Your rights to access Council information are provided in the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act). The Act commenced on 1 July 2010 and replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) and section 12 of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW).
City of Newcastle (CN) is committed to open, accountable and transparent government. Under the GIPA Act, CN will proactively publish more information on our website and improve the efficient release of information.
1. Search CN's website to see if the information is already published
Information available on CN's website includes: NOTE: Returns of the interests of Councillors and designated persons are available by contacting CN.
(you should also search CN's website as the below is only a summary)
2. Contact CN and ask for the information
If the information you want is not on this website, contact us and we will tell you whether the requested information:
- Is open access information that is already available and how you can access the information
- Can be made available as part of a proactive release of information
- Can be disclosed to you through informal release
- Requires a formal access application.
You can contact us on (02) 4974 2000 or lodge an informal request using our Request Form. You should speak with the relevant CN department prior to lodging a request, for example if your request is regarding a dog or parking, speak to the Compliance Team, if it is about a Development Application, speak to the Regulatory Planning and Assessment Team.
Timeframes - CN will process requests as soon as possible, however, aims to process requests within 20 working days (note: there are no timeframes set by law for requests of this nature).
3. Lodge a formal GIPA request
If CN Officers advise you that the information you want cannot be released informally (because the information contains a third party’s personal or business details, or sensitive information, or will take some time to process), you will be required to lodge a formal GIPA application using CN’s Formal Access Application form.
Timeframes - CN is required by law to process formal requests within 20 working days (where no consultation is required) or 35 working days (where consultation/ archival retrieval are required).
4. Not satisfied with the decision made in response to a formal GIPA request
If you disagree with a reviewable decision of CN, you may seek a review of the decision.
You have three review options:
- Internal review by another officer of CN who is no less senior than the officer who made the original decision, you must complete the Internal review form and pay the $40 application fee (some exceptions apply).
- External review by the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) - contact the IPC directly for more information on 1800 472 679.
- External review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) - contact NCAT directly for more information on 1300 006228.
If you request a copy of information held by CN, there may be a fee to cover photocopying or if CN has an authority to charge a fee. Please refer to CN's Fees and charges (PDF) for more information.
The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC)
The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) can provide you with information about the GIPA Act. More information can be found on www.ipc.nsw.gov.au