Freedom of Information

View Council's Freedom of Information Application Form(PDF, 100KB)   

What is Freedom of Information?

The Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you the right to request information held by:

  • ministers
  • state government departments
  • local councils
  • most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities
  • public hospitals and community health centres
  • universities, TAFE colleges and schools.

The Act gives you:

  • the right to access documents about your personal affairs and the activities of government agencies; and
  • the right to request that incorrect or misleading information held by an agency about you be amended or removed.

What information is available?

You have a right to apply for access to documents that are held by an agency which is covered by the Freedom of Information Act. This includes:

  • Documents created by the agency.
  • Documents supplied to the agency by an external organisation or individual.

You can apply for access to:

  • Documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents.
  • Documents of a non-personal nature, not older than 5 July 1978.
  • Documents held by a Council, not older than 1 January 1989.

It is not only documents in paper form that are accessible. The word 'documents' covers a broad range of media including maps, films, microfiche, photographs, computer printouts, emails, computer discs, tape recordings and videotapes.

You may ask for a copy of the document, or you may request access to the document, for example, to see a film or to get a transcript of a tape recording.

What information is not available?

Not all information is automatically available.

The Act allows an agency to refuse access to certain documents or information. These documents or information are often called 'exempt' documents.

In some cases you may be refused access to an entire document. Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.

Some documents that you may not be able to access include:

  • cabinet documents
  • some internal working documents
  • law enforcement documents
  • documents covered by legal professional privilege, such as legal advice
  • documents containing personal information about other people
  • documents containing information provided to an agency in confidence
  • documents containing information provided to an agency by a business
  • documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.

This should not deter you from asking for access as each document is assessed on its merits before a decision is made

How to make a request

You can make a request yourself, or you can authorise another person (for example, a solicitor) to make a request on your behalf. If you want someone to make a request on your behalf for your personal information, you must give them your written authorisation.

Applications must:

  • be in writing
  • clearly describe the documents you are requesting access to and provide as much detail to allow them to reasonably identify the information you are requesting
  • include the $28.90 application fee
  • be made to the agency that holds the documents you are seeking.

If the documents are about your personal affairs, you should provide evidence of your identity. For example, a photocopy of your current drivers licence. If you are unsure about what ID to provide, please contact us.

Note: processing of your request cannot begin if any of the required information and payment is not supplied.

If you are unsure about what to include with the request, contact the FOI Officer at council.

For further information please refer to the Freedom of Information website - www.foi.vic.gov.au