How can I access information

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Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), certain information is required by law to be available on the Commission's website, free of charge. This is called "open access information" and includes:

This website includes a large volume of material that covers many policies and projects. The Commission tries to release as much government information as possible, through this website or by request to nrc@nrc.nsw.gov.au.

Please check the links above to see if the information you are looking for is already publicly available.

In addition to the “open access information”, the Commission also proactively releases a large volume of other information.

Make an informal request

If the information you require has not already been published by the Commission, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of an overriding public interest as to why it should be kept confidential, then the Commission may be able to release such information to you on request, without having to make a formal application.

If you think this applies to the information you require, you can contact the Commission by email at nrc@nrc.nsw.gov.au to make an informal request, or by phone on 9228 4844.

Where some information may be released without the need for a formal request, the Commission reserves the right to require an access application to deal with requests for information, particularly if:

  • there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released, or
  • if you request a large volume of information, or there is another reason the Commission may take a significant amount of time to consider your request, or
  • if there is third party information involved about which the Commission would have to consult with the third party.

Make a formal access application

If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by the Commission on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information.

You can make a formal access application by downloading and completing the GIPA Access Application Form and sending it to the Commission with a cheque or money order for $30 at the following address:

Natural Resources Commission
GPO Box 5341, Sydney NSW 2001
Email: nrc@nrc.nsw.gov.au

The GIPA Act states that the Commission is only able to accept access applications that:

  1. are in writing and sent at the address above
  2. clearly state you are requesting information under the GIPA Act
  3. enclose the $30 application fee (payable by cheque or money order)
  4. state the name of the applicant and a postal or email address as the address for correspondence
  5. include as much information as necessary to enable the Commission identify the specific information you are asking for.

If your application does not meet the above five requirements, it will be considered an invalid application and will not be processed. If that happens, the Commission will let you know and help you, if possible, by explaining how to meet these requirements.

Otherwise the Commission will write acknowledging receipt of your valid access application within five working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extensions allowed for under the GIPA Act). If any extension of time is required, the Commission will let you know in writing.

Scope of applications

If it is not clear what information you are seeking access to, the Commission will contact you to clarify the scope of your application.

For the purposes of formal information access applications made under the GIPA Act, a draft is defined as a version of a record, that is not the final version of the record, that provides evidence of the process involved in the development of a policy, procedure, decision or action.

The Commission's electronic document management system records a different version of a document each time it is saved, including auto saves. This results in large numbers of versions of each document. For the purposes of formal information access applications made under the GIPA Act, these are not drafts.

If you seek access to drafts of records, your application will be interpreted according to the above definition of a draft document. If you seek access to all versions of a record, you must specify this in your application.

Application fees and processing charges

The application fee for making an access application is $30 (payable by cheque or money order). There may be additional processing charges at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances the Commission may require you to pay an advance deposit. The Commission will let you know in writing if that applies to your application.

Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds. For more details, see the Information and Privacy Commission NSW website.

Access application form

You are not legally required to use any particular form to make an access application, beyond satisfying the five requirements set out above. However, you may wish to use the GIPA Access Application Form.

Information that is not available in response to an access application

Although an access application may be made for all government information held by the Commission, the information can not be released if there is an overriding public interest against the disclosure of such information.

In addition, the GIPA Act does not allow the release of some document types, such as:

  • Cabinet information
  • Executive Council information
  • Documents that are subject to Parliamentary privilege
  • Documents that are subject of legal professional privilege.