Frequently Asked Questions

                                                                                                                                               FAQ Picture

 

 

 

See link to the Information and Privacy Commission Video on Ways to access government information.

Accessing information held by Burwood Council

What type of 'open access' information does Council make available?

Open access information includes:

Information about Burwood Council

The current version and most recent previous version of the following records:

  • the model code prescribed under Section 440 (1) of the LGA and the code of conduct adopted under Section 440 (3) of the LGA
  • code of meeting practice
  • annual report
  • annual financial reports
  • auditors report
  • plans that form part of the integrated planning and reporting framework
  • EEO management plan
  • policy concerning the payment of expenses incurred by, and the provision of facilities to, councillors
  • annual reports of bodies exercising functions delegated by the local authority
  • any codes referred to in the LGA

Information contained in the following records (historical and current):

  • returns of the interests of councillors, designated persons and delegates
  • agendas and business papers for any meeting of the Council (but not including business papers for matters considered when part of a meeting is closed to the public)
  • minutes of any meeting of Council or any Committee of the 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
  • departmental representative reports presented at a meeting of the Council in accordance with Section 433 of the LGA

Information contained in the current version of the following records:

  • land register
  • register of investments
  • register of delegations
  • register of graffiti removal work kept in accordance with Section 13 of the Graffiti Control Act 2008 
  • register of current declarations of disclosures of political donations kept in accordance with Section 328A of the LGA
  • the register of voting on planning matters kept in accordance with Section 375A of the LGA
  • Register of Disclosure by Councillors, Independent Hearing and Assessment Panel and Designated Persons Return

Commercial information, if the information would be likely to prejudice the commercial position of the person who supplied it or to reveal a trade secret, is not considered open access information.

Plans and Policies

Information contained in the current version and the most recent previous version of the following:

  • plans of management for community land
  • environmental planning instruments, development control plans and contribution plans made under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 applying to land within the Burwood Local Government Area

 

Information about development applications

Information contained in the following records (historical and current):

  1. Development Applications (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:
  • home warranty insurance documents
  • construction certificates
  • occupation certificates
  • structural certification documents
  • town planner reports
  • submissions received on development applications
  • heritage consultant reports
  • tree inspection consultant reports
  • acoustics consultant reports
  • land contamination consultant reports

 2.     records of decisions on development applications (including decisions made on appeal)

 3.     the plans and specifications to the height and external configuration of a building and other plans such as shadow diagrams and landscape plans

 4.     a record that describes the general nature of the documents that the Council decides are excluded from the operation of this clause by subclause (2)

Information contained in the following records (historical and current):

  1. The plans and specifications for any residential parts 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. Plans of the internal layout or design of a residential building are not prescribed as open access information, to anyone unless the request comes from the owner. If you require to view or need a copy of the internal configurations, you will require a letter of consent from the owner of the property to view the internal floor plans. 
  2. Council assessment reports and other documents created or received in the course of consideration of a Development Application are not available for inspection prior to the application being determined by Council Officers or Council.
  3. 3D models and electronic format of development applications where available during the public exhibition period (available at Council’s Customer Service Centre and Burwood Library and Community Hub).

 

Policies, Approvals, Orders and Other Documents

Information contained in the following records (historical and current):

  • applications for approvals under Part 1 of Chapter 7 of the Local Government Act 1993 and any associated documents received in relation to such an application
  • applications for approvals under any other Act and any associated documents received in relation to such an application
  • records of approvals granted or refused, any variation from local policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals
  • orders given under Part 2 of Chapter 7 of the Local Government Act 1993, and any reasons given under Section 136 of the LGA
  • orders given under the authority of any other Act
  • records of building certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
  • plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council
  • compulsory acquisition notices
  • leases and licences for use of public land classified as community land

 The following Council documents are also defined as open access information under Section 18 of the GIPA Act and will be released without the need for a formal access application:

  • Agency Information Guide
  • information about Council contained in any document tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of Council, other than any document tabled by order of either House of Parliament
  • policy documents
  • disclosure log of access applications
  • register of government contracts
  • records of the open access information (if any) that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure
  • any other government information as may be prescribed by the regulations as open access information

 

If you have not been able to locate the information you are after on Council’s website, you should make an Informal Request for information https://www.burwood.nsw.gov.au/Our-Council/Access-to-Information/How-To-Access-Information.

How to access Council information?

Information held by Council can be accessed in the following ways:

  • Council’s website includes information that Council is required to disclose (called ‘mandatory disclosure’) as well as information that Council proactively releases because it is of general interest to the public
  • Informal access request is provided in response to an individual request for information (sometimes referred to as an ‘open informal access request’)
  • A Formal access request is required for certain types of information requests

 

Under section 18 of the GIPA Act certain information is prescribed that must be made available free of charge on Council's website, this includes:

  • Policy documents
  • Disclosure Log of formal access applications
  • Agency Information Guide
  • Government Contracts Register
  • Record of open access information that is not made available to the public on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure

Where can I access Council’s Agency Information Guide?

Council’s Agency Information Guide is found here.

Council is required to publish this Guide under the GIPA Act to share information about:

  • the structure and functions of the Council
  • the manner in which the functions of Council affect members of the public
  • any arrangements that exist for members of the public to participate in the formulation of
  • Council’s policies and the exercise of Council’s functions
  • the kinds of government information held by Council
  • the kinds of government information held by Council that is publicly available
  • the manner in which Council makes government information publicly available
  • the kinds of information that are (or will be) made publicly available free of charge and those
  • kinds for which a charge is (or will be) imposed

When and how do I make an Informal Access Request?

You should make an Informal Access Request for information if, after reviewing Council's website, you are still not able to find the information you are looking for.

You can lodge an Informal access request online.

Refer to Council’s Agency Information Guide for the type of information that is available for informal release.

This process may take up to four weeks to obtain certain documents under informal access. Some of the documents listed on the form are available within a week, while others are stored offsite and may take longer to access.

When and how do I make a Formal Access Request?

You should make a Formal Access Request if you can’t access the information through the Council’s website or through an Informal Access request.

Examples of where a Formal Access Application is necessary include where the information:

  • is of a sensitive nature that requires careful weighing of the considerations in favour of and against disclosure
  • contains personal or confidential information about a third party that requires consultation
  • records of decisions made before 1 July 2010 on development applications
  • development applications made before 1 July 2010 and any associated documents received (whether before, on or after that date)
  • where council has assessed that the information requested under an information application would involve an unreasonable amount of time and resources to undertake.

 

There is a $30 application fee payable for a formal access request and a processing charge of $30 per hour. The application fee counts towards the first hour of processing. Refer to Council’s Fees and Charges.

Processing time for a Formal Access Request is 20 business days. Council may request the applicant to agree to extend the time by up to 15 working days in certain circumstances.

What happens after my Formal Access Request is submitted?

Your application will be acknowledged by Council. In the case of formal requests, further information may be required from the applicant and a processing fee must be paid.

Council will conduct the reasonable searches required to identify whether any information is held by Council that relates to your request.

The GIPA Act states that members of the public have a right to access information unless there are overriding public interest considerations in favour of non-disclosure of the information. Council will consider the information identified in the search and will apply what is called the ‘public interest test’ to determine whether the information can be released.

You will be advised of the outcome of your application. Council will provide you with a copy of, or make arrangements for you to view, any information that can be released under the public interest test.

 

Commonly requested information

How can I find out about a Development Application?

The progress of Development Applications is publicly available on Council’s website: Track a Development Application Burwood Council (nsw.gov.au)

The initial landing page summarises DAs that have been recently received or approved by Council. Clicking on Track a Development Application Online (nsw.gov.au) will take you to the more detailed DA Tracker, which includes the full details of applications, accompanying documents and the progress of the application.

What is the Disclosure Log and how do I access it?

The Disclosure Log details information previously released to an applicant under a formal access request that Council considers would be of interest to other members of the public.  

Where do I find Council’s policies, plans and reports?

Many Council policies, plans and reports are proactively published on Council’s website:

If the policy, plan or report you are after is not already available on the website, make an informal  access request to access the policy, plan or report.

How can I access the business papers for meetings of Council or the Burwood Local Planning Panel?

Council Meetings and Burwood Local Planning Panel Business Papers, Minutes and audio recordings are available on Council’s website: Minutes and Agendas Burwood Council (nsw.gov.au). The agenda for each meeting is generally available three business days prior to the meeting. The Minutes and any audio recordings are published within a few days of the meeting. Business papers back to 2016 are available on the website.

Can I get copies of documents that are subject to copyright?

Copyright is the exclusive right to make copies, license and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc. Works granted such right by law are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 70 years after his or her death.

Under the Copyright Act 1968, there may be documents that may not be copied without the consent of the owner of the document. Information held by Council that may be subject to copyright could include building plans, consultant's reports and other third party documents. Council will contact the applicant to discuss any document to which copyright applies.

Are there any restrictions on access to internal floor plans?

Yes. For privacy reasons, clause 56 (2) of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 provides that:

Extracts of a development relating to the erection of a building:

(a)   sufficient to identify the applications and the land to which the application relates, and

(b)   containing a plan of the building that indicates its height and external configuration, as erected in relation to the site on which it is to be erected, if relevant for that particular development,

are to be made available to interested persons.

After the neighbour notification and advertising period has closed, if you want access to plans and other documentation for a legitimate reason, you will need to complete an informal access application. Council will require a letter of consent from the owner of the property to view internal floor plans. When you complete an informal access request form, tick the word ‘Plans’.

Plans can be viewed at Council’s Customer Service Centre, 2 Conder Street, Burwood. If you require a copy of the plans you must also obtain written consent from the copyright owner for Council to reproduce the plans, and provide this consent to Council.

Do I need to submit an information access request to seek advice about a development, planning or zoning matter?

No, an information access request is not required to seek this advice. Send an email to Council and your enquiry will be forwarded to Council’s relevant development building specialist Council@burwood.nsw.gov.au

I want to enquire about an infringement notice issued by Council. Do I need to submit an information access request to have that query answered?

No, an information access request is not required. Email Council and your enquiry will be forwarded to Council’s Compliance Team Council@burwood.nsw.gov.au.

Can I get access to a sewerage or drainage diagram?

As Sydney Water is responsible for sewerage and drainage systems, Council does not generally hold sewerage or draining diagrams. Refer instead to Sydney Water www.sydneywater.com.au.

Registered owners of a property - refer to NSW Lands Registry Services https://www.nswlrs.com.au/.

How can I obtain a property owner’s name and address?

A public register generally confers specific rights or privileges, a benefit, or status, which would not otherwise exist. It may be required by law to be made publicly available or open to public inspection, or it is simply made publicly available or open to public inspection (whether or not payment is required).

Section 57 of the PPIPA requires very stringent controls over the disclosure of personal information contained in a public register. It provides broadly that where Council is responsible for keeping a public register, it will not disclose any personal information kept in that register unless it is satisfied that the information is to be used for a purpose relating to the purpose of the register or the Act under which the register is kept. 

Council does not release property owners’ details unless it is for the purpose of the Act under which it was collected.  If the stated purpose of the applicant does not conform with the purpose for which the public register is kept, access to the information sought will not be given.

Any person requiring such information due to dividing fence or tree matters must write to or email Council and outline their reasons for obtaining the property owners details.

You can also apply for ownership information at the NSW Land Registry Services on (02) 8776 3575.

Can I get a copy of a cladding report for my property?

Burwood Council does not maintain a cladding register and does not issue cladding certificates of compliance. The Cladding Register is managed by the NSW Government.

It is the responsibility of the building management or strata committee to ensure that an annual fire safety statement is issued each year for the building. If flammable cladding is found, then it must be registered with the NSW Government’s Cladding Register. You are encouraged to contact your building management or strata committee and check whether they have a recent annual fire safety statement. 

Council can provide a copy of the Construction Certificate, Occupation Certificate and the Building Code of Australia Assessment Report, if these documents are held in Council’s records. Those documents may hold information about the building materials used in the construction.

I am researching the history of my property. Where else can I find historical information to assist me?

Local Studies Resources at Burwood Library may be helpful if you are researching the history of a property. Visit Burwood Library for more information Burwood Library Burwood Council (nsw.gov.au)

 

 

Further information in relation to accessing information can be found on Council’s Website: https://www.burwood.nsw.gov.au/Our-Council/Access-to-Information or by Contacting a member of Council’s Governance Team on 9911 9911.