The South Australian Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the FOI Act) gives you a legal right to request access to any documents held by any organisation that the Act applies to, including Council.
Under the FOI Act you can:
- access documents within our possession (with some exceptions)
- amend documents relating to you which are incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.
The FOI Act requires that applications are made in writing. You can complete the online form, or email us at email@example.com, specifying that it is an FOI request.
You can apply for access to any document in our possession. Documents you can access could include:
- hard copy or electronic records
- maps or plans
- photographs, recordings, or videos
- any other means of storing information.
Documents can include copies of whole documents or parts of or extracts from documents.
When making an FOI application, you will need to provide enough information to help us find what you’re looking for. If you are uncertain how to define your request, contact our FOI Officer for assistance. You may be asked to provide proof of your identity to process your application. If you are seeking access to documents on behalf of another person relating to their personal affairs, you may be asked to provide written consent signed by that person.
Access to documents can be provided in different ways, depending on how the information is stored. The different ways you can access documents could include:
• inspecting documents
• requesting a copy of documents
• hearing or viewing audio or video
Let us know in your application how you’d like to access the documents.
Many of our documents, such as minutes and agendas for Council and committees, annual reports, budget statements and rates assessment books are already publicly available. An FOI application isn’t required to access these. You can view them by contacting or visiting us, or via our website.
If you are emailing us an FOI request, please include the following details:
- Postal address
- A description of the documents you’d like access to
- How you’d like access (inspect or receive copies)
- Whether your request relates to your personal affairs.
While FOI aims to give you access to the maximum amount of information possible, some exemptions are necessary to ensure the privacy of others or to ensure the proper administration of the Council is not unduly affected.
The types of documents that are exempt include (but are not limited to):
- historical records (where they exist)
- documents subject to legal professional privilege
- documents that lead to unreasonable disclosure of another’s 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.
Freedom of information request form
Once we’ve received your written application, we have 30 days to respond. We must notify you within 20 days if we need more time than this and give you reasons for the time extension. This most commonly occurs because there are a lot of documents in scope or there is third-party information involved.
Our 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 other person has 30 days to seek a review of the decision. 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.
If you are dissatisfied with our decision about your FOI application you can ask for an internal review by completing the FOI Internal Review of Determination Application Form.
You must lodge this application with us within the appeal period - 30 days after you’ve been notified of the decision to grant/refuse access to documents.
Application for Internal Review of FOI Determination $39.00.
If you are still dissatisfied after the internal review you may consider an external review of the determination by the Ombudsman of South Australia or by the District Court.
Accredited Freedom of Information Officer
City of Holdfast Bay
Brighton Civic Centre
24 Jetty Road,
Brighton SA 5048