FOI is an administrative process that enables you to:
- access documents within our possession (subject to certain legal restrictions)
- amend documents relating to you which are incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.
FOI means you can apply for access to documents in our possession, such as hard copy or electronic records; files; maps or plans; photographs, recordings, films or videotapes.
Many Council documents are ordinarily available to the public and do not require an FOI application. Council’s FOI Statement details the types of documents that are available for public inspection, which includes:
- Council and committee agendas and minutes
- strategic management plans
- annual report
Many of the publicly available documents may be found on this website; or can be inspected or purchased at Council’s principal office - Civic Centre, George Street, Millicent.
If you wish to make an application for access to a Council document, which is not already publicly available, then it will be necessary to complete an FOI Application.
FOI aims to maximise the amount of information available, however a number of exemptions apply. This means that some documents are not available either in part or whole. The Freedom of Information Act 1991 details the types of documents that are exempt and includes, but is not limited to:
- documents subject to legal professional privilege
- documents that lead to unreasonable disclosure of another’s personal affairs
- documents that contain information of commercial value relevant to Council or any other person, where disclosure could be reasonably expected to destroy or diminish the commercial value of the information.
Accredited FOI Officers are able to take enquiries about FOI requests by calling 08 8733 0900 or visiting Council's principal office.
Applying for Access to Documents
FOI requests must be received in writing and contain certain information before Council is required to process it.
You can use an FOI Application Form to submit your request or you will need to ensure that your application contains the following information:
- state that you are making an application under the Freedom of Information Act 1999
- clearly state your name, address and a contact telephone number
- specify the documents you would like access to or what matter they concern
- specify if the documents contain information about your personal affairs
- state what kind of access to the document you need (e.g. to view, receive a copy, etc)
- pay the application fee
- specify if you are financially disadvantaged (please provide a copy of supporting documentation)
- is sent directly to us or lodged at one of our offices if you believe we hold the information.
FOI applications should be forwarded to:
Wattle Range Council
Freedom of Information Officer
PO Box 27
Millicent SA 5280
Fees and Charges apply in relation to FOI requests. The Freedom of Information Act and Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations sets out the fees and charges that may apply to an application.
Processing FOI Applications
Once a valid FOI application has been received an Accredited FOI Officer has 30 days to respond. During this time the Officer will:
- undertake a search to find documents relevant to the application
- examine documents found
- consult with relevant third parties
- make a determination about the release of the documents (e.g. to release in full, part or to exclude)
- notify the applicant of the determination
Third Party Consultation
Depending on the information requested, an Accredited FOI Officer must not give access to a document unless they consult with all relevant third parties to seek their views about the disclosure. The third party has 30 days to seek a review of the officer's decision in relation to the document(s). Access to documents may be deferred until consultation has taken place with all other parties and no documents in dispute will be released until the review period ends or until any review applications have been determined.
Notification of Determination
An Accredited FOI Officer will contact you in writing to inform you of the decision made about your FOI application. If you’re granted access to a document, we’ll make arrangements with you to give you that access.
Access to documents may be deferred until consultation processes have taken place.
If you’re refused access to a document, given partial access, or refused amendment of a document, you’ll be given written reasons for the decision as well as information about your rights of appeal.
Review of Determination
If you are unhappy with the determination made regarding your application you can ask for an internal review by completing the FOI Internal Review of Determination Application Form.
You must lodge an application for review within 30days of being notified of the determination and pay an application fee.