Right to Information
What is the Right to Information?
The Right to Information Act 2009 replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1991 on 1st July 2010 and provides for greater access to information held by government bodies and public authorities, including councils by:
- Encouraging greater routine and active disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications;
- Giving members of the public a right to information held by public authorities; and
- Ensuring that information is restricted only in limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.
How do I get access to information?
In accordance with the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 Council will make information available to the public through proactive disclosure. This means we will routinely make information available which will assist the public in understanding what we do and how we do it.
This is done via our website, through publications (e.g. fact sheets), or via reports (e.g. our Annual Report). The website in particular provides a great deal of information on the activities of Council including the agenda and minutes of all Council and Council Committee meetings.
Some information is not released in this way, either because it is specific to a property or an individual, or because it is publically available (eg through Service Tasmania or the Land Information System), or it is information that Council would need to assess against the exemptions in the Right to Information Act 2009 prior to disclosure.
If you cannot find the information you seek please contact our Customer Service Department at the Civic Centre at 15 Channel Highway, Kingston or by telephone on (03) 6211 8200. A Customer Service Officer may be able to assist you in finding it or providing it for you. If it is not freely available they will assist you to make an application for the information, which is then called an assessed disclosure.
Applications for assessed disclosure
- Applications are to be addressed to:
Right to Information Officer
Locked Bag 1
KINGSTON TAS 7050
- Applications for information do not need to be on a specific form, but as there are certain statutory requirements we would encourage you to use the Right To Information Application Form.
- If you are not using the form, please note that your applications must be made in writing and include the same elements that are on the attached form - this is a requirement of Regulation 4 of the Right to Information Regulations 2010.
- Applications are to be accompanied by the application fee. This fee is 25 fee units, which is $36.50 as at 1st July 2013 and is indexed annually.
- You may apply to have the fee waived only if:
- you are in financial hardship - we take that to mean that you are on income support payments (we would usually ask to see evidence that you are in receipt of Centrelink or Veterans Affairs payments);
- the information is to be used by a member of parliament in connection with their official duty; or
- the information sought is intended to be used for a purpose that is of general public interest or benefit (you will need to provide details as to how this information will be provided to the general public).
- Please make sure you have looked for the information before you make a formal application, because if the information is otherwise available, your application may be refused without the return of you application fee.
What will we do once we have your application?
- We will check your application to make sure we have the information you need and that you have paid the application fee (or are eligible to have the fee waived).
- Before your application is accepted, we may need to contact you to ask about your application, this will help us to understand your request.
- Next an officer will assess your application against the Right to Information Act 2009 and let you know the outcome of that process in writing as soon as practicable, but in no more than 20 working days of the application being accepted. In most instances the requested information will also be provided at that time.
- If your request is complex or for a large amount of information we may ask you to give us more time.
- If there is a need to consult with a third party about their personal information or business affairs, more time is automatically allowed by the Act and again we will let you know the outcome as soon as practicable, but no later than 40 working days - we will let you know if this is happening.
- If the application or part of the application is refused, the reasons for the refusal will be provided. You will then have the right to seek a review of that decision by writing to:
The General Manager
Locked Bay 1
KINGSTON TAS 7050
- If the officer assessing your request does not get back to you in the timeframe allowed then we are taken to have refused your application and you may make an application for a review to the Ombudsman if you choose. Further information on reviews by the Ombudsman can be found on the Ombudsman Tasmania website.