What is the Right to Information Act?
The Right to Information Act 2009 commenced on 1 July 2010 and gives members of the public the right to obtain information contained in the records of the Government and public authorities.
The Act does this by:
- authorising and encouraging greater routine disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications;
- authorising and encouraging greater active disclosure of information held by public authorities in response to informal requests without the need for applications;
- giving members of the public an enforceable right to information held by public authorities; and
- providing that access to information held by government bodies is restricted in only limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.
The Local Government Association of Tasmania is a public authority.
Why do we have a Right to Information Act?
Briefly, the objective of this Tasmanian Act is to improve democratic government, increase executive accountability and increase the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance. This is done by:
- acknowledging that information collected by public authorities is collected for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania and is the property of the State; and
- giving members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers, and the right to information about the operations of Government.
Our responsibilities in relation to the Right to Information
The Association is required by the Right to Information Act 2009 to make information available to the public through proactive disclosure. This means we are to routinely make information available that will assist the public in understanding what we do and how we do it.
We provide information proactively through publications (e.g., LGAT Newsletter or Magazine), and via reports (e.g. our Annual Report). A number of these documents are available electronically on our website.
Some information is not released in this way, either because it is not of general public interest or because it is information that the Association would need to assess against the exemptions in the Right to Information Act 2009 prior to disclosure.
For further information, and to read our 'Right to Information Policy', click here .
Please note that the Local Government Association of Tasmania is responsible only for disclosing information that relates directly to the Association's own operations. If you wish to access information that relates to another public authority, such as your local council or a state government department, please contact that organisation directly. If you do lodge an application for disclosure with us and we do not believe that we are best placed to provide you with the information, then your application may be transferred to another public authority.
Where do I find information about the Local Government Association of Tasmania?
The Association already proactively provides information to the public via our website: http://www.lgat.tas.gov.au/
If you can't find the information on our website or in our publications, we may be able to assist you in finding it, or we may give it to you. For further enquiries please contact us by phone on 03 6233 5966.
If the information you're after is not freely available, we can assist you to make an application for an assessed disclosure (see below).
Where else might I find information concerning the Local Government Association of Tasmania?
You could also try the websites of the following organizations, or alternatively you could contact them:
Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office (TAHO)
If it is old information it may be deposited with TAHO
Local Government Division (LGDiv)
Search for the information on LGDiv Website (it may be available from another source)
Phone: 03 6232 7022
How do I make an application for assessed disclosure?
Applications for information need to be made to the department, authority or council holding the relevant information or most closely linked to the information. A webpage like this one is available for most other public authorities.
A form to assist you making an application is available. Please click here to access the Application Form.
If you are not using the form, please note that your application must be made in writing and include the information requested in the form - this is a requirement of Regulation 4 of the Right to Information Regulations 2010.
Applications may be lodged in the following manner:
- Sent by mail to:
Right to Information Officer
Local Government Association of Tasmania
GPO Box 1521
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
- Sent by fax to: 03 6233 5986
- Sent by email to: email@example.com
Fees and Charges
Applications are to be accompanied by the application fee. This fee is 25 fee units, which is $34.00 as at 1 July 2010 and is indexed annually.
You may apply to have the fee waived if:
- you are in financial hardship. We take that to mean that you are on income support payments (we would usually ask to see evidence that you are in receipt of Centrelink or Veterans Affairs payments);
- you are a member of parliament and the application is in connection with your official duty; or
you are able to give us information which shows that the information sought is intended to be used for a purpose that is of general public interest or benefit.
In addition to the application fee, you may be charged for photocopying documents (20 cents per photocopied page) or, alternatively, for providing documents in electronic format on compact disc.
Making an applications for assessed disclosure
Please note that the provisions of the Right to Information Act require that you make attempts to obtain the requested information through methods other than assessed disclosure prior to making your application. Details of those attempts must be included with your application.
Please make sure you have looked for the information before you make a formal application, because if the information is otherwise available your application may be refused without the return of your application fee.
What will we do once we have your application?
1) We will check your application to make sure we have the information we need and that you have paid the application fee (or we will waive the fee).
2) We may transfer your application to another public authority if we do not believe we are best placed to provide you with the information.
3) Before your application is accepted, we may need to contact you to ask you about your application, this will help us to understand your request.
4) Once we have done these steps, a delegated Officer will assess your application against the Right to Information Act 2009 and let you know the outcome of that process in writing.
5) You will be notified of the outcome of your request as soon as practicable, but in no more than 20 working days of the application being accepted.
6) If your request is complex or you are seeking a large amount of information, we may ask you to give us more time.
7) If there is a need to consult with a third party about their business affairs or about their personal information, an extension of 20 working days is automatically given to the initial 20 day response period. We will let you know if this happens.
8) If the application or part of the application is refused, the reasons for the refusal to provide the information will be provided to you as part of the decision, together with details on your right to seek a review of the decision. If you decide to request a review, this is done by writing to:
Right to Information
Local Government Association of Tasmania
GPO Box 1521
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
If the officer assessing your request does not get back to you in the timeframe allowed, then it is deemed that we have refused your application. If you choose, you can then make an application for review directly to the Ombudsman.
Some information on reviews by the Ombudsman can be found on the Ombudsman Tasmania website.
Ombudsman's Right to Information Manual and Guidelines
The Manual and Guidelines will provide you with a little more detail on making requests under the Act and how they are processed by the agency to which the request is sent.
These are available on the Office of the Ombudsman's website.
Related Acts and Regulations
You can view, download and print the following Acts and Regulations made available by the Tasmanian Legislation Online website.