Freedom of Information
The Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you the right to request access to information held by State and Local government agencies. The Act allows you to access documents held about you, including those concerning your personal affairs. You can request that agencies amend or remove incorrect or misleading personal information.
You can ask for access to any document held by Kingston City Council, but some are exempt under the Act. The more common exemptions relevant to Local Government are documents:
- affecting personal privacy (such as names, addresses, phone numbers) - section 33(1)
- relating to trade secrets (putting a commercial business at an unreasonable disadvantage) – section 34(1)
- of copyright status like plans (building, planning), drawings, photos – section 23(3)(c)
- affecting legal proceedings (legal advice or opinions) – section 32(1)
- prepared for and used at a meeting closed to the public (such as minutes, reports) – section 38A
How to make a Freedom of Information request
All requests must be made in writing by using the online form. An application fee of $28.90 will apply. Your request must clearly describe the document(s) being sought and include your name, address, contact number(s) and in what form the documents are required (e.g. copy or inspection).
To complete a Freedom of Information (FOI) request online - click here
If you require a downloadable version of the FOI form - please click here
Options for sending downloadable forms include via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, via mail to PO Box 1000, Mentone 3194 or drop off at one of our Customer Care Centres.
Under section 22 of the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014, access charges are applicable to FOI requests. A summary of the charges is as follows:
Application fee $28.90*
Search time $21.70 per hour or part thereof
Supervision fee $5.40 (each 15 mins)
Copying Charges 20 cents per black and white A4 page
- No charges apply to requests for the correction or amendment of your own personal information.
- Under section 22(4) of the FOI Act, if it is estimated that the charges may exceed $50.00 and is below $100.00, a deposit of $25.00 is required before the request is further processed.
- If the calculated amount will exceed $100.00, the required deposit amount is 50% of the charge.
- Documents are not provided until the applicable charges are paid.
*Application fees may be waived in certain circumstances (e.g. for applicants who hold a current health care or pension card – a copy of the card must be submitted with your request). The application fee increases each year on 1st July.
Under the Act, there is a 30 day timeframe from receiving a valid request to making a decision on whether to release the document(s), and 30 days to make a decision relating to the correction or amendment of your own personal information. Extensions to this time may be required if third party consultation is required. You will be notified of the decision in writing.
Where third parties are mentioned in the documents, consultation is required with each party before making a decision to release documents. Where a decision is made to release a 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 release the information. The appeal is made to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). Although a decision may be made to release the material, it must be withheld for 60 days pending the expiry of the appeal period.
Appeal and Review
When you receive a decision about your request you’ll be advised of your rights to seek a review of Council’s decision by the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.
The Council’s Freedom of Information Officer is available on 1300 653 356 to handle enquiries and assist applicants in making a valid request.