Privacy and Requests for Information

The Privacy and Personal Information Act 1998 (PPIPA) and the Health Records Information Privacy Act 2002 (HRIPA). Council is required to adhere to the information protection principles which cover the collection, storage, use and disclosure of (and access to) personal information. These principles do not apply to companies or businesses, only to individuals. The PPIPA requires all Councils to prepare a Privacy Management Plan (PDF, 395KB)outlining their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the requirement of that Act and the HRIPA.

In particular, the object of this plan is to inform the community about how their personal information will be used, stored and accessed after it is collected by the Council.

Council staff have an obligation to handle personal information and understand when they can and cannot disclose, use or collect information. 

For more information please visit the Information & Privacy Commission NSW Website

“Personal information” is defined in Section 4 of the PPIPA as follows:

Personal information is defined to mean information or an opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent or can reasonably be ascertained from the information or opinion. This information can be on a database and does not necessarily have to be recorded in a material form.

 

“Personal information” does not include “information about an individual that is contained in a publicly available publication”. Personal information, once it is contained in a publicly available publication, ceases to be covered by the PPIPA.

Section 4A of the PPIPA also specifically excludes “health information”, as defined by Section 6 of the HRIPA, from the definition of “personal information”, but includes “health information” in the PPIPA’s consideration of public registers (discussed below). “Health information” is considered in Part 4 of this Plan.

Where the Council is requested to provide access or make a disclosure and that information has already been published, then the Council will rely on the provisions of the relevant Act that authorises Council to hold that information and not the PPIPA (for example, Section 8 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

Council considers the following to be publicly available publications:

  • An advertisement containing personal information in a local, city or national newspaper
  • Personal information on the Internet
  • Books or magazines that are printed and distributed broadly to the general public
  • Council Business papers or that part that is available to the general public
  • Personal information that may be a part of a public display on view to the general public

Information published in this way ceases to be covered by the PPIPA. 

Council’s decision to publish in this way must be in accordance with PPIPA.

 

The Council holds personal information concerning Councillors, such as:

  • Personal contact information
  • Complaints and disciplinary matters
  • Pecuniary interest returns
  • Entitlements to fees, expenses and facilities

 The Council holds personal information concerning its customers, ratepayers and residents, such as:

  • Rates records
  • DA applications and objections
  • Various types of health information (see below)

The Council holds personal information concerning its employees, such as:

  • Recruitment material
  • Leave and payroll data
  • Personal contact information
  • Performance management plans
  • Disciplinary matters
  • Pecuniary interest returns
  • Wage and salary entitlements
  • Health information (such medical certificates and workers compensation claims) 

 

A public register is defined in Section 3 of the PPIPA:

“…public register means a register of personal information that is required by law to be, or is made, publicly available or open to public inspection (whether or not on payment of a fee).”

Further information can be found in Council’s Privacy Management Plan(PDF, 395KB) including Council’s Public Register Table (see Appendix 7). 

 

The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of the types of health information and circumstances in which Councils may collect health information in exercising their functions:

  • Tree pruning/removal application where residents approach Council for a reconsideration or reassessment of a tree pruning/removal application on medical grounds 
  • Issuing of clean up orders which may include recording information about a residents health, GP professional contact details or involvement with mental health services
  • Volunteer programs where volunteers are asked to disclose health conditions which may preclude them from some types of volunteer work
  • Meals on wheels programs where residents may be asked for medical or dietary requirements, e.g. allergies for catering purposes
  • Seniors bus outings where information may be collected on special medical needs
  • Councils may provide respite and social support services collecting information that is consistent with the client intake and referral record system
  • Information on families for the purposes of children’s services. e.g. history of illness, allergies, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy etc
  • Physical exercise classes
  • Some Councils run Podiatry services
  • Information may be collected through a healthy community program
  • Children’s immunization records
  • Family counsellor/youth support workers records

Under Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 a member of the public may request this information and an assessment would be made whether the information is publicly available or not.

Information will be disposed of in accordance with the State Records Act 1998 (General Disposal Schedule).

 

 

If you have any questions about privacy please contact Council:

Burwood Council
Level 2, 1-17 Elsie Street
Burwood NSW 2134
PO Box 240
Burwood NSW 1805

Email: council@burwood.nsw.gov.au
Telephone: 02 9911 9911

The contact details for external authorities to seek advice or lodge a complaint are listed below:

Information and Privacy Commission
GPO Box 7011
Sydney NSW 2001

Email: ipcinfo@ipc.nsw.gov.au
Telephone: 1800 472 679

NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
Level 10, 86 Goulburn Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Telephone: 1300 006 228