Right to Information

Your rights to information and privacy

On 1 July 2009 legislation changed. The new legislation includes the Right to Information Act which replaces the old Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI), and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (IP) which replaces the former information standards.  The new Acts now cover access to Council Information: the RTI Act covers non-personal applications and the IP Act is for access to an individual's own personal information or to change an individual's own personal details held by Council.

Did you know that you have the right to access information held by Council?

Cairns Regional Council collects and stores information about the region, properties, land, individuals, even animals. New legislation supports your access to much of this information, while maintaining appropriate access restrictions for personal or confidential information.

What is Council doing? - Council's publication scheme

The RTI Act requires Council to publish a list of information on its website that is routinely available to residents, known as a 'publications scheme.'  The information in the publication schemeis grouped into seven classes:

Charges for information

There will be no charge for examining any publication scheme information contained on the council's web site. However, there may be a charge if a large volume of printed material is required. You will be told about any photocopying charges at the time of your request.

The cover price will be charged for any publications produced by the council for sale. Charges will be kept under review and there is no intention to charge for material that has previously been available for free.

Disclosure log

The disclosure log is a record of Right to Information (RTI) Applications with Cairns Regional Council. The disclosure log identifies documents that have been released under the RTI act of a non-personal nature. Once documents have been released they are available for access without going through the RTI process. For copies of these documents please contact Council's RTI Co-ordinator by phoning 07 4044 3114.

  • View Council's Right to Information Disclosure Logs in Related Documents at right.

What is right to information?

The Queensland Government recognises that the public has a right to know the information that is created and used by government on their behalf.

The Solomon Report recommended, and the Queensland Government accepted, the need for a "push model" of proactively releasing information rather than waiting for the public to "pull" information under legislation such as the FOI Act.

The Right to Information reforms mean increased public access to government information. Access to information using legislation such as the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) and Information Privacy Act (IP Act) should be a` last resort'. RTI promotes a culture of openness, accountability and transparency, balanced with appropriate protection for certain information, including personal information. In practice, this means that information will be released unless, on balance, its release is contrary to public interest.

What does RTI cover?

The RTI Act covers document of a non-personal nature that cannot be accessed from another source, for example Council's internet.

RTI application

  • Works maintenance reports
  • Complaints
  • Diaries

Public documents

  • Council report
  • Minutes 
  • Corporate Plan 
  • Council budget 
  • Development applications

What is the Information Privacy Act?

The Information Privacy Act 2009 (the IP Act) contains two sets of privacy principles, which regulate how personal information is collected, secured, used and disclosed by Queensland public sector agencies. There are 11 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) for Queensland public sector agencies, and 9 National Privacy Principles (NPPs) for Queensland Health. Both the IPPs and NPPs are adapted from the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988. The IP Act sets out a limited number of situations where the privacy principles will not apply, such as for law enforcement purposes.

What does the IP act cover?

The IP Act also provides a formal mechanism for a person to apply to access or amend their own personal information. This mechanism, which is set out in chapter 3 of the IP Act, is intended to be a last resort. Agencies are encouraged to provide informal (administrative) access and amendment options to people wherever practicable.

How to make an RTI application

  • Applications must submitted on the prescribed form. Download and print the RTI IP Access Application Form.
  • Payment of RTI fee of $43.35 must be paid at time of application. (Note: Payment via MasterCard/Visa will incur a 1% surcharge.) 
  • Provide a specific description of the information you require
  • Provide an address for notices of the Act to be sent to the applicant.
  • Application to be lodged to Cairns Regional Council by post (PO Box 359, Cairns Q 4870) or in person.

For more information on lodging an application go to the Queensland Government's Right to Information website.

Note: All RTI applications to Cairns Regional Council must be submitted to Council by post or in person using the prescribed form.  If you are making an RTI application to a Queensland Government department only, you can apply online at their website.  

How to make an IP application or amend personal details

  • Applications must submitted on the prescribed form. View the RTI IP Access Application Form. No fees apply.
  • Evidence of Identity must be provided within 10 business days.
  • Applications to be lodged to Cairns Regional Council by post (PO Box 359, Cairns QLD 4870), fax (07 4044 3022) Email council@cairns.qld.gov.au or in person.

For more information on lodging an application go to the Queensland Government's Right to Information website.

Note: All RTI applications to Cairns Regional Council must be submitted to Council by post or in person using the prescribed form. If you are making an IP application to a Queensland Government department only, you can apply online at the Queensland Government's Right to Information website.