Freedom of information

Under the Victorian Freedom of Information Act (1982) all of us can ask for information from governments (including local government) and a range of organisations.

There are rules to guide any request you may have for information from these organisations including:

Documents available under FOI

You can apply for access to documents that are held by Council which are covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

The term ‘document’ is broad and includes information in various formats (printed or electronic) such as (without limitation) photographs, letters, emails, maps or plans, reports, drawings, audio and video recordings and spreadsheets. 

Many Council documents are available without having to make a Freedom of Information request. Please refer to what  Information available to the public before making your application.

Documents not available under FOI

The Act does not apply to documents which are available to the public (or as part of a public register) or are documents available for purchase.

The Act sets out a number of exemptions relating to documents or information that cannot be provided. They include documents affecting legal proceedings, some internal working documents, documents containing commercial information provided by a business, information obtained in confidence (such as complaints) or documents affecting the personal privacy of other people. Documents dated prior to 1 January 1989 are also excluded. 

In some cases, access may be refused to an entire document, or access given to a document with exempt information deleted. Sometimes Council may not be able to identify any relevant documents to release.

What is the timeframe?

On receipt of a valid request (including the application fee of $29.60), Council has 30 days to respond with a decision and the reason for that decision. Extensions to this time may be required if third party consultation is required.

Providing a description of the document(s) you are seeking with as much detail and precision as possible will assist us to locate the document(s) and to respond promptly to your request.

Third party consultation

If the documents contain personal information of third parties, Council is obliged, under the Act, to consult with each party before making a decision to release the documents.

If Council makes a decision to release the third party’s information and the third party did not consent to the release of the information, they then have 60 days in which to appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).

Although a decision may be made to release the documents, they must be withheld by Council for 60 days pending the expiry of the appeal period.

How to make a request

You can make a request simply by completing the online request form

Online request form 

A valid Freedom of Information application must:

  • be made by the online request form, or lodged via FOI Online
  • clearly describe the specific documents or group of documents you want access to
  • it is recommended that you try to give a time period and describe the type of documents you want (such as reports, letters or permits) and not ‘all documents’ in a broad category. If your request is quite broad, you may receive and be charged for documents you don’t want access to.
  • include the application fee which is a non-refundable, fixed cost or provide evidence that you qualify to have an application fee waived under the hardship provisions. There may be other costs incurred in granting access to the documents you have requested.

Request Processing

Once your request is received, Council’s FOI officer will review it to make sure that all the necessary information has been included and the documents you are requesting have been clearly identified. The officer will contact you if more information is needed.

Council may not be able to identify any relevant documents to release. If there are relevant documents, the FOI officer will decide to either:

  • release all the documents you requested
  • release part of the documents you requested
  • release none of the documents you requested.

When your request has been processed, you will be sent a letter with the officer’s decision.

Under the Act, your request must be completed within 30 days from the date Council receives a valid request. Note: This time limit only applies if your request has all the details the officer needs to process it and the application fee has been paid or waived. The time limit can be extended in some circumstances, such as if third party consultation is required, or by agreement with you.

Part II Statement

Part II of the Freedom of Information Act ensures that individuals and organisations can effectively exercise their right to obtain access to government information which may affect them. To this end, they must be aware of what government does, how it acts and what information it holds.

Council releases a large amount of information through online and print publishing as well as person-to-person service provision. In order to comply with Part II of the Act, Council has developed Information Statements to show how it is making information readily available to the public. Making information easily accessible reduces the need for members of the public to submit requests under the Act.

Council's Part II Statement is available here, Freedom of information Part II Statement(PDF, 1MB)

Your appeal rights

If you disagree with a decision about your request, you may apply for review by the Information Commissioner. You must apply in writing within 28 days after you receive your decision letter, identifying Campaspe Shire Council and the decision to be reviewed. You may lodge your application by: 

Mail: Information Commissioner 
PO Box 24274
MELBOURNE   VIC   3001

Email: [email protected]

Fax: 03 8684 7588 

Complaints about the Freedom of Information process should also be directed to the commissioner. 

More information about the review process is available at the Freedom of Information webpage.

For further information contact:

Freedom of Information Officer
Campaspe Shire Council
PO Box 35
ECHUCA  VIC   3564

The Freedom of Information process is outlined in this Fact Sheet(PDF, 181KB).