Your Right to Know

Burwood Council is committed to the following principles regarding public access to documents and information: 

  • Open and transparent government
  • Consideration of the overriding public interest in relation to access requests
  • Proactive disclosure and dissemination of information
  • Respect for the privacy of individuals

The GIPA Act came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaced the former freedom of information act.

The GIPA Act :

  • creates new rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government.
  • encourages government agencies to proactively release government information.

 

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No 52

 

Burwood Council has been dealing with a range of service delivery challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.  It remains committed to upholding the rights of citizens to maintain access to government information and keep their privacy protected. 

COVID-19 restrictions may mean that there are sometimes unusual delays in sourcing and providing access to information that are largely outside the control of Council.  Methods of gaining access to information may also be a little different to normal due to public health and safety measures that must be observed.

To date, Council’s ‘Right To Know’ specialists have managed to navigate the COVID-19 challenges successfully, and all requests have been handled in accordance with normal service standards.  Nonetheless it is still possible that these specialists may need to contact applicants who have lodged formal access requests to seek an extension of time for processing.  If you are planning to lodge a formal access request please keep this possibility in mind – your understanding will be greatly appreciated.

For more information please contact Council at council@burwood.nsw.gov.au or look at the Information and Privacy Commission NSW updates for citizens on COVID-19.

 

Much of the information held by Council is available as classed under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 as open access information and must be released accordingly.  Council is also obliged to ensure that the following types of open access information are proactively made available on its website, in addition to any other open access information it publishes there.  These are:

 

1. The Council Agency Information Guide(PDF, 435KB) – this includes important details about the structure and functions of Council (including how members of the public can participate in the exercise of Council functions) and details about the sorts of information Council holds and how to access it.

2. Any information about the Council contained in any document tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of the Council, other than any document tabled by order of either House of Parliament.

3. Council policy documents that deal with matters affecting members of the public.

4. Disclosure log(PDF, 119KB) of access applications made to Council which result in provision of wider access to the information if it is considered to be of broader public interest.

5. Register of government contracts entered into by Council with a value of $150,000 or more.

6. Record of any open access information (if any) that Council does not make publicly available because of an overriding public interest against disclosure.

 

Proactive release of information is an important way of helping many people to get access to lots of valuable information without having to ask Council to release it.  The website you are using right now is the key means of making this happen.  Such information sharing makes it easier for people to do business with Council and to learn about things that may affect them.  It increases the transparency and accountability of Council as well as putting the information that is released into context.

 Council generates and collects a great deal of information as part of exercising its many and varied functions.  It has a Proactive Release Program which is aimed at identifying high interest and/or significant information that should be added to information that is already widely accessible.  The Program involves the active review of public interest in Council affairs at least once a year.  Council is also mindful of building proactive release principles into its corporate governance systems so that service design and review processes support this.

 Proactive release of information goes beyond the minimum statutory requirements to publish certain information on the Council website under its mandatory disclosure obligations.  It is a more efficient and more effective means of sharing information that supports community participation in Council processes and decision making.

 Public access to information on the Council website is free of charge.  Some public access to information may occasionally also be offered via other formats which in some cases attract a small fee as listed in the Burwood Council Schedule of Fees and Charges 2019-2020(PDF, 1MB)

Outlines Council’s structure, functions, the right the public participate in the formulation of policy, identifies the various kinds of information held by Council, information that is publicly available and where a charge is imposed.

Burwood Council Agency Information Guide- Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009(PDF, 435KB)