Right to information and accessing documents
  • Last updated:
  • 25 Aug 2022

Council is committed to being open and transparent.

Council provides information to the public in a number of ways including via our websites or through property searches. Council officers can also provide information on request, subject to legal and policy requirements (e.g. privacy).

Accessing information from council 

Here are some of the different ways that you can access information from council:

You also have the right to make a formal application for access to documents. However, applications are intended to be a last resort. You can find out how to make a formal application below.

Right to Information

Right to Information or 'RTI' promotes openness and transparency in government, which is recognised to improve public administration and decision making.

Under the Right to Information Act 2009:

  • information is to be released administratively as a matter of course, unless there is a good reason not to, with formal applications being necessary only as a last resort
  • people have a legal right to make a formal application for access to any document held by Council.

RTI is the Queensland Government's approach to giving the community greater access to information. It commits Council to provide access to any information, unless on balance it is contrary to public interest to provide that information.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and Information Privacy Act 2009 aim to make more information available, provide equal access to information across all sectors of the community, and provide appropriate protection for individuals privacy.

Making a formal application for access to documents

If you are unable to obtain information via other means (e.g. by requesting it informally or a by a property search), you may wish to make a formal application for access to documents.

Application fee

The application fee from 01 July 2022 is $53.90 if you are applying for one or more documents that do not contain your personal information. The application fee is mandatory and cannot be waivered or discounted (even with a concession card).

However, there is no application fee or processing charges if one of the following apply:

  • all the documents you are applying for  contain your personal information; OR
  • you are acting on behalf of another person, and all of the documents contain that person's personal information.

The application form will prompt you to select the type of application you are making and whether the application fee is payable.

Processing and access charges

Processing charges may also be payable at the rate of $8.35 for each 15 minutes or part thereof if the application takes longer than 5 hours to process. There are no processing charges for documents containing the applicant's personal information. 

Access charges include:

  • black and white photocopies at $0.25 per page
  • costs incurred to engage a contractor or entity to search for and retrieve a document

However, before any processing and access charges are payable, you will be given an estimate and can then decide if you wish to continue.

Processing and access charges may be waived for individuals with a valid concession card and non-profit groups with financial hardship status.

Evidence of identity

If you are seeking access to documents that contain personal information either in relation to you or on behalf of another person, you must provide evidence of your identity at the time of lodging the application form, or within 10 business days of making application, in order for your application to be processed.

If you are seeking documents on someone's behalf, both parties must provide evidence of their identities.

If you are not seeking any personal information, you are not required to provide evidence of your identity.

Documents that provide sufficient evidence of identity include:

  • Current Drivers Licence
  • Passport
  • Birth Certificate
  • Statutory Declaration of an individual who has known the applicant for atleast one year.

If lodging your application by email, please post a certified copy of your identification document. However, Council at its discretion may accept an electronic copy.

Third party consultation

If disclosure of information would reasonably be expected to be of concern to a third party (e.g. another person involved in a complaint or dispute), then council may only give access to such information if it has taken steps to obtain the views of the relevant third party.

Processing timeframes

Once an application is received and is valid, council must provide a decision within 25 business days. This timeframe can be extended in some circumstances (for example where council needs to consult with a third party, or council requests additional time to consider the application).

Application form

Before making a formal application, it is recommended that you firstly contact council to discuss your application and whether information may be available via other means.

If you would like to make a formal application for access to documents, please complete the Right to Information and Information Privacy Access Application Form[200KB]. Read the form carefully to determine whether you also need to pay the RTI application fee or provide evidence of your identity, as detailed above.

Payment options

Payment options include:

  • credit card payment via phone
  • cheque or money order via post
  • pay in-person at a council service centre by credit card, debit card, cash or cheque

Contact council directly to make credit card payment via phone. You may also submit your application without payment and we can contact you to discuss payment, however the application is non-compliant until such time as it is paid.

Due to security requirements, please do not send any credit card details via email.

Submitting the application to council

Completed applications can be lodged in person at a service centre or posted to:

Right to Information
Sunshine Coast Regional Council
Locked Bag 72
SCMC QLD 4560

Contact details and more information

• email rti@sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au
contact council 
• or visit the Queensland Government's Right to Information website