Freedom of Information

Freedom of Information (FOI) is a process which gives citizens access to documents held by their governments, whether federal, state or local. 

FOI is an important principle in democratic societies and helps to ensure government accountability.

Here is more information on:

Which documents are available?
How long will my request take?
What document should I ask for?
How much does it cost?
How to make an FOI application

Freedom of Information Statement

The Freedom of Information Statement, describes Council’s powers and functions, the documents and information that Council keeps and the ways you can get access to them:

docx format Part II Information Statement for Freedom of Information Act City of Yarra July 2015 (396.66 KB)

Which documents are available?

The principal legislation affecting FOI in Victorian municipal councils is the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

In essence, the general principle of FOI is that all documents in Council’s possession are available to the public.  However FOI does not give citizens unlimited access to documents.

There are several important restrictions on the types of documents available under FOI. For example, documents which may not be available include:

  • ‘exempt documents’ such as internal working documents, law enforcement documents, documents relating to legal proceedings, or documents affecting the personal privacy of other people
  • documents which are already publicly available or available by paying a fee under another Act
  • documents which were created before 1 January 1989.

Unless required by law, letters of complaint are not released. For example, a letter from a resident complaining about a neighbour’s dog would not be released.

How long will my request take?

The FOI Act gives Council up to 45 days to provide access to the documents you request, or tell you why we will not provide access.  However we generally finalise requests within 14 – 21 days.

If you require the information urgently, please tell us. We will try to process your application more quickly but cannot guarantee a specific response time.  In some instances, older files may be required to be retrieved off-site from archives or the Public Records Office. Documents cannot be released until we have assessed them in accordance with the FOI Act.

To avoid disappointment, you should plan ahead and lodge your FOI application as soon as possible.

What document should I ask for?

When requesting documents, make your FOI application as specific or detailed as possible. If you seek a particular document, tell us. This will help us search for the document and respond promptly to your request.

For example, if you seek a photocopy of a specific report, try to tell us the date of the report, the title or subject of the report, the specific address or street the report relates to, or the time period it relates to.

How much does it cost?

It costs $27.90 to lodge an FOI application. We will not start processing your application until you pay the application fee.

In some instances there may be additional processing fees (such as search, supervision or photocopying costs) but we will tell you about these costs, if relevant.

How to make an FOI application

You can make an FOI application by:

Send your application form and a cheque or money order covering the $27.90 application fee to:

The Freedom of Information Officer
Yarra City Council
PO Box 168

Cheques or money orders must be made payable to ‘Yarra City Council’.

Further Information
Ivan Gilbert
Executive Manager – Chief Executive’s Office
9205 5110

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