The Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI Act) provides access to information held by government bodies by:
- authorising and encouraging routine disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications
- authorising and encouraging active disclosure of information held by public authorities in response to informal requests without the need for applications
- giving members of the public an enforceable right to information held by public authorities
- making sure that access to information held by government bodies is restricted only in limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.
The Hobart City Council is a public authority.
Section 3 of the RTI Act includes this statement of the objects of the Act:
- The object of this Act is to improve democratic government in Tasmania by:
(a) increasing the accountability of the executive to the people of Tasmania;
(b) increasing the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance; and
(c) acknowledging that information collected by public authorities is collected for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania and is the property of the State.
- This object is to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers.
- This object is also to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information about the operations of Government.
- It is the intention of Parliament that:
(a) this Act be interpreted so as to further the object set out in subsection (1); and
(b) discretions conferred by this Act be exercised so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the provision of the maximum amount of official information.
The Hobart City Council is required to make information available to the public through proactive disclosure. This means routinely sharing information which will help the public understand what the Council does and how it does it.
The Council and City of Hobart share information online, and through publications (e.g. Minutes, Agendas, City News, Annual Report, Strategic Plan, Hobart 2025 Strategic Framework).
Some information is not released this way, either because it is not of general public interest or because it needs to be assessed against the exemptions in the Right to Information Act 2009 before it is released.
If you cannot find information on our website, we may be able to help you, so please contact us.
If the information is not freely available we will help you make an application for 'assessed disclosure' to request its release.
Applications for information need to be made to the department, authority or council holding the relevant information or most closely linked to the information.
To make an application, you can complete the online Application for assessed disclosure of information (Right to Information request). A printable form is available on our forms page.
If you do not use the form, your application must be made in writing and include the information that is requested in the form. This is a requirement of the Right to Information Regulations 2010.
Applications are to be accompanied by the application fee of 25 fee units, which is $40.50 as at 1 July 2020.
You may apply to have the fee waived if:
- you are in financial hardship – i.e. you are on income support payments (please provide evidence of Centrelink or Veterans Affairs payments)
- you are a member of parliament and the application is in connection with your official duty
- you demonstrate that the information sought is intended to be used for general public interest or benefit.
Make sure you have looked for the information before you make a formal application, because if the information is already available your application may be refused without the return of your application fee.
We will check your application to make sure we have the information we need and that you have paid the application fee (or we will waive the fee). We may transfer your application to another public authority if we do not believe we are best placed to provide you with the information.
We may need to contact you to ask you about your application to properly understand your request.
An officer will then assess your application against the Right to Information Act 2009 and let you know the outcome in writing. You will be notified of the decision as soon as possible, but in no more than 20 working days of the application being accepted.
If your request is complex or for a large amount of information, we may ask you to give us more time. If we need to consult with a third party about their business affairs or personal information, it will take more time and we will inform you. We will let you know the outcome as soon as possible, but no later than 40 working days.
If the application or part of the application is refused, then the reasons for the refusal will be provided, together with details on the right to seek a review of the decision.
This is done by writing to:
City of Hobart
GPO Box 503
Hobart TAS 7001
If the officer assessing your request does not get back to you in the time frame, then your application has been refused. You can make an application for review to the Ombudsman. Information on Ombudsman reviews can be found at the Office of the Ombudsman.
The manual and guidelines will provide you with more detail on making requests under the RTI Act and how they are processed by the agency to which the request is sent.
These are also available at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Related Acts and Regulations
You can view, download and print the following Acts and Regulations made available by the Tasmanian Legislation Online website:
Right to Information Act 2009
Right to Information Regulations 2010