Freedom of Information


Victoria's Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) allows the community to access information held by a range of government agencies, including councils. 

Under the Act, you have the right to request: 

  • documents held by Council created after 1 January 1989. 
  • documents about your personal affairs and the activities of government agencies. 
  • that incorrect or misleading information about you be amended or removed. 

Not all information is automatically available. The Act allows an agency to refuse access to certain documents – often called ‘exempt’ documents. 

Examples of exempt documents are: 

  • Documents containing matter communicated in confidence 
  • Internal working documents 
  • Law enforcement documents 
  • Documents affecting legal proceedings 
  • Documents affecting personal privacy 
  • Documents relating to trade secrets etc 
  • Documents where disclosure would be contrary to public interest 
  • Documents to which secrecy provisions apply, etc 

Use the drop down menu below to find out more about Freedom of Information requests and the application process.

Before making an FOI application

Council publishes a large amount of information online, we also provide services to view certain documentation. Please check to make sure the information that you are seeking is not already publicly available in the following locations.

Requirements of an FOI application

Individuals wanting to make a freedom of information request must: 

  • Make the request in writing. 
  • Describe the documents you require access to. Please ensure the request is as specific and as detailed as possible including date ranges and specific names of the reports or documents required. Please try to avoid broad statements like ‘anything and everything’. The more specific your request is the faster it will be processed, it will also reduce the chances of confusion and unnecessary search fees. 
  • Specify whether you want to inspect an original document or receive a copy of the original document. 
  • Pay the prescribed non-refundable FOI application fee of $31.80 (fees may be waived in certain circumstances, specifically for those that can demonstrate financial hardship). 

Other costs that may apply include: 

  • Search charges - $23.85 per hour. 
  • Photocopying – 20 cents per A4 page (black and white). Other charges will apply for documents larger than A4 or which are produced in colour. 
  • Providing access in a form other than photocopying – reasonable costs incurred by Council in providing access. 

If it becomes apparent that the access charges associated with the request are likely to exceed $50.00, Council will write to you and seek a deposit. You will be asked if you wish to continue with the application. 

Please note, all fees and charges are exempt from GST.  

Making an FOI application

If you wish to proceed with an FOI request, there is a number of ways you can do this, including the online application form below.

Click here to make an online FOI application

Alternatively, you can make your request in writing or download, print and complete the hardcopy FOI request form(PDF, 75KB) and either: 

  • Send it by post to: The Freedom of Information Officer, Baw Baw Shire Council, PO Box 304, Warragul, VIC 3820. 

  • Submit it in person over the counter at our Customer Service Centre. 

Paying the Application Fee 

The application fee for an FOI request is currently $31.80 and needs to be paid before Council can action the request. 

Payment can be made:  

  • Over the phone - Pay by Credit Card by calling our Customer Service Centre on 5624 2411. 

  • By post - Attach a cheque or a money order to your hardcopy application form. 

  • In person - Pay by EFTPOS, Credit Card, Cash, Cheque or Money Order when you submit your hardcopy application form over the counter at our Customer Service Centre. 

How long will my FOI Application take?

On receipt of a valid FOI application, a decision must be made within thirty (30) days. Please note that this timeframe may be extended as follows: 

  • an additional 15 days if consultation is required with third parties to seek their views on the disclosure of documents; and 
  • up to an additional 30 days at a time by agreement with you. 

You will be notified if there is any change to the timeframe for a decision to be made. 

What if my FOI request is refused?

If you're refused access to documents or aren't satisfied with the action or decision taken by Council under the Act, you can apply in writing for a review of your original request. You should send this to: 

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner, PO Box 24274, Melbourne Victoria 3001 

Additional information

If you would like further information regarding the FOI Act this can be located on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner’s (OVIC) website.

You can also view Baw Baw Shires Part II Statement here.(PDF, 211KB)

Contact us

  To discuss any aspect of the FOI process of for more information and enquiries about the FOI Act and procedures, call the Freedom of Information Officer on 1300 229 229.