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Accessing Information

What information is held by Council? 

Council holds information, in various formats, in respect of the wide range of functions undertaken by it and information which is pertinent to different issues relating to the Port Macquarie-Hastings local government area.

For details of the Council's structure and functions, the various kinds of information it holds, and how it may be accessed, please refer to  Council's Information Guide2MB pdf(PDF, 2MB)


Accessing Information

Under the provisions of the Government Information (Public Access) Act there is a right of access to certain information held by Council unless there is an overriding public interest against its disclosure.

Access to certain information may be limited in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998. This Act provides for the protection of personal information.

Privacy and Health Information Protection Access to certain information will also be limited in accordance with the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002. This Act provides for the protection of health information.

There are four main ways in which Council will provide access to information:

  • Mandatory Proactive Release
  • Authorised Proactive Release
  • Informal Access Release
  • Formal Access Release

Council also may provide access to information under other legislation. Under the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act (PPIPA) 1998 and the NSW Health Records and Information Privacy Act (HRIPA) 2002, an individual also has a right to access and amend records held by Council which contain their personal details, matters related to their business affairs and any records containing information about their health.

Under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment (EPA) Act 1979 and Regulations 2000 there is a right to access Development Application registers and documents held by Council subject to restrictions set out in section 268(3).


Mandatory Proactive Release

 1.  Governance Documents

Council will publish mandatory release information on its website unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or do so would impose an unreasonable additional cost on Council.  This open access information is:

  • Policy documents
  •  Information Guide2MB pdf(PDF, 2MB)
  • Disclosure log of formal access applications where in Council's opinion the information released may be of interest to other members of the public
  • Register of contracts worth more than $150,000 that Council has with private sector bodies
  • Record of open access information that Council does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure 

The following documents are publicly available for inspection, free of charge.  The public is entitled to inspect these documents either on Council's website or at the offices of the Council during ordinary office hours.  Any current and previous documents of this type may be inspected by the public free of charge. Copies can be supplied in accordance with the fees and charges identified in Council’s current adopted Schedule of Fees and Charges.

2.  Plans and Policies

3.  Information about Development Applications

Development Applications and any associated documents received in relation to a proposed development, e.g.:

  • Home Warranty Insurance documents
  • Construction Certificates
  • Occupation Certificates
  • Structural Certification Documents
  • Town Planner Reports
  • Submissions received on Development Applications
  • Heritage Consultant Reports
  • Tree Inspections Consultant Reports
  • Acoustic Consultant Reports
  • Land Contamination Consultant Reports
  • Records of decisions on Development Applications including decisions on appeals
  • Records describing the general nature of documents that Council decides to exclude from public view after application of public interest test considerations


Information regarding development applications can be located on Council’s Building & Property Information webpage.

Applications for development information not available on Council’s website can be requested by submitting a  Copies of Development Documents329KB pdf(PDF, 329KB) form.


4. Approvals, Orders and Other Documents

  • Applications for approvals under part 7 of the Local Government Act 1993
  • Applications for approvals under any other Act and any associated documents received
  • Records of approvals granted or refused, any variation from Council Policies with reasons for the variation, and decisions made on appeals concerning approvals
  • Orders given under Part 2 of Chapter 7 of the Local Government Act 1993, and any reasons given under section 136 of the Local Government Act 1993
  • Orders given under the Authority of any other Act
  • Records of Building Certificates under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment (EPA) Act 1979
  • Plans of land proposed to be compulsorily acquired by Council
  • Compulsory Acquisition Notices
  • Leases and Licenses for use of Public Land classified as Community Land

Copies of documents provided are given for information purposes only and are provided by Council to meet its requirements under relevant legislation. Copyright laws still apply to each document. The copyright owner's consent is required if any part of the document is used for any other purpose. 

Authorised Proactive Release

In addition, from time to time Council will make as much other information as possible publicly available in an appropriate manner, including on their website. The information will be available free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. Such other information includes frequently requested information or information of public interest that has been released as a result of other requests. 

Informal Access Release

Access to information which is not available as Mandatory Proactive Release or Authorised Proactive Release information may be provided through Informal Access Release. Council will endeavour to release other information in response to an informal request, subject to any reasonable conditions as Council thinks fit to impose. However, notwithstanding the lodgement of an informal application, Council may require a formal access application to be submitted where the information sought:

  • is of a sensitive nature that requires careful weighing of the considerations in favour of and against disclosure, or
  • contains personal or confidential information about a third party that requires consultation, or
  • would involve an unreasonable amount of time and resources to produce.

Applicants can request informal release of information by submitting an  Informal Access Application238KB pdf(PDF, 238KB) to Council.

Reasonable fees in accordance with the fees and charges identified in Council’s current adopted Schedule of Fees and Charges may be charged.

Formal Access Release

A Formal Access application is used as a last resort and is usually required when the information requested is of the following nature:

  • sensitive information that requires careful consideration in terms of overriding public interest considerations against disclosure;
  • contains confidential information;
  • contains personal information of another person;
  • contains information about third parties; or
  • would require a significant amount of time and/or resources to provide the information.

To make a formal access application a  Formal Access Application223KB pdf(PDF, 223KB) is required to be completed along with the $30 application fee. Charges for formal applications are in accordance with the GIPA Fees and Charges

Additional processing fees may also be incurred for formal applications, where processing time exceeds the allocated uncharged allowance. For further detail please refer to Councils current adopted Schedule of Fees and Charges)

Council must determine the application within 20 working days and the applicant has certain rights of review if they are not satisfied with the outcome.



This page was last updated on: 10 June 2020