Cessnock City Council will shortly be undertaking works to refurbish Gillies Bridge, Lovedale, to increase the life-span of the unique bridge and improve the safety of road users.Read More
Accessing Council Information
Council publishes a range of information under the NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.
To help you apply for access to information Council has adopted the following documents.
- Public Information Access Policy - outlines Council’s commitment to openness and transparency regarding accessing Council information.
- Guide for Accessing Council Information - outlines what information is held, how it can be accessed, exemptions and rights to review.
- Agency Information Guide - describes Council’s structure, functions, how it operates, what government information is held and how the public can access this information.
Your right to information
Council is committed to ensuring all requests to access Council information are processed in a timely and efficient manner and in accordance with:
- NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA)
- NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIPA)
- NSW Local Government Act 1993 (LGA)
- Copyright Act 1986(Cth)
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 can contact a customer service officer for assistance or refer to the Guide for Accessing Council Information.
Fees & Charges:
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 from off-site storage, you may be requested to complete an Informal Access Request Form to allow Council to process your request unless the information requested falls within the requirements of a Formal Access Application (see below).
Access to information which is not available as Mandatory Public Release (Open Access) or Proactive Release may be provided through Informal Release. Council generally releases other information in response to an informal request subject to any reasonable conditions as Council thinks fit to impose.
As per proactive release methods, Council is authorised to release information unless there is a public interest against disclosure. To enable the release of as much information as possible, Council is also authorised to redact content from a copy of information to be released, if the inclusion of the redacted information would otherwise result in an overriding public interest against disclosure.
Application should be made to Council by submitting an Informal Access Request form, Under informal release, Council has the right to decide by what means information is to be released.Some information can be provided via ‘informal release’ provided that no third party business, commercial, personal or copyright information is included.
A Formal Access Application is required in the following circumstances:
- if information is not available via proactive or informal release
- the request involves a large volume of information,
- the request requires extensive research and accordingly will involve an unreasonable amount of time and resources to produce
- the request contains personal or confidential information about a third party which may require consultation
- the request is of a sensitive nature that requires careful weighing of the consideration in favour of and against disclosure, then;
Council requires a Formal Access Application form to be submitted and accompanied by the prescribed application fee of $30.00. Additional $30.00 per hour processing charges may be applicable.
Please note: an application will be invalid if it seeks access to excluded information of Council or does not meet the requirements for a Formal Access application.
A Formal Access Application must:
- Be in writing
- Specify it is made under the GIPA Act
- State an Australian Postal address;
- Be accompanied by the $30.00 fee;
- Provide sufficient detail to enable Council to identify the information requested.
Complete a Formal Access Application Form (application fee of $30.00 applies).
Open Access Information
Council is required to provide many of its documents as open access information including:
Codes, plans, policies and reports
- Annual Financial Reports
- Code of Conduct
- Code of Meeting Practice
- Council Policies and Codes
- Disclosure of Political Donations and Gifts
- Fees & Charges
- Management and Strategic Plans
- Plans of Management for Community Land
- Privacy Management Plan
- Social and Community plans
Registers and returns
- Designated Persons Disclosure of Interest Returns (available on request at Council)
- Disclosure Log (Under the GIPA Act 2009)
- Disclosure of Political Donations and Gifts
- Land and property Register
- Register of Delegations (available on request at Council)
- Register of Government Contracts
- Register of Investments (Reported in the Agenda of the second Council Meeting of each month)
- Register of Pecuniary Interest Declarations (available on request at Council).
Agendas, business papers and minutes
- Agendas and business papers for Council and Committee meetings, not including business papers for matters considered in the closed session of a Council meeting.
- 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 NSW 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 NSW 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 NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 that apply to land within Council’s area.
Access to personal information
When accessing Council documents, Council must comply with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 which protects personal information and the privacy of individuals. Councils are required to develop a Privacy Management Plan in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Act and comply with other legislation regarding public access to information.
Council may provide you with the name and postal address of your adjoining neighbours upon application for the purpose of sharing of expenses to construct or repair a dividing fence in accordance with the NSW Dividing Fences Act 1991.
To apply for adjoining owners contact details you will need to complete the Informal GIPA Dividing Fences Request Form.
Please note you will be required to provide photo identification with your application.
Contact Councils Customer Service Centre on:
Phone: 49934100 or,
You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW government information by visiting: www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.