Freedom of Information

The Victorian Freedom of Information (FOI) Act gives you rights to access documents held by Council, with some exemptions. Documents you can request under FOI include:

  • any document about your personal affairs
  • any other document that is no older than January 1, 1989

The Act also gives you the right to request any incorrect, incomplete or misleading information we hold about you be amended or removed.

FOI will not be used to process requests for documents that have been released publicly by Council.

How do I make an FOI request?

You can make a request, or with written authority enable another person to make a request on your behalf (for example your solicitor). For your application to be valid it must:

  • be in writing
  • clearly describe the documents you are requesting.
  • include $31.80 application fee or evidence you qualify to have the fee waived or reduced.

Please note: additional access charges may be applied to the release of any documents.


What is the process?

Council will conduct a thorough and diligent search for the documents, assess them for any applicable exemptions, and conduct mandatory consultations and notifications of affected third parties.

We are required under the Act to respond to valid applications within 30 days; however, this time frame may be extended if your application is not valid, or if a deposit is required on estimated access charges, or if Council are required to consult with third parties.

If you would like more information, please contact the Governance and Administration Coordinator on 5355 0231 or email [email protected].

What information is not available?

The Freedom of Information Act allows us to refuse access to certain documents or parts of documents. These are referred to as exemptions, and include:

  • law enforcement information
  • information protected by legal professional privilege, such as legal advice
  • information about the personal affairs of another individual
  • confidential commercial information (of businesses or Council)
  • information provided in confidence 
  • documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation

Your application may also be refused if it is considered 'voluminous in nature', meaning if we were to respond to the request it would interfere unreasonably with our operations or performance.

Application costs

The application fee of $31.80 is fixed and non-refundable. The only exception is for people suffering hardship.  (Fee set 1 July 2023).
If you would like us to consider reducing or waiving the fee, include evidence the fee would cause you financial hardship.

Access costs

Access charges relate to the costs incurred in granting access to the documents you have requested. An indication of the costs you may incur are outlined below:

  • search charges - $23.85 per hour or part of an hour
  • supervision or inspection charges - $23.85 per hour to be calculated per quarter hour or part of a quarter hour
  • photocopying charges $0.20 per black and white A4 page (other charges apply for documents larger than A4 or reproduced in colour) 
  • providing access in a form other than photocopying - the reasonable costs incurred by us in providing the copy 
  • charge for listening or viewing a tape - the reasonable costs incurred by us in making arrangements to listen or to view (supervision charges also apply) 
  • charge for making a written transcript out of a tape -the reasonable costs incurred by us in providing a written transcript. 

All fees and charges are exempt from GST.

If you would like more information please contact the FOI Officer on 5355 0231 or email [email protected].

Part II Statement

Councils must prepare a Part II Statement under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and ensure that it is published and made available to the public.

Ararat Rural City Council Part II Statement

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