Access to information

Kempsey Shire Council is committed to the practice of being an open, accountable, and transparent form of government.

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (also known as the GIPA Act), an individual may apply to have access to many different types of information held in Council records.


How to find Council information

Step 1: Search Kempsey Shire Council’s website to see if the information you’re looking for is already available.

Step 2: Request the information by phoning Council Customer Service on 6566 3200 or completing a Report an issue form. If we can informally release the information, we'll do so.

Step 3: For some types of information, an individual may be asked to complete a GIPA Act Access Application Form. Some types of information held by the Council may be controversial in nature, may involve third parties or may contain other business information which may require third party consent to release.


How the GIPA Act works

The GIPA Act provides you with four ways to access Council information: mandatory release, authorised proactive release, informal release and formal release. These categories are explained below.


1. Mandatory release (open access information)

Open access information is available free of charge and is published on our website. Council must release this information unless it's not in the public interest to do so. Information in this category includes:

See Corporate management - Kempsey Shire Council working with the Macleay Valley community (

  • Corporate Planning, Performance, and budget
  • Publication Guide
  • Open Access Information not released.
  • Disclosure log of access applications
  • Disclosure of Interests
  • Register of Government Contracts
  • Register of Planning Decisions
  • Delegations of Authority


    2. Authorised proactive release

    Authorised proactive release means that, in addition to the information we must release, Council is encouraged to proactively release as much other information as possible for free or at the lowest possible cost. This information can only be released if it's in the public interest for the information to be released.


    3. Informal release

    Informal release Some Council information is not typically available to the public. Informal release means you can apply to access any Council information that's not publicly available, and we'll provide the information if it's in the public interest and reasonable conditions are met. For example, you may apply to access information about yourself but not someone else.

    Depending on the information you are requesting, we may recommend a Council archive file search.

    The council charges $46 per Archival file retrieval. The processing fee for Archive Searches per file made by Council is $52. Standard archive searches take 10 business days for the request to be completed.

    The applicant may also apply for an urgent processing file request for which the search would take 3-5 business days for Council to complete. The cost of an urgent processing file request is $90 per file requested.

    To apply, you must complete an Application for Archived Files(PDF, 161KB)


    4. Formal release

    For certain information, you will need to submit a formal release application. This applies if the information you're seeking involves or is likely to involve:

    • information about a third party, whether an individual or a business
    • confidential information
    • commercial-in-confidence considerations
    • current or proposed legal action
    • A substantial investment of Council time or resources to meet your request.

    To request information of this kind, please complete a GIPA Act Access Application form(PDF, 112KB)


    More information

    To learn more about the four ways of accessing Council information under the GIPA Act, see How to access government information in NSW.



    There is a GIPA Act application fee of $30 for formal information requests.

    The processing fees for a GIPA Act Application for formal applications are $30 per hour.

    If you have a Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold Card (TPI and War Widows), the processing fee is reduced by 50% and is therefore $15 an hour.

    You may be asked to pay other fees depending on the information you've requested and the time it will take to process your request.

    For more information about fees, see Council's 10.1.3 Schedule of Fees and Charges 2023



    Under the Copyright Act 1968, Council is unable to provide copies of any documents which may be subject to copyright without the express written consent of the copyright owner.


    Review of a decision

    If you're unhappy with Council’s decision about your information request, you can ask for a review of the decision by completing a GIPA Act Internal Review Application(PDF, 107KB)

    An Applicant must pay a $40 fee for an internal review unless:

    • The Council agrees to waive or reduce the fee; or
    • The applicant is asking for an internal review of a decision to refuse to deal with an access application because the agency did not decide the access application within time (a deemed refusal), in which case no fee is payable; or
    • the internal review was recommended by the Information Commissioner.

A Council has discretion to waive, reduce or refund a fee payable or paid under the GIPA Act in any case that the agency thinks appropriate, subject to the regulations.


More information

You can learn more about your right to Council information on the Information and Privacy Commission website.