Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI Act 1992) has, as its objectives, to:

  • Enable the public to participate more effectively in governing the state; and
  • Make the persons and bodies that are responsible for the State and Local Government more accountable to the public.

In furthering these objectives, the FOI Act 1992 requires that respondent agencies publish an annual information statement. This document serves as an orientation guide to Council’s purpose, responsibilities and information is prepared in accordance with Part 5, section 94 of the FOI Act.

Section 94 of the FOI Act 1992 requires each agency to prepare an Information Statement which conveys the maximum possible detail to the public about the agency’s operations. Agencies are required to make this publication available ensuring the public has access to the information it needs to effectively use Freedom of Information.

This document details, among other things:

  • How we are governed
  • How the public can gain access to council documents

Copies of this document can be obtained from the Geraldton Civic Centre, 63 Cathedral Avenue, Geraldton; from the Mullewa District Office located at the corner of Padbury and Thomas Streets, Mullewa or from the city’s website.

Enquiries may be made to the City's Freedom of Information Coordinator on (08) 9956 6600 during business hours. We look forward to helping you find the information you need.

Access to documents under the FOI Act 1992

If documents are not readily available, you can apply for access under the FOI Act 1992. Requests should be made in writing (application form available) and submitted to the FOI Coordinator with the appropriate fee. An application form together with a schedule of charges may be obtained from the City’s website on www.cgg.wa.gov.au or by contacting the FOI Coordinator on 9956 6600.

Download the (GO01) Application for Access to Documents request from our Online Forms page.

FOI Procedures and Access Arrangements

It is the aim of the agency to make information available promptly and at the least possible cost, and whenever possible documents will be provided outside the FOI process.

If information is not routinely available, the FOI Act 1992 provides the right to apply for documents held by the City, ensuring public access to information that is accurate, complete, up-to-date and not misleading.

While the FOI Act 1992 provides general right of access to documents, it also recognises some documents require a level of protection, specifically those documents that meet the exemption criteria in Schedule 1, which includes (without limitation):

Personal Information

Information that would reveal personal information about an individual (e.g. their name, contact details, signature etc.) may be exempt under Schedule 1 Clause 3 of the FOI Act 1992 and section 5.95(8) of the Local Government Act 1995

Commercial Information

Information that would reveal trade secrets, information of a commercial value (e.g. documents containing technical designs that, if released, would reasonably be expected to destroy or diminish that commercial value the company), or the financial affairs of a person (e.g. debts owed to the City) may be exempt under Schedule 1 Clause 4 of the FOI Act 1992

Deliberative Process

Information that would reveal a decision made during a deliberative process closed to the public (e.g. confidential Council meeting) may be exempt under Schedule 1 Clause 6 of the FOI Act 1992 and section 5.23 of the Local Government Act 1995

Legal Professional Privilege

Information that would reveal legal advice may be exempt under Schedule 1 Clause 7 of the FOI Act 1992

Lodging Applications

FOI Application forms are available:

  • From the Geraldton Civic Centre Office front counter
  • From the Mullewa Office front counter
  • On the city’s website

FOI Applications must:

  • Be in writing
  • Give enough information so that the documents requested can be identified
  • Give an address in Australia to which notices can be sent; and
  • Be lodged with the City with the applicable fee payable

FOI Applications can be lodged by;

Mail:           City of Greater Geraldton

                   PO Box 101 GERALDTON WA 6531

Fax:            (08) 9956 6674

Email:         council@cgg.wa.gov.au

Or in person at the Geraldton Civic Centre.

Charges

Listed below is a scale of fees and charges set under the Freedom of Information Regulations 1993 (FOI Regulations 1993). Apart from the application fee for non-personal information, all charges are discretionary and are set by the City. The charges are as follows:

Regulatory charges
Application fee for personal information (about the applicant)   No fees
Application fee for non-personal information       $30.00
Council charges
Processing the application (per hour, pro rata)   $30.00
Access time supervised by staff (per hour, pro rata) $30.00
Photocopying staff time (per hour, pro rata)   $30.00
Per photocopy (per page)        $0.20
Transcribing from tape, film or computer information $30.00
Duplicating a tape, film or computer information  Actual cost
Delivery, packaging and postage       Actual cost

Deposits

  • An advance deposit may be required in respect of the estimated charges - 25%
  • Further advance deposit may be required to meet the charges for dealing with the application - 75%

Access Arrangements

Access to documents can be granted by way of inspection; a copy of a document; a copy of an audio or video tape; a computer disk; or a transcript of a recorded, shorthand or encoded document from which words can be reproduced.

Notice of Decision

As soon as possible but in any case within 45 days you will be provided with a notice of decision which will include details such as:

  • the date the decision was made
  • the name and the designation of the officer who made the decision
  • if access is refused, the reasons for claiming the document is exempt
  • information on the rights and the procedures to be followed to exercise those rights

Refusal of Access

Applicants who are dissatisfied with a decision of the agency are entitled to ask for an internal review by the agency. The internal review application should be made in writing within 30 calendar days after being given the agency's notice of decision. You will be notified of the outcome of the review within 15 calendar days.

If you disagree with the result you can apply to the Information Commissioner for an external review. The external review application should be made within 60 calendar days after being given the agency's written notice of the internal review decision. (Note: if you are requesting external review as a third party or following an application for amendment of personal information, you must lodge your external review application within 30 calendar days after being given written notice of the internal review decision).

How we are Governed

The City of Greater Geraldton was established on 1 July 2011 with the amalgamation of the former City of Geraldton-Greenough and the Shire of Mullewa. The City has a no ward system and is governed by 12 Councillors and a popularly elected Mayor.

The elected Council is responsible for the delivery of good governance and the setting of local laws, policies, strategy, delegations and the budget. They are also responsible for appointing a Chief Executive Officer who in turn is responsible for all the City’s operations, compliance and executive functions.

Integral to the City’s operations is the 110 pieces of legislation which prescribes how we provide service to the community and in some cases, constrains our capacity to recover costs.

Documents available outside the FOI Act 1992

The City creates and properly stores records of the City’s functions. Access to information held by the City is subject to provisions established in the FOI Act 1992 and the Local Government Act 1995 (LG Act 1995) with some information held may be subject to fees and charges. In all instances, the City will seek to provide access to information upon request except where restrictions apply as written in the FOI Act 1992 and other relevant legislation.

Information is made available through a range of methods including public statements, press releases, the City’s website, advertisements placed in the local and state-wide newspapers, library service and other publications.

The following documents are available for public inspection at the Council Civic Centre. Please note the limitations that apply to some documents (as per list below).

  • Annual Budget
  • Annual Financial Statements
  • Annual Report
  • Building Licence document
  • Business Plans prepared under section 3.59 of LG Act 1995
  • City of Greater Geraldton Council Policies
  • City Planning Scheme and Planning Policies
  • Code of Conduct
  • Corporate Business Plan
  • Documents released for public comment
  • Electoral Gift Register
  • Freedom of Information Statement
  • List of Fees and Charges imposed under section 6.16 of the LG Act 1995
  • Local Laws (including reports or proposals relating to Local Laws)
  • Media Releases
  • Minutes (Confirmed) of Council Meetings (including Agendas, Reports etc. that relate to the meeting - excluding those identified as confidential)
  • Minutes of Electors Meeting
  • Rate record
  • Register of Complaints referred to in section 5.121 of the LG Act 1995
  • Register of Delegations
  • Register of Financial Interests
  • Register of Gifts
  • Register of Notifiable Gifts
  • Register of Owners & Occupiers of land under section 4.32(6) of the LG Act 1995
  • Register of Tenders
  • Report on a supplementary audit prepared under section 7.12AH(1) of the LG Act 1995
  • Strategic Community Plan
  • Register of Delegations

The following documents are available on the City of Greater Geraldton website

  •  Map of the district showing district boundaries
  •  Up-to-date consolidated version of any local law made by the local government in accordance with section 3.12 of the LG Act 1995
  •  Annual budget
  •  Up to date list of fees and charges imposed under section 6.16 of the LG Act 1995
  •  Current plans for the future of the district made under section 5.56 of the LG Act 1995
  •  Confirmed minutes of council or committee meetings
  •  Minutes of electors meetings
  •  Notice papers and agenda relating to council or committee meetings (excluding those identified as confidential)
  •  Register of complaints in accordance of section 5.121 of the LG Act 1995
  • Censure orders in respect of a person who is a council member in accordance with section 5.110(6), 5.113 ,5.117(1) of the LG Act 1995
  • Register of Gifts
  • Register of Notifiable Gifts

Document

Limitations

Building Licence document

Only the owner or mortgagee of a building, or their authorised representative, may inspect any plan or other document relating to that building.

A non-owner may inspect or obtain a copy SUBJECT to written approval by the Owner.

Documents released for public comment

These can generally be accessed at the City’s Cathedral Avenue Offices

Minutes of Committee Meetings and Council Meetings (including Agendas, Reports etc. that relate to the meeting)

A person’s right to inspect information does not extend to the inspection of information where a meeting of Council or Committee, or a part of such a meeting, to which the information refers, is likely to be closed to members of the public. A person’s right to inspect information does not extend where it relates to any debt owed to the City.

Statutory Notices

Statutory notices are placed on Public Notice Boards located at the City’s Cathedral Avenue Offices, Mullewa Offices and at the public library.

Amendment of personal records

If the city holds records about your personal affairs, which you believe are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading, you can apply for them to be amended. Applications should be made in writing on the available application form and submitted to the FOI Coordinator.

City’s website

The City’s website provides information about the City including:

  • Bill pay information
  • Council information
  • Jobs available within the City
  • City’s facilities information
  • Community information
  • Council agendas and minutes
  • Information about requests for tenders and quotations

For further information about this document or how you can access documents held by the city, please contact the City's Freedom of Information Coordinator on 9956 6600 or via email the City.