Skip to main content
  • Share:

Type of information we hold

The Department holds a significant amount of information on our website that is freely available to the public. This is a requirement under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

 

The website also holds information which legislation requires us to make public, such as environmental assessments of proposed major projects.

 

We proactively disclose additional information to our website, upon request.

 

What kind of information is available to the public and how?

Open access information

The Department collects and stores information under the following categories:

  • strategies, policies, practice notes and guidelines
  • correspondence
  • records of meetings with external stakeholders and community members
  • internal administrative information
  • briefings
  • other decision-related information such as certificates
  • local, regional and state plan-making information
  • development applications and associated documents
  • development assessments
  • submissions, reports
  • boards’ and committees’ minutes
  • grants, agreements, contracts and related information
  • hard-copy and web-based publications.

 

We make most of this information available on our website, we also proactively release the following information:

  • our annual report
  • other documents that are tabled in Parliament concerning the department
  • our disclosure log (see note 1)
  • our code of conduct
  • circulars, practice notes, guidelines
  • facts sheets
  • media releases
  • directions from the Minister
  • application templates
  • metropolitan and regional strategies and sub-regional strategies
  • funding programs information
  • local planning directions
  • major project register
  • notices of determination.

 

How can I access this information?

Most of the Department’s information is available on our website. Otherwise, information is available either free of charge, at the lowest reasonable cost, or at the published cost.

 

Our Information Centre provides access to a range of services including information on the Department's programs and regulatory functions, publication distribution and sales, statutory and promotional displays and public registers.

 

You can contact the Information Centre by:

What is business as usual access?

Business as usual access is where a branch or unit has developed a practice of providing certain information as a matter of course proactively or on request. For example, regional offices supply a range of information on request as part of their normal practice.

 

Information disclosure under the GIPA Act

The Department may release information proactively under the GIPA Act, when it is identified as being in the public interest.

 

Note 1: Our disclosure log is a record of information that the Department has released in response to formal access applications from individuals or organisations that the Department thinks could also be of interest to other members of the public. The Department will include only non-personal information on the disclosure log.

 

Informal disclosure

You can make an informal request for access to information at any time.

 

Accessing information through the informal disclosure process will depend on the type and the volume of information requested. The informal disclosure process is free of charge.

 

The Department provides access to information through the informal disclosure process when there is minimal work involved in searching, retrieving, compiling and deciding on the release of the information.

 

The Department does not provide informal disclosure in the following situations:

  • the information requested contains information relating to third parties which may cause concern if the information was released
    the information:
    • is in draft form, or in final form but not yet approved
    • contains confidential information (including commercial information or internal staff disciplinary or grievance matters, or information concerning legal proceedings)
    • is prohibited from disclosure by legislation or copyrighted by a third party other than the State of NSW.
  • Examples of information which may be disclosed informally under the GIPA Act are:
    • documents that have already been made public
    • information which would not raise any potential public interest concerns against disclosure.

 

You can make an informal request for information (under the GIPA Act) by contacting any of our offices listed on our ‘Contact Us’ page.

 

Formal disclosure

Depending on the nature of the information, we may require a formal access application, using our GIPA Act application form. For example, we will need a formal access application if you are requesting any of the following information:

  • high level government documents
  • internal administrative documents
  • information concerning third parties
  • information given and received in confidence
  • information that is difficult to locate.

Processing a formal GIPA application

The Department's formal access application form can be accessed at this link or by contacting the Public Access to Information and Privacy Unit.

 

Formal applications must be in writing, and provide sufficient details to enable the information subject to be identified.

 

To make a formal application, send your completed application form, together with payment to:

Public Access to Information & Privacy Unit (PATI Unit)
Department of Planning & Environment
GPO Box 39
Sydney NSW 2001
Phone 1300 305 695

Formal applications must be in writing, and provide sufficient details to enable the information subject to be identified.

 

The application fees and charges

Charges for processing a formal GIPA application are set out in the table below.

 

We offer a 50 per cent discount if the information requested is of special benefit to the public generally. You need to provide the Department with an explanation as to why disclosure of the information would be of special benefit to the public.

 

We also offer this discount if you:

  • hold a Commonwealth Pensioner Concession Card
  • are a full-time student
  • represent a non-profit organisation

 

The Department has the discretion to waive the fee, and will consider doing so in appropriate circumstances.

 

Nature of application Application fee Processing
Access to information about your personal affairs, the first 20 hours $30 $30 after the first 20 hours
All other requests $30 $30 per hour
Internal review $40 Nil

The application process

The Public Access to Information and Privacy Unit will acknowledge your application within five working days. We will provide a decision concerning access, normally within 20 working days. Sometimes a request may be referred to another agency, if the request is more closely connected to their functions.

 

If the processing time has to be extended or suspended, the Public Access to Information and Privacy Unit will keep you informed as to the progress of your application.

 

What if your application is refused?

Access to information may be refused if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. The Public Access to Information and Privacy Unit will provide reasons why the information is refused in a notice of decision.

 

If your request for access is refused, you have the right to an internal review or review by the Information Commissioner NSW (IPC) and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

 

More information about accessing information can be found by contacting the Information and Privacy Commission.

 

The links to the websites of the IPC and the NCAT are:

Page last updated: 29/05/2017