What is the Right to Information?
The Right to Information Act 2009 c on 1 July 2010 and provides for greater access to information held by government bodies 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 Derwent Valley Council is a public authority.
How do I get access to information?
The Derwent Valley Council is required by the Right to Information Act 2009 to make information available to the public through proactive disclosure. This means we must make information available to help the public understand what it is we do and how we do it.
This may be done via our website, through publications (e.g. fact sheets, or discussion papers) or via reports (e.g. our Annual Report).
Some information is not released in this way, either because it is not of general public interest or because it is information the Council would need to assess against the exemptions in the Right to Information Act 2009 prior to disclosure.
If you can't find the information you are looking for on our website, contact the Council. We may be able to help you find it or we may give it to you. If it is not freely available we will help you apply for an Assessed Disclosure.
Applications for Assessed Disclosure
Applications for the Derwent Valley Council are to be addressed to:
Right to Information Officer
Derwent Valley Council
PO Box 595
NEW NORFOLK TAS 7140 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
If you are not using the form, please note that your applications 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 are to be accompanied by the application fee of $40.50 (as at 1 July 2020) as prescribed in the Derwent Valley Council, Fees and Charges Register.
You may apply to have the fee waived if:
you are in financial hardship - this means that you are on income support payments (we may 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 their official duty;
you are able to gives us information which shows that the information sought is intended to be used for a purpose that is of general public interest or benefit;
you are a journalist acting in connection with his or her professional duties.
Make sure you have looked for the information and spoken to Council's delegated Right to Information Officer before you make a formal application. 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?
We will check your application to make sure we have the information we need and that you have paid the application fee (or it has been waived).
We may transfer your application to another public authority if we do not believe we are best placed to provide you with the information.
Before your application is accepted, we may need to contact you to ask you to help us to understand your request.
Once we have done these steps an officer will assess your application against the Right to Information Act 2009 and let you know the outcome of that process in writing.
You will be notified of the decision on your application for assessed disclosure as soon as practicable, but in no more than 20 working days from the application being accepted.
If your request is complex or for a large amount of information we may ask you to give us more time.
If there is a need to consult with a third party about their business affairs or about their personal information, more time is automatically given and we will let you know the outcome as soon as practicable, but no later than 40 working days - we will let you know if this is happening.
If the officer assessing your request does not get back to you in the timeframe allowed then we are taken to have refused your application and you are able to make an application for review to the Ombudsman if your choose. Some information on reviews by the Ombudsman can be found on the Office of the Ombudsman's website.
Why do we have a Right to Information Act?
Section 3 of the Act includes this statement of the objects of the Act:
(1) The object of this Act is to improve democratic government in Tasmania -
(a) by increasing the accountability of the executive to the people of Tasmania; and
(b) by increasing the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance; and
(c) 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.
(2) This object is to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers.
(3) This object is also to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information about the operations of Government.
(4) It is the intention of Parliament -
(a) that this Act be interpreted so as to further the object set out in subsection (1); and
(b) that discretions conferred by this Act be exercised so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the provision of the maximum amount of official information.
Right to Information Manual and Guidelines
The Manual and Guidelines will provide you with a little more detail on making requests under the RTI 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.