Freedom of Information

The Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982 (The FOI Act) gives you the right to request access to documents held by State and Local government agencies.

Here, you can ask to see or get copies of:

  • documents about your personal affairs
  • Government policies and decisions
  • request that agencies amend or remove incorrect or misleading personal information. 

During the COVID-19 crisis Council continues to process requests for documents under the FOI Act. Please be mindful that processing times may be impacted due to staff working remotely to comply with government advice. Should you make a request, our FOI Officer will keep you up to the date with the status. 

Online

Step 1.Before making a request

Before you make a formal FOI request, contact the relevant Council area or the FOI Officer.

You may be able to access the documents you require without making an FOI request.

You have access to some documents on our website or you can make an online application.

You can refer to: 

What can I access?

Under the FOI Act you are able to request access to documents from Council, however, it is not guaranteed as documents may be exempt or contain exempt information - see ‘Exempt Documents’ below. 

Step 2.Making a Freedom of Information request

For an application to be valid it must be made in writing and accompanied by an application fee. You may apply for the application fee to be waived if payment would cause you hardship - see ‘Fees and Charges’ below. 

Please provide a clear description of the document(s) you wish to access when completing your FOI request. 

Lodge a Freedom of Information request

Step 3.After you make a request

Once receiving your request, under the FOI Act we have 30 days to notify you of the decision made in relation to access to document(s) or the correction/amendment of your personal information.  

If additional information is needed to find the requested documents, then the time frame will start once we obtain that required information.

The time to notify you about a decision on your request may be extended if:

  • an access charges deposit is required, and
  • a third party consultation is required.

Step 4.Consultation

Before deciding on access to a document, Council may need to seek the views of and consult with people, business and government agencies that could be affected by the release of the material.  

Circumstances where this must occur include when documents contain:

  • personal information that identifies any individual (other than the FOI applicant)
  • material provided by a business or government agency
  • information that may have been communicated in confidence.

If we decide to grant you access to information relating to a third party, that third party is allowed to appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days. Documents may not be provided to you until this appeal period has passed.

Step 5.Appeal and review

You will be notified in writing of the decision on access to your requested documents.  

If you are not granted access to your requested document(s) you will be provided reasons.  

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, see below. 

Other options

Step 1.Before making a request

Before you make a formal FOI request, contact the relevant Council area or the FOI Officer.

You may be able to access the documents you require without making an FOI request.

You have access to some documents on our website or you can make an online application.

You can refer to: 

What can I access?

Under the FOI Act you are able to request access to documents from Council, however, it is not guaranteed as documents may be exempt or contain exempt information - see ‘Exempt Documents’ below. 

Step 2.Making a Freedom of Information request

For an application to be valid it must be made in writing and accompanied by an application fee. You may apply for the application fee to be waived if payment would cause you hardship - see ‘Fees and Charges’ below. 

Please provide a clear description of the document(s) you wish to access when completing your FOI request.  

Download and complete Council’s FOI request form(PDF, 141KB) and send your application to us via your chosen method below.

Email

info@kingston.vic.gov.au

Post

Post to The FOI Officer, City of Kingston, PO Box 1000, Mentone 3194

In person

Lodge at Council’s Customer Care Centre, 1230 Nepean Highway Cheltenham (Monday to Friday 8:30am - 5pm)

Step 3.After you make a request

Once receiving your request, under the FOI Act we have 30 days to notify you of the decision made in relation to access to document(s) or the correction/amendment of your personal information.  

If additional information is needed to find the requested documents, then the time frame will start once we obtain that required information.

The time to notify you about a decision on your request may be extended if:

  • an access charges deposit is required, and
  • a third party consultation is required.

Step 4.Consultation

Before deciding on access to a document, Council may need to seek the views of and consult with people, business and government agencies that could be affected by the release of the material.  

Circumstances where this must occur include when documents contain:

  • personal information that identifies any individual (other than the FOI applicant)
  • material provided by a business or government agency
  • information that may have been communicated in confidence.

If we decide to grant you access to information relating to a third party, that third party is allowed to appeal the decision to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days. Documents may not be provided to you until this appeal period has passed.

Step 5.Appeal and review

You will be notified in writing of the decision on access to your requested documents.  

If you are not granted access to your requested document(s) you will be provided reasons.  

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, see below. 

You can ask for access to any document held by Kingston City Council. In some cases, however, access may not be granted, or documents may be provided in a redacted form, due to exemptions permissible under the FOI Act.  

Exemption(s) are put in place for the protection of essential public interests and of private and business affairs.

Exemptions most commonly found in council documents include: 

  • Section 30(1) - internal working documents
  • Section 31(1) - law enforcement documents
  • Section 32(1) - documents affecting legal proceedings (legal advice or opinions)
  • Section 33(1) - information of an individual’s personal affairs information (names, addresses, phone numbers)
  • Section 34(1) - information relating to trade secrets (i.e. putting a commercial business at an unreasonable disadvantage)
  • Section 35(1) - information obtained in confidence
  • Section 38 - information that is considered secret or confidentiality under other legislation. 

Under section 22 of the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014, access charges are applicable to FOI requests.

The application fee and access charges increase annually on 1 July.

A summary of the charges is as follows:

Requests Received 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023
Application fee* $30.60
Search time (per hour or part thereof)

$22.90 per hour

Supervision for inspection of documents (per hour: calculated per quarter hour or part thereof) $22.90 per hour
Up to 15 minutes: $5.70
15 to 30 minutes: $11.50
Photocopying (black and white A4) 20 cents
Photocopying (other formats) Reasonable costs incurred by the agency

Please note:

  • 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 will be between $50.00 and $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 estimated charge.
  • Documents are not provided until the applicable charges are paid.

*Application Fee Waivers

The application fee may be waived if payment would cause you hardship. Council requires evidence of hardship to waive the fee.

Examples of suitable evidence include:

  • a copy of the applicant’s valid Health Care card, or
  • A Pensioner Concession card.

The Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC) is an independent regulator and source of independent advice to the community and Victorian government about how the public sector collects, uses and discloses information.

You can contact OVIC for:

  • a review of an FOI decision made by Council, or
  • if you have a complaint about the way Council has handled your request. 

For further information about FOI, see the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner