Services Customer Service Freedom of Information Requests
The Freedom of Information Act 1992 (‘the Act’) has, as its objectives, to:
- Enable the public to participate more effectively in governing the state; and
- Make the persons and bodies that are responsible for the State and Local Government more accountable to the public.
In furthering these objectives, the Act requires that respondent agencies publish an annual information statement. This document serves as an orientation guide to Council’s purpose, responsibilities and information is prepared in accordance with Part 5, Section 94 of the Act.
Section 94 of the Act requires each agency to prepare an Information Statement which conveys the maximum possible detail to the public about the agency’s operations. Agencies are required to make this publication available ensuring that the public has access to the information it needs to effectively use Freedom of Information.
All information used in this document is current as at March 2013.
This document details, among other things;
- The structure and function of Council;
- Ways in which the public can participate in council’s decision making processes;
- How the public can gain access to council documents.
Copies of this document can be obtained from the City of Greater Geraldton (‘the city’), Cathedral Avenue, Geraldton; from the Mullewa District Office located at the corner of Padbury and Thomas streets, Mullewa, or from the city’s website. (Note - This document can also be viewed and opened at the bottom of this page)
Enquiries may be made to the Freedom of Information Coordinator on 9956 6600 during business hours. We look forward to helping you find the information you need.
FOI Procedures and Access Arrangements
Rights to Access Documents
The Act gives applicants the right to apply for access to documents held by the City. An applicant’s right to seek access is not affected by their reason for wishing to obtain access, and there is no need to demonstrate a reason.
The City is required:
- To assist in making an application
- To assist in obtaining access to documents at a reasonable cost and;
- To ensure that personal information captured in documents is accurate, complete, up to date and not misleading.
While the act provides general right of access to documents, it also recognises some documents require a level of protection, specifically those documents that meet the exemption criteria in Schedule 1 of the Act, which includes (without limitation);
- Deliberative or decisions of an Executive body (e.g. Cabinet and Executive council)
- Information that could be reasonably expected to damage inter-governmental relations
- Information that if disclosed, would reveal personal information about an individual
- Information that would reveal commercial or business information that has value to a person
Please refer to the FOI Act for more reasons why access to certain documents/information may be denied.
FOI Application forms are available:
- From the Geraldton Civic Centre Office front counter
- From the Mullewa Office front counter
- On the city’s website. (Note - This document can also be viewed and opened at the bottom of this page)
FOI Applications must:
- Be in writing
- Give enough information so that the documents requested can be identified
- Give an address to which notices can be sent; and
- Be lodged with the City with the applicable fee payable.
FOI Applications can be lodged by:
City of Greater Geraldton
PO Box 101
GERALDTON WA 6531
|Fax:||(08) 9956 6674|
Or in person at the Geraldton Civic centre office.
Once the City has received a valid application, it is required to provide a Notice of Decision within 45 calendar days. The City aims to reply as soon as practicable to any application and will negotiate with the applicant on an extension to the 45 day limit should the application be extraordinarily large or require discussion with a considerable number of third parties.
Should the applicant not be satisfied with the decision provided in the Notice of Decision, they have 30 days in which to lodge an internal review application. Once the internal review application has been received, the City has 15 days in which to respond.
Should the applicant still not be satisfied with the outcome of the internal review, there is a 60 day period in which to lodge an external review application with the Freedom of Information Commissioner. The Commissioner will then undertake the review and forward a response within 30 days.
Listed below is a scale of fees and charges set under the FOI Regulations. Apart from the application fee for non-personal information, all charges are discretionary and are set by the City. The charges are as follows:
|Application fee for personal information (about the applicant)||No fees|
|Application fee for non-personal information||$30.00|
|Processing the application (per hour, pro rata)||$30.00|
|Access time supervised by staff (per hour, pro rata)||$30.00|
|Photocopying staff time (per hour, pro rata)||$30.00|
|Per photocopy (per page)||$0.20|
|Transcribing from tape, film or computer information||$30.00|
|Duplicating a tape, film or computer information||Actual cost|
|Delivery, packaging and postage||Actual cost|
Advance deposits which may be required by an agency under section 18 (1) of the Act, expressed as a percentage of the estimated charges which will be payable in excess of the application fee – 25%
Further advance deposits which may be required by an agency under section 18 (4) of the Act, expressed as a percentage of the estimated charges will be payable in excess of the application fee – 75%
For financially disadvantaged applicants or those issued with prescribed pensioner concession cards, the charge payable may be reduced by 25%.
No reduction is applicable to the application fee.
The principal legislation governing the operation of Western Australian local authorities is the Local Government Act 1995. In carrying out its functions, a local government is to use its best endeavours to meet the needs of current and future generations through integration of environment protection, social advancement and economic prosperity.
Some of the Acts of parliament that affect the conduct of the business of a local authority include, but are not limited to;
- Town Planning and Development Act 1928
- Health Act 1911
- Dog act 1976
- Bush Fires Act 1954
- Freedom of Information Act 1992
- State Records Act 2000
- Long Service Leave Act 1958
- Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981
- Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and many others
Local authorities also operate within a framework of delegated legislation, including orders and proclamations of the Governor, local laws, regulations and ordinances made by statutory authorities. The power to make local laws is generally used by governments to establish and maintain the quality of life in keeping with community expectations.
Profile - Our City
The 1st July 2011 marked a significant milestone in the development of the region with the amalgamation of the City of Geraldton – Greenough and the Shire of Mullewa to form the City of Greater Geraldton.
The new entity has 56 localities and seven wards: Port, Hills, Chapman, Champion Bay, Tarcoola, Willcock, and Mullewa Wards, with two councillors representing each ward.
The Greater Geraldton region is a vibrant and diverse community!
Our region has a strong cultural heritage and welcomes people from many ethnic backgrounds.
Business and employment opportunities are many and diverse. From fishing to tourism, mining to agriculture, small business to government roles and a comprehensive range of tertiary service industries, people from all walks of life are attracted to our varied and wonderful lifestyles.
As a tourist or a resident, Mullewa’s everlasting culture is something to behold. Nestled in the midst of wildflower country and steeped in history, Mullewa is predominantly based upon agriculture, with a mining and pastoral contribution. The strong bonds that exist within the Mullewa community make it a town of great pride, culture and history.
As a thriving regional City, Geraldton overlooks the Indian Ocean and supports a growing population of over 35,000 people. Geraldton has all the major services, cultural, shopping and sporting facilities you would expect in a city, yet more relaxed pace of life, typical of the country.
Council is responsible for all matters relating to governance, policy, local laws and budget appropriation on behalf of its constituents.
Individual Councillors, including the Mayor, cannot make decisions as individuals. The Council itself does not have any delivery or executive functions, but rather relies on the decisions of the majority of the group which provide direction for the Chief Executive Officer to implement.
The Local Government Act defines the roles of Council and Councillors as follows:
The role of the Council is to:
- Direct and control the Local Government affairs
- Be responsible for the performance of the Local Government’s functions
- Oversee the allocation of the Local Government’s finances and resources
- Determine the Local Government’s policies.
The role of Mayor is to:
- Preside at meetings in accordance with the Local Government Act
- Provide leadership and guidance to the community in the district
- Carry out civic and ceremonial duties on behalf of the Local Government
- Speak on behalf of the Local Government
- Perform such other functions as are given to the Mayor by the Local Government Act or any other written law
- Liaise with the CEO on the Local Government’s affairs and the performance of its functions.
The role of Councillors is to:
- Represent the interests of electors, ratepayers and residents of the district
- Provide leadership and guidance to the community in the district
- Facilitate communication between the community and the council
- Participate in the Local Government’s decision making processes at council and committee meetings
- Perform such other functions as are given to councillors by the Local Government Act or any other written law.
Role of the CEO is to:
- Cause councils decisions to be implemented
- Manage the day to day operations of the Local Government
- Ensure that records and documents of the Local Government are kept properly
- Perform any other functions specified or delegated by the Local Government or imposed under the Local Government Act or any other written law as a function to be performed by the CEO.
The City is wholly or partly responsible for administering the following legislation and regulations (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Bush Fires Act 1954
- Bush Fire Regulations
- Dog Act 1976
- Health act 1911
- Health Act ( Asbestos) Regulations 1992
- Local Government Act 1995
- Planning and Development Act 2005
- Transfer of Land Act 1893
The City is wholly responsible for administering the following local laws:
- All of the City of Geraldton-Greenough local laws (as amended and current)
- All of the Mullewa local laws ( as amended and current)
- All of the City of Geraldton local laws (as amended and current)
- All of the Shire of Greenough local laws ( as amended and current)
- All of the City of Greater Geraldton local laws (as amended and current)
Information held by the City
Some of the documents or information held by the City includes (but is not limited to);
- Council agendas and minutes
- Rates records
- Electoral records
- Employee personnel files
- Fleet management
- Engineering projects working files
- Building licences with associated plans and documentation
- Town planning scheme documents
- Leases and licences
- Swimming pool requirements and inspections
- Community events
Access to council documents
The City creates and properly stores records of the City’s functions. Access to information held by the City is subject to provisions established in the FOI Act and the Local Government Act 1995 and some information held may be subject to fees and charges. In all instances, the City will seek to provide access to information upon request except where restrictions apply as written in the FOI Act and other relevant legislation.
Information is made available through a range of methods including public statements, press releases, and the City’s website, advertisements placed in the local and state-wide newspapers, library service and other publications.
Some documents that are available for public inspection includes but is not limited to:
- Code of conduct
- Any register of financial interests
- Any annual report
- Any annual budget
- Any schedule of fees and charges
- Strategic Community Plan
- Any confirmed minutes of council or committee meetings
Access to documents under the FOI Act
If documents are not readily available, you can apply for access under the FOI Act. Requests should be made in writing (application form available) and submitted to the FOI Coordinator with the appropriate fee. An application form together with a schedule of charges may be obtained from the City’s website, downloaded from below, or by contacting the FOI Coordinator on 9956 6600.
Amendment of personal records
If the city holds records about your personal affairs, which you believe are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading, you can apply for them to be amended. Applications should be made in writing on the available application form and submitted to the FOI Coordinator.
The City’s website can be accessed at www.cgg.wa.gov.au . It provides information about the City including:
- Bill pay information
- Council information
- Jobs available within the City
- City’s facilities information
- Community information
- Council agendas and minutes
- Information about requests for tenders and quotations
For further information about this document or how you can access documents held by the city, please contact the Freedom of Information Coordinator at the City on 9956 6600 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org .