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Open Access Information

NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 Section 6 states:

“(1) An agency must make the government information that is its "open access information" publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information

 (2) Open access information is to be made publicly available free of charge on a website maintained by the agency (unless to do so would impose unreasonable additional costs on the agency) and can be made publicly available in any other way that the agency considers appropriate.

The types of Council information defined as Open Access Information are set out in Section 18 of the GIPPA and Section 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (Regulations).

Open Access Information under Section 18:

  1. a publication guide with information about the council’s structure and functions, and listing the type of information that is publicly available (Division 2);
  2. Council’s policy documents (Division 3);
  3. a disclosure log of formal access applications where in council’s opinion the information released may be of interest to other members of the public (Division 4);
  4. a register of contracts worth more than $150,000 that councils have with private sector bodies (Division 5);
  5. Council’s record of open access information not made publicly available on the basis of overriding pubic interest against disclosure (under Section 6).

Open Access Information under Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009:

Section 1  Information about Council

  1. Information contained in the current version and the most recent previous version of the following records is prescribed as open access information:
    1. The model code of conduct prescribed under section 440(1) and the code of conduct adopted under section 440 (3) of the Local Government Act 1993 (LGA),
    2. Code of meeting practice
    3. Annual report
    4. Annual financial reports
    5. Auditor’s report
    6. Management plan
    7. EEO management plan - EEO and Discrimination Prevention Policy
    8. Policy concerning the payment of expenses incurred by, and the provision of facilities to Councillors - Mayor and Councillor’s Payment of Expenses and Provision of Facilities Policy
    9. Annual reports of bodies exercising functions delegated by Council
    10. Any codes referred to in the Local Government Act
  2. Information contained in the following records (whenever created) is prescribed as open access information:
    1. Returns of the interests of Councillors, designated persons and delegates
    2. Agendas and business papers for any meeting of local authority or any committee of the local authority (but not including business papers for matters considered when part of a meeting is closed to the public)
    3. Minutes of any meeting of Council or any committee of Council, but restricted (in the case of any part of a meeting that is closed to the public) to the resolutions and recommendations of the meeting
    4. Division of Local Government, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet  Representative Reports presented at a meeting of Council
  3. Information contained in the current version of the following records is prescribed as open access information:
    1. Land register
    2. Register of investments
    3. Register of delegations
    4. Register of graffiti removal works kept in accordance with section 13 of the Graffiti Control Act 2008
    5. Register of current declarations of disclosures of political donations kept in accordance with section 328A of the LGA
    6. the register of voting on planning matters kept in accordance with section 375A of the LGA

Section 2  Plans and policies

Information contained in the current version and the most recent previous version of the following records is prescribed as open access information:

  1. Local policies adopted by Council concerning approvals and orders
  2. Plans of management for community land
  3. Environmental planning instruments, development control plans and s.94 contribution plans made under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 applying to land within the Byron Shire Council area

Section 3  Information about development applications

  1. Information contained in the following records (whenever created) is prescribed as open access information:
    1. Development application (within the meaning of the Environmental Planning and Assessment act 1979) and any associated documents received in relation to a proposed development including the following:
      1. Home warranty insurance documents
      2. Construction certificates
      3. Occupation certificates
      4. Structural certification documents
      5. Town planner reports
      6. Submissions received on development applications
      7. Heritage consultant reports
      8. Tree inspections consultant reports
      9. Acoustic consultant reports
      10. Land contamination consultant reports
    2. Records of decisions on development applications (including decisions on appeal)
    3. A record describing the general nature of documents that Council decides are excluded from the operation of this clause by subclause (2).

(Subclause 2 does not apply to so much of the information referred to in subclause 1 (a) as consists of:  (a) the plans and specifications for any residential part of a proposed building, other than plans that merely show its height and its external configuration in relation to the site on which it is proposed to be erected, or (b) commercial information, if that information would be likely to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it or to reveal a trade secret.)

Section 4  Approvals, Orders and Other Documents

Information contained in the following records (whenever created) is prescribed as open access information:

  1. Applications for approvals under part 1 of Chapter 7 of the LGA and any associated documents received in relation to such an application
  2. Applications for approvals under any other Act and any associated documents received in relation to such an application
  3. Records of approvals granted or refused, any variation from Council local policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals
  4. Orders given under Part 2 of Chapter 7 of the LGA, and any reasons given under section 136 of the LGA.
  5. Orders given under the authority of any other Act
  6. Records of building certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  7. Plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council
  8. Compulsory acquisition notices
  9. Leases and Licenses for use of public land classified as community land