1. Accessing Information

Byron Shire Council is subject to NSW legislation that requires it to be open and accountable in the exercise of its functions, and to handle personal and health information in a fair and reasonable manner.

Council will seek to ensure that legitimate requests for access to information are handled promptly and that members of the public are able to access information, subject to the public interest. In doing so Council recognises that it must take into account the privacy of others, legal and commercially sensitive information.

These guidelines set out the documents and types of information that are available to members of the public as a matter of routine, and those that will not generally be available for inspection or copying.

Where practicable, Council will deal with requests to inspect documents in accordance with the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA Act) free of charge but a reasonable photocopying fee may be payable under the Act and for access to versions of documents that are neither current nor immediately preceding versions of the document and are not reasonably accessible.

All charges are detailed in Council’s adopted Schedule of Fees and Charges.

There is a presumption in favour of the disclosure of Council information under the GIPA Act unless there is an overriding public interest not to do so.

Any Formal Access to Information Request under the GIPA Act will be processed in accordance with the Act’s requirements and a determination made to release the documents or refuse access on the basis of the relevant considerations under that Act. Charges for Formal Access to Information Applications are in accordance with the GIPA Act Fees and Charges and include a $30 application fee.   In some circumstances processing charges may also be applied.

Council also may provide access to information under other legislation. Under the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (PPIPA) 1998 and the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act (HRIPA) 2002, an individual also has a right to access and amend records held by Council which contain their personal details, matters related to their business affairs and any records containing information about their health.  

Where information about an individual is held in documents, files or systems that include information about other persons, any request should be made under the GIPA Act.   The GIPA Act provides for consultation with other affected parties prior to disclosure of information concerning their personal or business affairs.  

Under the NSW State Records Act 1998 Council is required to give an access direction (whether the records are open or closed) for all their records that are at least thirty (30) years old in what is described as the "open access period".

Under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment (EPA) Act 1979 and Regulations 2000 there is a right to access Development Application registers and documents held by Council subject to restrictions set out in s.268(3).