Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic.) (‘FOI Act’) provides you with a general right of access to information held by Council. It also provides you with a right of appeal if you are refused access to documents or are not satisfied with the action or decision taken by Council in relation to your request.
Council holds a variety of information in relation to its various functions and services. Some of this information may be publicly available by other means (e.g. public registers or available subject to a fee or process).
Before submitting a request under the FOI Act, it may be worth contacting Council on (03) 9433 3111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss whether the information you seek is accessible outside of the FOI Act.
How to apply
For a Freedom of Information request to be considered valid under section 17 of the FOI Act, it must:
- be in writing
- provide a clear description to enable us to identify the document(s) being sought; and
- be accompanied by an application fee.
All written requests should be addressed to the Freedom of Information officer and be submitted:
You may be requested to provide further information such as an authority to act on behalf of a third party, proof of identification if a request relates to a third party or is regarding the personal, sensitive or health information of a person other than the applicant.
The application fee is currently $31.80 (as at 1 July 2023). This fee is non-refundable if the requested documents do not exist or are exempt for release.
The following payment options are for the application fee:
- In person: You can pay cash, by card or with cheque/money order at our customer service centre located at 32 Civic Drive, Greensborough
- By post: using cheque or money order payable to Nillumbik Shire Council
- Electronic payment: via a tax invoice issued by Council to you
If you wish to submit an FOI application by not paying using the in person or postal options, or you are submitting by email, you can request a tax invoice to be issued to allow payment via the electronic payment options.
An applicant may request to have the application fee waived or reduced on the basis of financial hardship. Such matters are handled on a case-by-case basis and may require evidence of hardship. If a waiver or reduction is applied, it only applies to the application fee. Access charges may still be applicable to your request.
Other charges which may be applicable
Please note that further access charges may be applied to cover the costs of locating and providing access to the documents being requested under the FOI Act including:
- search fees
- supervision charges
- photocopying charges
- providing access in a form other than a photocopy.
Access charges are calculated in accordance with section 22 of the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014.
After an application is received
We will assess your application to determine if it can be resolved outside of the FOI Act or if it does not comply with the validity requirements under section 17 of the FOI Act.
If your request needs to be processed under the FOI Act and it is valid, a decision must be made within thirty (30) days. Please note that this timeframe may change or be extended, including but not limited to:
- an additional 15 days if third-party consultation is required to seek their views over the disclosure of documents; or
- up to an additional 30 day time extension by agreement with you; or
- we have determined an access charges estimate in excess of $50 and a deposit is required to be paid by you. The initial 30 day decision timeframe will reset to the day the deposit payment is received by Council.
You will be notified if there is any change to this timeframe for a decision to be made. When a decision is made to refuse access or defer access to part or all of a document, the applicant will be notified in writing of the reasons for refusal/deferral. If the applicant is not satisfied they can seek a review by writing to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner within 28 days of receiving the decision.
Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
Melbourne VIC 3001
Refusal or part-refusal of a request
Not all information is automatically available. The FOI Act allows Council to refuse access to certain documents such as:
- law enforcement documents
- confidential matters considered by Council
- some internal working documents
- documents covered by legal professional privilege such as legal advice
- documents containing personal information about other people
- documents containing 'commercial in-confidence' information or trade secrets
- information obtained in confidence.
Enquiries relating to Freedom of Information can be made by contacting Council's Freedom of Information Officer by calling 03 9433 3271 or email email@example.com.
Information is also available on the Victorian Information Commissioner's website.