The Freedom of Information Act gives individuals and organisations a general right to access information held by Council. It also provides a right of appeal if access to information through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request is refused.
How to make a request for information
To request a Council document under the Freedom of Information Act, fill in the FOI request form. You must also include the non-refundable application fee of $28.90
Send your request to:
Freedom of Information Officer
Swan Hill Rural City Council
PO Box 488
SWAN HILL VIC 3585
Some Council information is freely available and you may find what you need without making a Freedom of Information request.
If in doubt, speak to the Freedom of Information Officer about your request before sending the application form and fee.
All requests for information need details about the documents so they can be identified. This includes the estimated date range (if known) of the documents you’re looking for.
If you are unsure about what information is needed to identify your requested documents, the Freedom of Information Officer will help you.
The Freedom of Information Officer has 30 days from the date they receive a valid request to respond unless there is a requirement for mandatory notification to third parties, in which case, an additional 15 days will apply.
As well as the application fee, there are other costs where access to information is granted. These costs include:
- search fees
- supervision charges
- photocopying charges
- providing access in a form other than a photocopy
The costs for these charges are directed by the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014.
If costs are expected to be more than $50, you will be advised and requested to provide a deposit. You will also be asked if you want to continue with the request.
You also have the right to request a review of the charges.
Refusal of a request
Not all information is automatically available.
Under the Freedom of Information Act an organisation can refuse access to certain documents. These are often called ‘exempt’ documents.
- law enforcement documents
- confidential matters considered by Council
- some internal working documents
- documents covered by legal professional privilege such as legal advice
- documents with personal information about other people
- documents with “Commercial in-confidence” information or trade secrets
- information obtained in confidence
What if my Freedom of Information application is refused?
If you are refused access to documents or are not satisfied with the decision of the Freedom of Information Officer, you can apply for a review.
The request for a review must be made within 28 days by writing to:
Freedom of Information Commissioner
Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
Melbourne Victoria 3001