The purpose of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1991 is to make the business of government open and accountable to all.
FOI gives you a legally enforceable right of access to documents within South Australian state and local government possession.
The City of West Torrens actively complies with the Freedom of Information provisions and welcomes enquiries under these provisions.
FOI allows you to:
- access documents within our possession (subject to certain legal restrictions)
- amend documents relating to you which are incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.
Our Accredited FOI Officers can help you decide if you need to make an FOI application.
The kind of documents you can access
FOI means you can apply for access to any document in our possession. Documents include:
- hard copy or electronic records
- maps or plans
- photographs, recordings, films or videotapes
- any other means of storing information.
Documents can include copies of whole documents or parts of or extracts from 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.
It’s not necessary to lodge an FOI application to gain access to these. You can view them by contacting or visiting us.
Documents that are not available
While FOI aims to give you access to the maximum amount of information possible, a number of exemptions are necessary.
These are to make sure that the privacy of others is not unduly invaded or 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.
Only documents held by the City of West Torrens are accessible.
How to make an FOI application
You can talk to one of our Accredited FOI Officers about what you need before lodging a request by calling us on 8416 6333 or download an FOI Application - Request for Access to Documents Form.
If you don’t want to use an application form you can make a valid FOI request in writing as long as it:
- tells us that you’re making an application under the Freedom of Information Act 1999
- clearly states your name, address and a contact telephone number
- specifies the documents you would like access to or what matter they concern
- specifies whether the documents contain information about your personal affairs
- tells us what kind of access to the document you need (do you want to view the information or get a copy?)
- includes the application fee (via cheque, credit card or money order)
- specifies whether you are financially disadvantaged (please provide a copy of supporting documentation)
- is sent directly to our offices if you believe we hold the information.
What you must pay
FOI applications must be submitted along with an application fee of $34.25. Additional charges may be levied as per the FOI (Fees & Charges) Regulations 2003 to process your request. These are scheduled as follows:
Photocopies (per page)
Per 15 minutes dealing with the application
If the cost of dealing with your application is likely to exceed the application fee, you also may be asked to make an advance deposit payment.
If you’re financially disadvantaged you can apply for a waiver of fees. You must provide evidence of financial disadvantage with your application.
How long it takes to process your application?
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 extension.
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.
When your application has been decided
Our Accredited FOI Officer will contact you in writing to inform you of the decision made about your FOI application. If you’re granted access to a document, we’ll make arrangements with you to give you that access.
Access to documents may be deferred until consultation has taken place with other parties and cannot be provided until the appeal period (30 days) has expired.
If you’re refused access to a document, given partial access, or refused amendment of a document, you’ll be given written reasons for the decision as well as information about your rights of appeal.
If you’re dissatisfied (rights of appeal)
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
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.
Correcting inaccurate documents about you
Under FOI you can apply to have documents corrected if they are incomplete, incorrect, misleading or out-of-date. This must be in done in writing or you can complete the FOI Request for Amendment Form.
Accredited Freedom of Information (FOI) Officer
City of West Torrens Civic Centre
165 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton SA 5033
Email the Team Leader Governance or call 8416 6333