Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 gives the public the right to apply for access to documents held by the City of Stirling (subject to some limitations). It is an individual’s responsibility to ensure that personal information held by the City is accurate, complete and up-to-date.  

Documents accessible under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) include (but are not limited to):

  • Paper records
  • Maps, plans and drawings
  • Electronic records including emails.

Access rights do not apply to documents that are already publicly available.

While the FOI Act provides a general right of access to documents, it also recognises some documents require a level of protection; specifically those documents that meet the exemption criteria in Schedule 1 of the Act, which includes (but is not limited to):

  • Personal information that identifies a third party
  • Information concerning trade secrets
  • Information of commercial value
  • Any documents, which if released, would have a detrimental effect on the functioning of the City or would harm the interests of private individuals or commercial organisations.

More examples of exemptions can be found on the Office of Information Commissioner website.

  • Part 5 of the FOI Act requires the City to prepare and publish an Information Statement which includes:

    • The City's mission statement
    • Details of legislation administered by the City
    • Details of the City's structure and functions
    • Details of decision-making functions within the City
    • Opportunities for public participation in the formulation of policy and performance of the City's functions
    • Documents held by the City
    • The operation of FOI in the City.
  • To access documents under FOI, the application has to:

    • Be in writing
    • Include specific details to identify the requested documents. General requests, such as ‘all documents’ for an unspecified period of time can involve unnecessary resources, be time consuming and costly to the applicant
    • Have an Australian address and telephone number.

    Fees

    There are no fees if the application is for personal information relating to the applican. A fee of $30 is required for other applications and there may be additional charges for dealing with the request if the search for documents is extensive and ancillary costs need to be applied.

    The fees and charges schedule can be viewed here.

    Decision

    The FOI Act provides a 45-day time-frame from the date an application is received, to the City handing down its notice of decision.

    Once the City receives a valid application, a search will be conducted to identify the requested documents.

    The documents will be reviewed against the exemptions set out under Schedule 1 of the FOI Act. If and where required, the City will consult with third parties.

    The notice of decision will detail:

    • The process undertaken
    • The documents identified as falling within the scope of the application
    • Any information that is withheld (due to exemptions)
    • The options available to the applicant should the applicant be dissatisfied with the decision.

    Should you have any queries about the process or the information statement, please contact the Freedom of Information officer by phoning our Contact Centre.

    For more information, please visit the Office of the Information Commissioner website.

Freedom of Information - FAQ's

Can I get the owner details of my neighbour regarding a fence issue or other property query?

This is not supported by FOI. 

A person can request the owner details of an adjoining property subject to completing a statutory declaration stating the reason or purpose for the request (some conditions apply).

Can I get a copy of our neighbour’s development plans?

Plans are subject to copyright and cannot be copied without the owner’s consent.

Section 27 provides for the agency to allow access by viewing but any internal layout detail is required to be redacted as per Clause 5 of the FOI Act.

Section 27
27. Ways in which access can be given
(1) Access to a document may be given to the applicant in one or more of the following ways:
(a) by giving a reasonable opportunity to inspect the document.

(2) If the applicant has requested that access to a document be given in a particular way the agency has to comply with the request unless giving access in that way
(b) would involve an infringement of copyright belonging to a person other than the State, in which case access may be given in some other way.

Schedule 1 (Clause 5)
5. Law enforcement, public safety and property security
(1) The matter is an exempt matter if its disclosure could reasonably be expected to –
(e) endanger the life or physical safety of any person
(f) endanger the security of any property.

Can I get the contact details of the person complaining about construction works on my property?

This information is considered personal information about a third party and is exempt under Clause 3 of the FOI Act.

Schedule 1 (Clause 3)
3. Personal information
The matter is an exempt matter if its disclosure would reveal personal information about an individual (whether living or dead).

I was the victim of a dog attack recently; can I have the dog owner’s contact details?

This information is considered personal information about a third party and is subject to Clause 3 of the FOI Act.

Schedule 1 (Clause 3)
3. Personal information
Matter is exempt matter if its disclosure would reveal personal information about an individual (whether living or dead).

Why was a decision made without consultation?

The intent of the FOI Act is to provide documentation, not to answer specific questions; these can be directed to the relevant business unit for a response.