The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 gives the public a legally enforceable right to apply for access to documents held by Shire of Mundaring.
An applicant's right to seek access cannot be affected by their reasons for wishing to obtain access and there is no requirement to demonstrate such reasons. You can apply for any record of information held by the Shire.
The Shire is required to:
- assist the applicant in making the application
- assist the applicant in obtaining access to documents at a reasonable cost
- ensure that personal information captured in documents is accurate, complete, up-to-date and not misleading.
While the Act provides a general right of access to documents, it also recognises that some documents require a level of protection. This is applied to documents that meet the exemption criteria in Schedule 1 of the Act.
The most common reasons for refusal to provide access to information are:
Information that would reveal personal information about an individual (such as their name, contact details, signature etc) may be exempt under Clause 3.
Commercial or business information
Information that would reveal trade secrets
Information that has a commercial value (such as documents containing technical designs that, if released, would harm the company)
Information about the professional, commercial or financial affairs of a person
may be exempt under Clause 4.
Material which forms part of the decision-making of the local government, when circumstances require confidentiality of those deliberations, may be exempt under Clause 6.
Legal professional privilege
Protects the confidentiality of communications made between a lawyer and their client. The privilege belongs to the client and may only be waived by the client. Clause 7.
FOI Application Form
It is not mandatory to use the application form, however an application must be in writing and:
- give enough information to enable the requested document to be identified
- give an Australian address for correspondence
- be accompanied by the prescribed application fee if the document request is for non-personal information. The application fee, set under the Freedom of Information Regulations 1993, is currently $30.
As soon as possible, but within 45 days from receiving the application and fee, applicants will be given a written Notice of Decision. This notice will include the following information:
- the date when the decision was made
- the name and designation of the employee who made the decision
- the reason why a document is considered exempt or why access is given to an edited document
- information on the right of review and the procedures to be followed to exercise those rights.