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Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 provides individuals and organisations the general right of access to documents/information held by Council. It also provides the right of appeal in relation to decisions to refuse access to information made to Council regarding Freedom of Information requests.

How do I make a request?

To make a request for a Council document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982, your request should be made in writing providing sufficient information to enable to the documents to be identified, and where possible including a date range of the documents requested. To make sure you include all the information we need to process your application, you can download a copy of the Freedom of Information: Request to Access Documents here.

The request must be accompanied by an application fee of $27.00 and forwarded to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Mount Alexander Shire Council
PO Box 185
CASTLEMAINE VIC 3450

The application fee is non refundable so it is important you are confident that Council has the documents that you are requesting. Also be aware that some Council information is freely available and you may find the information you require can be obtained without making a Freedom of Information request. You can check this by searching our website or calling Council’s Customer Service line on 5471 1700, explaining what you are looking for and asking for the appropriate Council business unit.

If the information you seek relates to a Planning Permit application, please contact the Planning Unit before lodging a request. Also be aware of copyright laws, Council cannot release development plans unless the owner of the plans (usually the architect) has authorised their release.

In accordance with legislation, Council will respond to your request within 45 days. Search and access charges allowable under the Act may apply to your request.

Refusal of a Request

Not all information is automatically available; the Freedom of Information Act allows Council to restrict access to certain documents. These documents called ‘exempt’ documents. Examples of documents that may not be released include:

• law enforcement documents
• confidential matters considered by Council
• some internal working documents
• documents covered by legal professional privilege such as legal advice
• documents containing personal information about other people
• documents containing "Commercial in-confidence" information or trade secrets
• information obtained in confidence
• personal details of others

What if my Freedom of Information application is refused?

If you are refused access to documents, or are not satisfied with an action or decision taken by the Freedom of Information Officer you have a right to apply for a review of your original request to Victoria’s FOI Commissioner. The request for a review must be made within 28 days.

You can contact the FOI Commissioner:

Freedom of Information Commissioner – Reviews
Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
Melbourne Victoria 3001
DX 210287
Telephone: 1300 842 364
Email: enquiries@foicommissioner.vic.gov.au

Where can I get more information about Freedom of Information?

For additional information, visit the Department of Justice’s Freedom of Information website at www.foi.vic.gov.au.

Freedom of Information Section II Statement - what information does Council hold?

Section II of the Freedom Information Act requires Council to clearly explain the types of information it holds and how community members may access this. This statement will assist community members exercise their rights to obtain access to information held by Council by providing information about what Council does, how it makes decisions, what information it holds and how to access the information.

This statement can be downloaded below.

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