What is Freedom of Information (FOI)
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (FOI Act) gives you the right to request access to documents held by state and local government in Victoria. In particular, you may seek access to documents held by the Greater Shepparton City Council. Council is subject to the FOI Act and responds to FOI requests in accordance with the requirements of the Act.
The FOI Act has four basic principles:
- To provide a general right to access documents;
- To enable individuals to amend incorrect information about them held by government;
- To provide rights of review in relation to the previous two functions;
- To require agencies to publish certain details about themselves and their functions.
Any person may request access to documents that are held by Council.
Do I need to use FOI to access documents?
In many cases, you will be able to obtain information from Council, or elsewhere, without needing to lodge an FOI request.
Information which you may obtain without an FOI request includes information which is available publicly, such as on a public register and information which is available for purchase.
If you are unsure whether to lodge an FOI request, please contact Council's FOI officer on 03 5832 9700 or email@example.com, who will assist you in this regard.
What documents are available through FOI?
You have a right to make an FOI request for access to any documents held by Council.
This includes documents created by Council and documents supplied to Council by an external organisation or individual.
What information is not available through FOI?
The FOI Act sets out a number of situations in which Council may refuse to grant access to documents.
For example, this may be because the documents are considered to be exempt documents, such as where they contain information:
- about the personal affairs of another person;
- about someone else's business or trade secrets;
- that would undermine law enforcement if disclosed; and/or
- that has been supplied in confidence.
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.
Third parties mentioned in documents may need to be consulted and notified of requests made. They also may have appeal rights against decisions to release their personal or business information.
The FOI Act may not apply to documents that are already publicly accessible or available for purchase.
FOI requests may be refused if they are considered to be voluminous in nature, in that they would interfere substantially and unreasonably with Council's operations. If Council considers your FOI request to be voluminous, it will give you an opportunity to narrow the scope of the request so that it can be processed.
How to make an FOI Request
All requests must be in writing and be accompanied by an application fee of $31.80.
You may use the form below to submit an FOI request to Council.
This form can be used to make a Freedom of Information request to the Greater Shepparton City Council under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic).
An FOI request must be made in writing and clearly describe the document(s) being sought.
If your request relates to the correction or amendment of your own personal information held by us, you need to specify how and why you believe the information about you is incorrect, incomplete, misleading or out of date and detail the amendments you wish to make.
The request must contain sufficient information to enable the FOI Officer to identify the documents requested. On receipt of the request and the application fee, the FOI request will be processed by Council in accordance with the FOI Act.
Where a decision is made to refuse, partially refuse or defer access, the applicant will be notified in writing of the reasons for the refusal and their right to apply to the Victorian Information Commissioner to seek a review of the decision.
FOI Fees and Charges
The charges applicable for processing an FOI request are fixed in accordance with regulations made under the FOI Act.
The application fee for making an FOI request is currently $31.80. Payment is accepted via cash, EFTPOS, credit card, cheque or money order.
If payment of the application fee would cause you hardship, you may request that the application fee is reduced or waived. With any application for Council to waive the application fee, please also provide Council with a copy of your current concession card or other evidence of hardship.
Section 22 of the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014 (Vic) set out the charges that can be levied for the provision of documents. The key charges are outlined below.
- Application fee: $31.80
- Search and retrieval of documents: $23.85 (being 1.5 fee units) per hour or part of an hour
- Photocopying of documents (black & white): 20 cents per A4 page
- Supervised inspection of documents: $23.85 (being 1.5 fee units) per hour
If charges are likely to exceed $50, you will be notified and a deposit will be sought to proceed.
No charges apply to requests for the correction or amendment of your own personal information.
How to submit an FOI request to Council
FOI requests can be submitted in person, via email, post.
|Greater Shepparton City Council
90 Welsford Street
SHEPPARTON VIC 3630
Emails should be marked: Attention: FOI Officer
Greater Shepparton City Council
Locked Bag 1000
SHEPPARTON VIC 3630
Further information regarding FOI
Council has an FOI Policy which provides further detail regarding how Council processes FOI requests. For a copy of the FOI Policy, please download below.
Freedom of Information Act - Part II Statement
Part II of the Freedom of Information Act requires all agencies to publish a statement setting out the particulars of the agency, and listing all documents that are either produced by or in possession of the agency.
The purpose of this Part II Statement is to:
- make the community aware of the existence of documents held by the Greater Shepparton City Council;
- provide the community with the information needed to identify specific documents of interest; and
- provide details of how to apply for access to said documents.
Alternatively, if you would like to know more about FOI generally, you can obtain further information from the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner's website.
If you would like to contact us regarding any FOI related queries, please call Council's FOI officer on 03 5832 9700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.