Privacy Statement

Council has an obligation to protect the privacy of its customers. This Privacy Statement summarises how your personal information will be treated as you access and interact with us. This statement is to be read in conjunction with Council's Privacy Management Plan.

Council is bound by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act), the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (PPIP Act) and the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW) (HRIP Act) and its corresponding regulations.

Our Privacy Management Plan is designed to introduce policies and procedures to maximise compliance with the PPIP Act and the HRIP Act. In particular, the plan informs the community about how their collected or unsolicited personal information will be used, stored, disclosed and accessed, and informs Council staff of their obligations in relation to handling personal information and when they can and cannot disclose, use or collect it.

Council also relies on exemptions to the PPIP Act provided to it in the Privacy Code for Local Government.

What is personal information?

Personal information is 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.

What is not personal information?

The PPIP Act ceases to cover personal information about an individual that is contained in a publicly available publication.

We consider the following to be publicly available publications:

  • an advertisement containing personal information in a local, city or national newspaper,
  • personal information on the internet, including social media,
  • books or magazines printed and distributed broadly to the public,
  • Council Business papers or that part that is available to the public,
  • personal information that may be part of a public display on view to the public.
The following information is also not personal information:
  • information about someone who has been deceased for more than 30 years, and
  • information or an opinion about a person’s suitability for employment as a public sector official.

Your personal information

Your consent 

By using this website, you consent to Council handling, using and disclosing your personal information to its agents or sub-contractors for the purposes described in this Privacy Statement and within Council’s Privacy Management Plan. If you do not consent to any such disclosure, please contact Council via the channels below. 

Help us ensure we hold accurate information

We take all reasonable precautions to ensure that the personal information we collect or receive, use and disclose is accurate, complete and up-to-date. However, the accuracy of that information depends to a large extent on the information you provide.

That is why we recommend you keep us up-to-date with changes to your personal information. 

Any personal information you provide us may be used:
  • for the purpose for which it was collected or provided, whether that be transactions carried out on this website or not,
  • for a purpose other than for which it was provided or collected and this latter purpose is directly related to the purpose for which the information was collected or provided,
  • to understand community and customer needs to improve our services whether through a statutory submissions process, a public exhibition of Council information, or surveys conducted by Council or its agents,
  • to administer and personalise this website for you,
  • to provide you with Council services and facilities,
  • to let you know about our services or other information available e.g. newsletters,
  • within other sections of Council, its agents and contractors to expedite services to our customers. The PPIP Act also binds our agents and contractors.
Any personal information may be used for a purpose other than the purpose for which it was provided or collected in the following circumstances:
  1. where the use or disclosure is for the purpose of undertaking Council’s lawful and proper function/s and Council is satisfied that the personal information is reasonably necessary for the exercise of such function/s, or
  2. where personal information is to be used or disclosed for the purpose of conferring upon a particular person, an award, prize, benefit or similar form of personal recognition, or
  3. where the use or disclosure is necessary in order to action or facilitate a response to your enquiry or any contact made with or provided to Council.

For example with respect to exemption (1) above, the Rates Record that Council holds under section 602 of the Local Government Act 2009 (NSW) may also be used to:

  • notify neighbours of a proposed development; or
  • evaluate a road opening; or
  • evaluate a tree preservation order, or
  • make contact with individuals in relation to COVID19, a natural disaster or any other devastating events, or, 
  • investigate, review or look into allegations made against individuals in terms of Council’s compliance and enforcement, and other regulatory powers such as development and building compliance, environmental compliance, and animal companion matters. 
We will only disclose your personal information if:
  • you have given actual or implied consent to disclose, or
  • the disclosure is required or permitted by legislation, or
  • it is necessary to lessen a treat to someone's life or health.
Your personal information may need to be accessed, disclosed to used by other Council departments to deal with your matter

Sometimes in order for your matter to be dealt with, it may need to be provided to another department within the Council. If you do not consent to this, you must notify Council that you do not consent to this.

For example, if you contact Council’s Development Services Team but you do not wish for the Rates team to have access to and use your personal information, you will need to specify this at the time of contact, and request that the officer notes this on your file, that you do not wish for your personal information to be accessed, disclosed or used by the Rates team. In the absence of such an explicit request, Council may allow for other Council departments to handle, access, use or disclose your personal information if necessary as outlined in this Privacy Statement. 

Information marked ‘Confidential’ and/or ‘for the addressee only’

The only time your personal information will be kept securely and confidentially is if you send correspondence via post in writing marked ‘Confidential and for the addressee only’.

Consultation will be undertaken with you before sending or providing it to a Council Official other than the one named within your contact or correspondence as the recipient.

What is not considered confidential correspondence or contact is:

  • any electronic correspondence sent or contact made with Council or Councillors, whether by sending an email to or any other Council email address,
  • any contact with Council’s online chat or social media,
  • phone calls to Council’s customer service centre or other Council facilities,
  • completing an online form,
  • hard copy letters and correspondence sent to Council’s postal address not marked ‘Confidential and for the addressee only’.
Complaints Handling

In accordance with Council’s Code of Conduct only code of conduct complaints are to be dealt with under Council’s Code of Conduct Procedures. Complaints that do not satisfy the definition of a code of conduct complaint are to be dealt with under Council’s routine complaints management processes.

However, if such complaints involve allegations about your privacy and personal information, the complaint will be dealt with as per Council’s Privacy Management Plan. This may require the complaint to be allocated to another Council Official for action and/or investigating.

Councillors and the Administration
The Councillors, including the Mayor, comprise the governing body of Council and are responsible for the strategic direction of Council. The General Manager is responsible for conducting the day-to-day management of Council’s affairs. The General Manager and the staff comprise the Administration of the Council.
The governing body is required to consult with the General Manager in directing and controlling the affairs of Council. As a result, any information relating to the affairs of Council, including personal information, which Councillors receive, must be forwarded to the administration staff for a response or action.

What happens when you call Council?

When you contact Council’s Customer Relations team by phone your call may be recorded. Information you provide to us will be collected, held, used and/or disclosed for the following purposes:

  1. to assist you with your enquiry,
  2. for quality assurance and training purposes,
  3. for complaint handling,
  4. to contact you in relation to continuous improvement of Council’s operations and services,
  5. and for any other purpose outlined in Council’s Privacy Management Plan and this Privacy Statement. 

Recordings are stored on Council’s computer servers within Council’s phone system for a period of 12 months, unless retained for longer. Council’s servers are held at 62-78 Vincent Street, Cessnock 2325. Please refer to this page for more information on how to access your personal information Council holds.

For the security of our customers, payment transaction information is not recorded – the call is paused in order for the customer to provide this information and the call is resume after this information is provided.

If you do not consent to having your call recorded, please advise the Customer Relations team member you are speaking to that you opt out. If you do opt out, Council will still handle and manage your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Management Plan and this Privacy Statement as legally required, but not for the purposes listed in 3. and 4. above. 

Your Rights

Under the PPIP Act, you have the right to access any of your personal information we hold, without excessive delay or expense.

You also have a right to have your personal information corrected, in certain circumstances. If you have any queries about privacy or wish to access or correct your personal information, click here. Alternatively, contact us on (02) 4993 4100 or via email

We will take reasonable care to make sure that your personal information we collect, use or disclose is accurate, complete and up to date. We will also take reasonable care to protect the personal information we hold from misuse, unauthorised access and modification.

To request a review of a Council decision relating to personal or health information, please complete an application for internal review

Other Important Information

Statistical information

When you visit our website to read or download information, the following information will be recorded for statistical purposes:

  • your server's address,
  • the name of the top level domain from which you access the Internet (for example, .gov, .com, .edu, .org, .au, .nz etc),
  • the type of browser you use,
  • the date and time you accessed this site,
  • the pages you accessed and the documents you downloaded,
  • the previous Internet address from which you linked directly to this site, and
  • the Internet address to which you link directly from this site. 
How do we use the information collected?

The information collected during each visit is used to create a statistics summary which allows Council to assess the number of visitors to the different sections of our sites, discover what information is most and least used, determine technical design specifications, and help make our sites more useful to visitors.

Is the information stored securely?

Yes. Information collected is stored in a secure format and protected by encryption technology, and held for archival purpose. If the information is no longer required for its intended purpose, it will be disposed of in accordance with General Authority 45 as issued under the State Records Act 1998 (NSW). Council’s Privacy Management Plan outlines how Council stores information to collects and receives. 


We track the pattern of visitor usage using a facility called a cookie. This cookie identifies and recognises the computer (but not the person using the computer) when you visit Council's website.

Cookies are pieces of information that a website can transfer to an individual's computer hard drive for record keeping.

The use of cookies is an industry standard and you will find most major websites use them. Most Internet browsers are pre-set to accept cookies. If you prefer not to receive cookies, you can adjust your Internet browser to disable cookies or to warn you when cookies are being used.

Links to other websites

Our website contains links to other websites. These linked sites are not under the control of Council.

We are not responsible for the management or protection of any personal information you provide to these sites.

Before you disclose personal information on any other website we recommend you examine the terms and conditions of using that website.

Children's privacy

We take all reasonable steps to protect the privacy of children.

We asks that children under the age of 18 have a parent or guardian submit personal information on their behalf when required.


We reserve copyright on our publications.

The content of this site is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), no part of any such content may be reproduced, modified, adapted or published in any way for any commercial purposes whatsoever.

Requests and enquiries concerning reproduction and copyright should be addressed in writing to:

General Manager
Cessnock City Council
PO Box 152


We are committed to quality service and we make every attempt to ensure accuracy, currency and reliability of the data contained in these documents. However, changes in circumstances after time of publication may impact the quality of this information. It is the user's responsibility to make their own decisions about the correctness of information found.

More information

Useful documents

The Information and Privacy Commission provides information further about privacy through the following fact sheets:

Report a data breach

To find out how to notify Council of a data breach, click here.