Right to Information and Information Privacy Right to Information and Information Privacy

What is Right to Information?

On July 1, 2009 the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act 2009) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP Act 2009) were implemented by the Queensland Government.

The RTI Act 2009 aims to provide access to information in Gladstone Regional Council's possession or under its control unless on balance, it is contrary to the public interest to give the access.

The RTI Act 2009 is complemented by the IP Act 2009 established to give a right of access and to amend personal information.

Accessing information

Council is committed to providing the community with open and transparent access to information about Council services, activities and business operations.

Council provides information to the public in a number of ways, subject to legal and policy requirements.  You can check to see if the information you seek is already available for inspection or purchase by:-

Accessing information identified in the Publication Scheme

Where information identified in the Publication Scheme is available online, you can access it by:

  • Browsing the seven classes of information shown in council’s Publication Scheme; or
  • Searching for the information using the site’s search facility

Should you require information in another format, or where information is not available online, contact Council on (07) 4970 0700.

How to make an RTI application: 

RTI Applications are intended to be a last resort.  If you are unable to obtain the information via other means, you may wish to make a formal application as follows:-

  • Submit an application form
  • Payment of $49.70 application fee which must be paid at the time of application, if you are applying for one or more documents that do not contain your personal information  
  • If you are seeking access on a person’s behalf written authorisation from the person concerned is required.  Note: Legal representatives should refer to Office of the Information Commissioner's website - Evidence of authority and identity information.
  • Processing and access charges may also apply
  • All RTI applications should provide sufficient information to allow the identification of the documents you are seeking

Processing charges and access charges

Processing charges of $7.70 for every 15 minutes may also be payable. Processing charges will only be applied if the total time taken to process the application is more than five hours.  However, before any further amount is payable you will be given an estimate and can decide if you wish to continue with your application or amend the scope of the documents requested.

Access charges are applicable when requesting a copy of the document, calculated at 25 cents per A4 black and white copy.  Charges also apply where transcription of audio files is required.  Documents requested electronically via USB, disc or email will not incur access charges.

Waiver of charges

An application fee for RTI cannot be waived, however if you have a valid healthcare card or concession card, written application can be made to have the processing and/or access charges waived.

Exemptions

Access may be refused to all or part of a document due to exemptions and public interest tests provided within the legislation.

Examples of matters which may restrict the release of a document include:-

  • Budgetary information for local governments
  • Information subject to legal professional privilege
  • Information could endanger a person’s safety
  • Disclosure of the personal information of an individual
  • Disclosure of information that could affect confidential communications
  • Information that could disclose the trade secrets of an agency or another person
  • Information relating to Crime and Corruption Commission investigations

Disclosure Log

Under the Right to Information Act Council may place details of documents released which do not contain the applicant’s personal information. At this time, the Disclosure Log does not contain any records.

What is Information Privacy?

The IP Act 2009 allows you to apply for access to documents containing your personal information.  “Personal Information” is defined as “information or an opinion, including information or an opinion forming part of a database, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion”.

Examples of personal information include:-

  • A person’s name, address, phone number or email address
  • A photograph of a person
  • The fact that a person is a member, or leader, of an association and their attendance at meetings
  • A person’s medical details or health information
  • Details about a person’s religious or sexual preferences; and
  • Details about a person’s membership of a trade union or professional body

Note: if you are making an IP application, you will only receive documents containing your own personal information.

How to make an IP application:

  • Submit an application form
  • No application fee applies for applications under the IP Act
  • A certified copy of identification must be provided within 10 days of making an application, otherwise your application will be considered non-compliant.  This protects your personal information from release to another person without your consent.

Amendment applications

The IP Act allows you to make an application to have your personal information amended if you believe it is incomplete, inaccurate, out of date or misleading.  In some cases, the amendment can be achieved administratively as follows:-

  • To change your address
  • Contacting the relevant area of Council responsible for the information.

If the information cannot be amended administratively, you will be required to make a formal request to amend your personal information by completing the following form:-

Other Information

Submitting an RTI or IP application 

Prior to submitting an application ensure that you have read the application form carefully and completed all information required.  Failure to provide information may result in your application being considered non-compliant.

Applications can be lodged in person at the Customer Service Centres or by post addressed to:

Chief Executive Officer
Gladstone Regional Council
P.O. Box 29
Gladstone Qld 4680

Timelines

Council is required to process your application within 25 business days from receiving a valid application.  This time frame can be extended in some circumstances (for example, where charges need to be negotiated, Council needs to consult with a third party or Council requests additional time to consider the application).

Review rights

Applicants have 20 business days to lodge an external review with the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) of their decision notice.  There is no fee for making an external review.  For further information visit Office of the Information Commissioner - Applying for external review of an access or amendment decision.

More information