Access to documents
The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act) gives the public the right to apply for access to documents held by State Public Sector agencies.
Agencies are required to assist the public to obtain access to documents at the lowest reasonable cost, and to ensure that personal information held by them is accurate, complete, up-to-date and not misleading.
Documents that require access requests include paper files, computer records, maps, plans, photographs, tape recordings, films, video tapes and electronically stored information.
Amendment of personal information
The public may also apply for access to personal information about themselves that is contained in City documents. Any person can apply to have this information corrected if they believe it is incorrect, inaccurate, out-of-date, or misleading. Personal information is information about the individual, while non-personal information is information concerning other people or matters.
Making an application
An application can be made via a letter, fax or email to:
Chief Executive Officer
City Of Bayswater
PO Box 467
MORLEY WA 6943
The application for information must clearly identify the documents concerned. If applying for amendment of personal information, the details to show how the City’s records are inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading must be presented.
If the request is for “everything” on a particular subject, the City may ask you to narrow the scope of the application to ensure the work involved is reasonable.
You must give an address in Australia where notices can be sent, as well as a telephone number, fax number or email address.
There are no fees or charges for access to personal information or the amendment of personal information.
Applications for other documents require payment of a $30.00 application fee when the application is lodged. Other charges may be imposed by the City, including:
- $30.00 per hour of staff time, or pro rata for part of an hour for dealing with an application (agencies cannot charge for locating the documents within the scope of the request)
- $30.00 per hour (or pro rata for part of an hour) for supervision by staff when access is given to view documents, or the time taken by staff to prepare a transcript from a tape or make photocopies
- 20 cents per photocopy
- Actual cost incurred by the City for preparing a copy of a tape, film or computerised information; or arranging delivery, packaging and postage of documents.
Estimate of charges
An applicant can ask for an estimate of charges when lodging an application. If the charges are likely to exceed $25.00, the City must give the applicant an estimate of charges and ask whether they want to proceed with the application. The applicant must notify the City within 30 days of their intention to proceed.
What happens after an application has been lodged?
The City has a maximum of 45 calendar days to deal with an access application and decide if the applicant can have access to the documents. The applicant can negotiate a shorter or longer period with the City, or may apply to the Information Commissioner to reduce the time allowed for the City to deal with the application.
What if the documents are required urgently?
The applicant should tell the City if they need a decision about access by a particular time. They should try to agree on a timeframe with the City. If agreement cannot be reached, the applicant can apply to the Information Commissioner for a reduction of time required.
How will the applicant know when the City has made a decision and what it is?
The City must provide the applicant with written notice of the decision, informing them whether they will be provided access to all or some of the documents requested. If the City refuses access to any documents or parts of any documents, the written notice must provide the reasons for this decision. It must also explain any rights of review.
What if the applicant is not happy with the City's decision?
If the applicant is dissatisfied with the City’s decision, they have 30 days to make an application for internal review. The City then has 15 calendar days to conduct a review.
Another staff member in the City, who is not a subordinate of the original decision-maker, must make the decision on internal review.
What can the applicant do then?
If the applicant is dissatisfied with the internal review decision, they may lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner within 60 days of receiving the City’s notice of decision. If they are a third party affected by the decision of the City, they have 30 days in which to apply.
What if the decision was made by the Chief Executive Officer?
Internal review is not available for decisions made by the Chief Executive Officer, but the applicant can apply to the Information Commissioner for an external review.
Is there anything an applicant can do if the documents contain information about them that is not right?
An applicant can apply to amend personal information about themselves which they consider incorrect, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading.
How do they apply?
An application must be made in writing and give reasons why they consider the information incorrect. The applicant must state whether they wish the amendment to be made by altering, striking out or deleting the information, or inserting information by the City adding a note explaining their view about the information. The City must inform the applicant of its decision, its reasons, and any rights of review.
What if the applicant is not happy with a decision regarding amendment of personal information?
After internal review, the applicant may apply to the Information Commissioner for an external review of the decision.
Does GST apply to fees and charges prescribed under the FOI Act?
No. Fees and charges under the FOI Act are exempt under Determination No. 2 2000, made by the Federal Treasurer (Exempt Fees and Charges).