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Freedom of information

What is Freedom of Information?

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives people a right to obtain access to information held by Local Councils and other Government Agencies.

The FOI Act not only gives people the right to request documents relating to their personal affairs, people can also request information about any of the activities of a government agency.

Note: Freedom of Information relates to an actual document which is already in existence.

What information is available?

Any person has a right to apply for access to documents, held by Maroondah City Council, which are covered by the FOI Act.

This includes documents created by Maroondah City Council and supplied to Maroondah City Council by external organisations or individuals.

You can apply for access to documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents, and other documents held by Maroondah Council, not older than 1 January 1989

Do I need to use Freedom of Information to Access Documents?

Many documents are available outside the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. In these instances, the request will not be processed under FOI.

Information which you may obtain without an FOI application include information which is available publicly, information on a public register and information which is available for purchase.

Please note, if you require documents for a court hearing or litigation, speak to your legal adviser about other methods available to gain access in those circumstances.

What information is not available for release under FOI?

Not all information is automatically available in response to a request for it.

Part IV of the FOI Act pertains to exemptions and describe documents or information which may be refused access. Documents include:

  • documentation created prior to 1 January 1989 (although individuals have the right to access their own personal information irrespective of its age)
  • personal affairs of another person
  • commercially confidential information
  • information supplied in confidence
  • documents affecting legal proceedings
  • documents relating to a closed meeting of council.

In some cases, you may be refused access to the entire document. Alternatively, you may be given access to a partial document with exempt information deleted.

‘Personal affairs’ includes the name, address or any information that is identifiable of somebody other than the applicant. For example, an applicant may wish to know the name and address of a neighbour regarding a complaint - this information would be considered exempt material under Section 33 of the Act.

Your application may also be refused if it is considered ‘voluminous in nature’, in that “it would interfere unreasonably with the operations or performance of the Council.”

Costs associated with making an FOI request?

The FOI application fee is currently $28.90* and is non-refundable. The only exception to the application fee is for applicants to provide evidence of financial hardship, then the fee may be waived or reduced at the discretion of the FOI officer.

*The application fee is subject to change and is reviewed by the State Government every year. The fee is likely to increase on 1 July each year.

Access charges

Further charges may apply to a request in addition to the application fee. Where this is the case, the applicant will be advised of the estimated additional costs. The application is unable to proceed until the full amount or a deposit is paid. Access charges include:

  • searching for the documents is $21.67 per hour
  • supervision of document inspection is $21.67 per hour
  • photocopying charges - 20c per black and white A4 page (other charges will apply for documents larger than A4 or which are requested in colour)
  • providing access in a form other than photocopying (electronic)
  • charge for listening to or viewing a tape
  • charge for making a written transcript out of a recording

Part II Statement

View the Maroondah City Council Freedom of Information Part II Statement:

Maroondah City Council Freedom of Information Part II Statement  (pdf, 537KB)

Make an FOI request

You must submit an FOI request form before being granted access to existing Council documents.  A response period of up to 30 days applies. 

Your request must be:

  • in writing
  • state very clearly the specific information that you are requesting
  • accompanied by an application fee of $28.90.

Freedom of information request form

If documents are needed for a court hearing or litigation, then you should seek legal advice about gaining access through alternative processes. 

Further information

For further information on the FOI process please contact Council's Risk and Integrity Officer on 9298 4211. 

12/05/2017
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