Posted on September 13, 2018 by Elaine Yeo and Carlo Zoppo

New GIPA Regulation 2018: Open Access Information of Councils Changed

The Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2018 (GIPA Reg 2018) commenced on 1 September 2018. The GIPA Reg 2018 repealed and replaced the  Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (GIPA Reg 2009).

The main difference between GIPA Reg 2018 and its predecessor as far as local councils are concerned relates to the scope of the open access information of a council.

Changes to open access information of councils

Section 18 of the GIPA Act sets out what constitutes the open access information of a government ‘agency‘ (which includes a council). Such information includes ‘such other government information as may be prescribed by the regulations as open access information‘ (s18(g)).

Clause 3 of Schedule 1 to the GIPA Reg 2018 prescribes additional open access information of councils. Such information now excludes the following about development applications:

  • records of decisions made before 1 July 2010 on development applications (including decisions made on appeal) (Sch. 1, clause 3(1)(a)(i) and clause 3(1)(b)),
  • development applications made before 1 July 2010 and any associated documents received (whether before, on or after that date) in relation to the application (Sch. 1, clause 3(2)(c)).

Other changes

Section 125 of the GIPA Act makes provision for the preparation of annual reports by agencies and Ministers on their obligations under the GIPA Act. These are required to be provided to the Information Commissioner and tabled in Parliament.

Clause 8 of the GIPA Reg 2018 prescribes information which must be included in an annual report. This information is set out in the tables to Schedule 2 to the Regulation.

The prescribed information now includes the following information relating to matters specified in Schedule 1 to the GIPA Act for which there is a conclusive presumption of an overriding public interest against disclosure:

  • information about complaints to Judicial Commission;
  • information about authorised transactions under Electricity Network Assets (Authorised Transactions) Act 2015 and
  • information about authorised transactions under Land and Property Information NSW (Authorised Transaction) Act 2016

To discuss this blog, or any GIPA Act related matter, please contact Carlo Zoppo, Partner on 8235 9705.