Narrabri Shire Council

How to Access Council Information

Members of the public are entitled to have access to some Council documents. Inspection of council documents is generally free, although charges may apply.

The Government Information (Public Access) Act, 2009 specifies which council documents must be available free of charge for people to inspect at Council offices during business hours.

These documents include:

  • Council codes, plans, policies and reports - such as their code of conduct, management plan, policies about the payment of expenses, annual report and auditor’s report.
  • Registers and returns - such as councils registers of investments and delegations and returns about candidates’ campaign donations.
  • Agendas, business papers and minutes - from council and committee meetings- except for any parts of the meeting that are closed to the public.
  • Planning and development documents - such as building and development applications, records of building certificates and approvals granted, leases and licenses for community land, and environmental planning instruments.
  • Many of these documents will be available on this website and can be found by using the search function at the top of every page.

A Council may also allow you to access other documents but this will be a matter for each Council to decide, taking into account whether or not they consider it is in the public interest.
Each Council is required to have a designated Public Officer and this person is responsible for assisting people to gain access to council documents.

Other information available from Council is on the following links:

 Disclosure Log of Information applications 

 Register of Government Contracts

How can you find a Council's website?

You can access a Council's website through the Office of Local Government. Select local government directory, then local Councils, the name of your Council and then their web address.

If you think a Council document should be on their website, you can make this request. 

Accessing Council information

Council publishes a range of information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009.

You can use the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) to apply to access Councils documents if you can’t obtain them under section 12 of the Local Government Act.

Recent changes to open access information of Councils

Please note that under changes to the GIPA Act in September 2018, Councils are no longer required to provide records of development applications or associated documents made before 1 July 2010. (Sch. 1, clause 3(1)(a)(i) , 3(1)(b) and clause 3(2)(c)).

 Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 Access Application Formal

 Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 Access Application Informal

 GIPA Review Form

 GIPA Authorisation to Release Property Information

 GIPA Authorisation to Release Personal Information

 NSC Access to Property Information

Privacy issues

When accessing Council documents, you need to be aware of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 which helps to protect personal information and the privacy of individuals.

Councils are required to develop a privacy management plan under the Act and comply with other legislation regarding public access to information. If you are refused access to documents on the grounds of privacy, you should read a document called ‘Privacy, you and your local Council’ which is provided on the Department of Local Government’s website. It provides a brief overview of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act and answers some frequently asked questions.

You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW government information on the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website. The Tips for Framing your Access Application checklist is also available on the IPC website, which includes key information that can assist with correct completion of the access application.