Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 is an Act to provide for public access to documents, and to enable the public to ensure that personal information in documents held by the Shire is accurate. There are two categories of documents held by the Shire of Northam.

These can be broadly categorised as those available for inspection or purchase outside the constraints of the Act and those through their content, must be held confidentially with public access considered only through the provisions of the Act. The Shire of Northam aims to provide access to documents outside the FOI process wherever possible.

People have the right of access to documents held by Ministers, State Government departments, local governments and other statutory authorities and can apply for access to the documents of an agency or local government. This right is not affected by any reason the person has for wishing to obtain access or the local government’s belief as to what the reasons are for wishing to obtain access.

There are exemptions, however, for giving access to some documents. These exemptions include the protection of essential public interest, the personal or business affairs of others or the deliberate processes of local government.

It is the local government’s intention to provide access to requested documents, wherever possible, in the ordinary course of daily work provided that in so doing no harm is inflicted upon the rights or interests of private individuals or commercial organisations.

Where requested documents are of a sensitive nature the application will be dealt with under the provisions of the Act taking into account all parties concerned. It is our belief that this strategy will facilitate the provision of information to the public in a prompt and cost effective manner whilst still observing the need to preserve the confidentiality of classified information.

If the documents you require access to are obtainable via a website or can be purchased or are available under the Local Government Act they cannot be applied for under the Act.

Documents Not Subject To Freedom of Information Act include:

  • Annual Budget
  • Annual Report
  • Code of Conduct
  • Register of Complaints (Section 5.121 Local Government Act 1995)
  • Contracts of CEO & Senior Employees (only salary and remuneration benefits)
  • Council and Committee Agenda’s and Minutes (excluding sections closed to the public)
  • Council Local Laws and proposed local laws
  • Delegated Authority Register
  • Freedom of Information Statement
  • Owners and Occupiers Roll
  • Corporate Business Plan
  • Strategic Community Plan
  • Policy Manual
  • Pound Register
  • Register of Fees and Charges levied by Council
  • Register of Financial Interests

How to apply for Freedom of Information

You can ask to see any document that the Shire holds. Please note that the Shire can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Please complete a Freedom of Information Request form, but note, fees and charges will be applied depending on the request.

Freedom of Information Application Form

Fees and Charges

Personal information or amendment of personal information about yourself (e.g. your medical records; details of employment etc): No Charge

Application fee for non personal information (Mandatory)

$30.00

Application for personal information

No fee

Charges (GST Applicable)

Charge for staff dealing with application and photocopying

$30.00/hr

Supervised access to records for inspection only

$30.00/hr

Transcribing information from tape, film or computer

$30.00/hr

Photocopying

$0.20/page

Duplicating a tape, CD, DVD or computer information

Actual cost

Delivery, packing and postage

Actual cost

Advance deposits

Advance deposits may be required by the Shire under Section 18(1) of the Act, as a percentage of the estimated charges which will be payable in excess of the application fee: 25%

Further advance deposit which may be required by the Shire under Section 18(4) of the Act, expressed as a percentage of the estimated charges will be payable in excess of the application fee: 75%

Forms of Access

Where the Shire is unable to grant access in the form requested, access may be given in a different form.

Documents Held by Another Agency

If the Shire does not hold the documents but is aware another Agency does, the Shire must transfer the access application to the other Agency. Notice must be provided to the applicant of the transfer details stating on which day the application was transferred.

Notes:

  • Please provide sufficient information to enable the correct document(s) to be identified.
  • The Shire may request proof of identity.
  • If you are seeking access to document(s) on behalf of another person or organisation, the Shire will require authorisation, usually in writing.
  • Your application will be dealt with as soon as practicable (and, in any case, within 45 days) after it is received.

Further Information

Shire of Northam Freedom of Information Statement

Further information can be obtained from the Office of the Information Commissioner;

  1. Mail: PO Box Z5386, St George’s Terrace, Perth, WA, 6831
  2. In person: 12th Floor, St Martin’s Tower, 44 St George’s Terrace, Perth, WA, 6000
  3. Phone: 08 9220 7888 (or for country W.A. callers only: 1800 621 244)
  4. Fax: 08 9325 2152
  5. Website: www.foi.wa.gov.au