Freedom of Information

What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (‘the Act') gives members of the public the legal right to apply for access to documents held by Hobsons Bay City Council. 

You can apply for access to:

  • documents about your personal affairs, regardless of the age of the documents
  • any other documents which were created on or after 1 January 1989


What is considered a document?

The term ‘document' is broad and includes written documents, whether printed or in electronic form; photographs, letters, reports, maps; audio and video recordings.

Do I need to use FOI to access documents?

Many documents are available outside the requirements of the FOI Act. In these instances, the request will not be processed under FOI.

Information which you may obtain without an FOI application includes information which is publicly available such as; on a public register, and documents which are available for purchase.

How do I make an FOI request?

When submitting an FOI application:

  • your application must be in writing and be accompanied by a non-refundable fee of $32.70 (fee applicable from 1 July 2023)
  • clearly describe the documents that you are seeking access to
  • it is recommended you identify a time period and the type of documents you are seeking to access, for example ‘Correspondence between A and B from 1 January 2023 to 1 February 2023'
  • try to avoid phrases like ‘all documents in relation to' and ‘including but not limited to' (If your request is quite broad, you run the risk of being charged for documents you do not require access to)

Where do I submit an FOI application?

Via Email

In Person

Hobsons Bay City Council   

Altona Civic Centre

115 Civic Parade                    Altona VIC 3018

Sent to

Attention: FOI Officer 

Hobsons Bay City Council          PO Box 21                                      Altona VIC 3018

How long will it take to process an FOI application?

On receipt of a valid FOI application, a decision must be made within 30 days. Please note that this timeframe may be extended as follows:

  • an additional 15 days if consultation is required with third parties to seek their views on the disclosure of documents; and
  • up to an additional 30 days at a time by agreement with you


The FOI Act requires Council to consult with third parties about your request if the information contained in the relevant documents falls within certain exemptions. As part of the consultation process, your name and a brief description of your request may be provided to any person or body with whom we must consult.

What are the charges involved with an FOI application?

As well as an application fee of $32.70, there are costs to access documents – the charges are made under the Freedom of Information (Access Charges) Regulations 2014.

Search charges

$24.50 per hour or part thereof.

Inspection Supervision charges

$24.50 per hour to be calculated per quarter hour or part thereof.

Miscellaneous charge

  • Photocopying charges – 20 cents per black and white A4 page.
  • Access in a form other than photocopying – the reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the copy.
  • Charge for providing written document – the reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the written document.
  • Charge for making a written transcript of a tape – the reasonable costs incurred by the agency in providing the written transcript.

We will advise you of any charges as soon as possible.

How do I appeal a decision?

If you are not satisfied with the decision made by the FOI Officer, you have the right to request a review. This must be in writing and within 28 days of receiving the decision and should be addressed to:

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner
PO BOX 24274
Melbourne VIC3001

Phone: 1300 006 842                       



Further information regarding the appeal process, and functions of the Information Commissioner can be found on the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner’s website. 

If you are not satisfied with the Information Commissioner's review decision, you have the right to appeal to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) within 60 days of receiving the Commissioner's decision.


Further Information

Please contact Council's FOI Officer via if you have any further questions.