Accessing Council Information
Your right to information
You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW government information on the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OPC) website at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.
Cessnock City Council publishes a range of information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
Copies of information can generally be made available free of charge although you may have to pay reasonable photocopying charges if you want your own copy. If you have a simple request that can be satisfied by reference to a single file or entry in a register Council can usually respond on the spot, and at no charge. However, in the case of a more complex request or if the file has to be accessed off-site, you may be requested to complete a Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 application form to allow Council to process your request.
Follow the links to access our policies, council information guide, a disclosure log of information applications, details of information not disclosed to the public and our register of government contracts.
How do I get access to information?
Firstly, search Council’s website, to see if the information is already available. If it isn’t already on Council’s website you will need to contact a customer service officer for assistance. The customer service officer will need to decide if the information you have requested:
- is open access, or ‘mandatory release’ information that is readily available.
- should be made available as part of a ‘proactive release’ of information.
- can be disclosed through ‘informal release’, for example where no third party personal information is involved. Informal access request forms are located here.
- requires a formal access application, for example because consultation with a third party is required. Formal access application forms are located here. For more information please read our Guide for Accessing Council Information.
Open Access Information
Council is required to provide many of its documents as open access information. These include:
Codes, plans, policies and reports
- Code of Conduct
- Code of Meeting Practice
- Any codes referred to in the Local Government Act 1993
- Management Plan
- Equal Employment Opportunity Management Plan
- Social/Community Plan
- Plans of management for community land
- Policy about the payment of expenses and the provision of facilities to Councillors
- Annual Report
- Annual financial reports
- Auditor’s report
- Annual reports of bodies exercising delegated Council functions
- Departmental representatives’ reports presented at a meeting of the Council in accordance with section 433 of the Local Government Act 1993
Registers and returns
- Land register
- Register of investments
- Register of delegations
- Returns of the interests of Councillors, designated persons and delegates
- Returns about candidates’ campaign donations
Agendas, business papers and minutes
- Agendas and business papers for Council and Committee meetings, not including business papers for matters considered when part of a meeting is closed to the public
- Minutes of Council and Committee meetings – if any part of a meeting is closed to the public then only the resolutions and recommendations that were made are included in the minutes
Planning and development documents
- Development applications under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 and associated documents
- Records of approvals granted, any variation from local policies with reasons for the variation and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals
- Local policies adopted by Council concerning approvals and orders
- Records of building certificates under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
- Plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council
- Leases and licences for the use of public land classified as community land
- Environmental planning instruments, development control plans and plans made under sections 94A and 94B of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that apply to land within Council’s area.
Further information regarding Accessing Council Information can be found in Council's Public Information Access Policy and Appendicies.
Public Information Access Policy
Council’s Public Information Access Policy has been developed in line with the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).
When accessing Council documents, you need to be aware of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 which helps to protect personal information and the privacy of individuals. Councils are required to develop a privacy management plan under the Privacy and Personal Information Act and comply with other legislation regarding public access to information.
If you are refused access to documents on the grounds of privacy, you should read a document called ‘Privacy, you and your local council’. It provides a brief overview of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act and answers some frequently asked questions. This document is available at the Department of Local Government website at www.dlg.nsw.gov.au