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Right To Information Act, 2009
Information Privacy Act 2009
1. About Right To Information and Information Privacy
The Right To Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act) extend, as far as possible, the right of the community to have access to information held by council. Visit www.legislation.qld.gov.au to see a copy of either Act.
1.1 The primary objective of the RTI Act is to give a right of access to information in council's possession or under council's control unless, on balance, it is contrary to the public interest to give the access.
1.2 The primary objective of the IP Act is to provide for:
- the fair collection and handling in the public sector environment of personal information; and
- (b) a right of access to, and amendment of, personal information in council's possession or under council's control unless, on balance, it is contrary to the public interest to give the access or allow the information to be amended.
Documents include paper, microfiche, printouts, computer records, electronic documents, visual material (eg: films, photographs) and audio-visual material.
Under the RTI Act and IP Act some documents or parts of documents are exempt if their disclosure is contrary to the public interest, to protect essential public interests or the personal or business affairs of others. For example, council is highly unlikely to release the name and address of a complainant.
Full details of exemption categories and disclosure and non disclosure in the public interest articles are contained in Schedule 3 and 4 of the RTI Act.
2. How to make an application
It is strongly recommended that you contact council's Right To Information and Information Privacy Decision Maker prior to submitting an application. This may result in administrative access being made available to you or reduced processing time, saving you additional charges. Council's Right To Information and Information Privacy Decision Maker can be contacted on 1300 242 686.
The form to be used for the purpose of lodging an application is - "Right To Information and Information Privacy Access Application Form"
This form can be sent to you or can be downloaded from the Office of the Information Commissioner Website. Visit www.rti.qld.gov.au
- be made in the approved form and be accompanied, where applicable, by the application fee; and
- should provide sufficient information to allow the identification of the documents you are seeking; and
- state an address to which notices under the Act may be sent to the applicant;
- provide evidence of identity for the applicant if applying for personal information;
- provide evidence of identity and evidence of authority if an agent is acting for the applicant.
3. Cost of Information Privacy Application
There is no application or processing fee for applications made as Information Privacy applications seeking your personal information. In certain circumstances access charges may be applicable or may be waived (s.64, s.66 & s.67 of the RTI Act) where proof of financial hardship is sought and approved by council or the Information Commissioner.
4. Cost of Right to Information Application
There is an application fee of $41.90 for applications made as Right To Information applications. Processing charges of $6.45 per 15 minutes, or part thereof, may also apply and charges may also apply for making copies of the document(s). In certain circumstances processing and access charges may be waived (s.64, s.66 & s.67 of the RTI Act) where proof of financial hardship is sought and approved by council or the Information Commissioner.
5. Evidence of identity
Evidence of identity will be required when seeking documents relating to your personal information. This can be provided as set out in the general information for applicants on page 2 of the Right To Information and Information Privacy Access Application Form.
6. Lodgement and payment of applications
Applications, with the required application fee where applicable, can be lodged in two ways:
(1) By post, addressed to:
The Chief Executive Officer
(2) Personally, between the hours of 8.30 am and 4.30 pm at one of council's customer service centres located in Blackwater, Capella, Duaringa, Emerald, Rolleston, Springsure and Tieri.
7. Processing the application
RTI applications are generally processed within 25 business days of receipt.
A Charges Estimate Notice (CEN) will detail, where applicable, the preliminary estimate of charges that will be payable in addition to the application fee.
Where processing and access charges apply, they must be paid before an applicant is given access to the document(s).
8. Disclosure of documents of concern to a third party (s.37)
If the documents sought could reasonably be of concern to
- a government
- an agency (a department, local authority or public authority)
- a person
then such documents may not be released until consultation with the third party occurs. This consultation may increase by 10 business days the length of time to finalise the application.
9. Giving Access to Others - Disclosure Logs
If council makes a decision in relation to an access application to give access to a document that does not contain personal information of the applicant and the applicant accesses the document within the access period:
- a copy of the document may be included in a disclosure log if this is reasonably practicable; or
- otherwise, details identifying the document and information about how the document may be accessed may be included in a disclosure log.
For full details on Disclosure Logs and how they operate, please refer to the RTI Act, Division 2, s.78
10. Applicant's rights of appeal
If you are not satisfied with a decision on your application, you have the right to ask for a review.
A person affected by a reviewable decision may apply to have the decision reviewed by the Agency dealing with the application.
The definition of what is a reviewable decision is contained in Schedule 6 of the RTI Act. To remove any doubt, it is declared that the following decisions in relation to an access application are not reviewable decisions for internal review:-
- a decision on an internal review application;
- a decision by an agency's principal officer;
- a decision by a Minister;
- a decision by a healthcare professional appointed under s.30 or s.31;
- a decision about the amount of a charge stated in a charges estimate notice
If you wish to appeal by way of an internal review, you should submit a written request to council's Chief Executive Officer for a review within 20 business days of becoming aware of council's decision. An officer senior to the original decision maker will carry out an internal review and inform you of the outcome within 20 business days of receiving your request for an internal review.
You may also apply in writing for an external review to the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC). The following options are available to you:
- telephone if you have questions about an external review or would like a copy of the OIC brochure on RTI or IP or information for External Review Participants;
- visit the website of the OIC for Information Sheets, and links to the RTI Act and the IP Act;
- email your application for external review if you are able to attach all relevant documents and correspondence.
telephone: (07) 3005 7155
fax: (07) 3005 7150
mail: PO Box 10143, Adelaide Street, Brisbane 4000
office: Level 4, 300 Adelaide Street, Brisbane 4000
11. Any other questions or concerns
It is anticipated that there will be a settling in period with this new legislation. If some aspect of the new RTI or IP legislation is not clear, you are encouraged to speak to council's Right to Information and Information Privacy Decision Maker on 1300 242 686.
To be directed to the Right to Information website, click here.
Download the Right to Information and Information Privacy Access Application Form here.