipated that the costs will exceed $50.00, the applicant will be advised, requested to submit a deposit and asked if they wish to continue with the request.
What happens to your request?
Once Council receives your request, the Freedom of Information Officer will:
- Determine if it is a valid request
- Write to you and acknowledge receipt of your request
- Forward your request to the relevant area to request the documents.
- Conduct a search of Council’s Electronic Document Management System (EDRMS)
- Review the documents to make sure they meet the search criteria
- Remove irrelevant documents or sections of documents in accordance with the Act.
The Act allows Council to refuse access to certain documents and information. These documents are often called ‘exempt’ documents or information. You may be refused access to an entire document or a document with exempt information deleted.
Some documents which might be exempt include:
- Internal working documents
- Law enforcement documents
- Legal advice
- Personal information about third parties
- Confidential documents or documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.
FOI Request response time
Under the Act, Council has 45 days to process a valid request. This commences from the day Council receives a valid request and application fee.
If it becomes apparent that the access charges associated with the request are likely to exceed $50.00, Council will write to you and may seek a deposit.
Appeals and reviews
If you are not satisfied with the decision by the FOI Officer, you have the right to request a review. This must be in writing and within 28 days of receiving the decision and should be addressed to:
Freedom of Information Commissioner
Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
Melbourne VIC 3001
Further information regarding the appeal process, and functions of the FOI Commissioner can be found on the Freedom of Information website.
If you are not satisfied with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Commissioner’s review decision, you have the right to appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days of receiving the Commissioner’s decision.
Please contact Council’s Freedom of Information Officer on 5321 6450 if you have any questions concerning FOI at Hepburn Shire Council.
For further information about freedom of information, visit the