Access to information

There are a number of ways you can access information from Council:

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

On 1 July 2010 the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act) commenced, repealing and replacing the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) (FOI Act).

As part of this reform, the GIPA Act:

  • upholds rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government
  • maintains there is a presumption in favour of the disclosure of government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure
  • authorises and encourages government agencies to proactively release government information
  • makes it possible for government agencies to release information informally, without the need to submit a formal access application
  • requires that a government agency must release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure
  • provides applicants with review rights around information access decisions.

Release of information by Council under the GIPA Act will be determined by the public interest test. As provided by section 13 of the Act, there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information if (and only if) there are public interest considerations against disclosure and, on balance, those considerations outweigh the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure.

You can find out more about right to information, the public interest test and the ways to access government information under the GIPA Act on the NSW Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website at The IPC is an independent statutory authority responsible for overseeing the provisions of the GIPA Act. Please note the IPC is unable to provide legal advice to stakeholders.

How to access information under the GIPA Act

For an overview of the type of information Council holds, please see the Agency Information Guide 2023

Council is required to publish the following open access information under section the GIPA Act:

  • Agency Information Guide 2023
  • policy documents
  • disclosure log of access applications
  • register of government contracts
  • record of open access information not publicly available
  • other information as prescribed by the regulations as open access (see below)

Council is required to publish the following additional open access information under Schedule 1 of the Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Regulation):

Under section 7(3) of the GIPA Act, Council is required to review its proactive release program at least every 12 months, to identify any information we hold that should in the public interest be made publicly available.

The informal release provisions under section 8 of the GIPA Act provide Council with the authority to release information without the need for a formal access application.

Information can be informally requested from Council by submitting the Access Informal Request Form.

Please note the GIPA Act provides no statutory time frame by which informal requests must be decided within and Formal Access Applications are prioritised due to strict legislative timeframes. Council is not required to disclose government information pursuant to an informal request and is also not required to consider an informal request for government information (s 8(3)). Council can decide however by what means information is to be released in response to an informal request (s 8(4)).

If you wish to access information in respect of contact details for property owners, Council requires you to submit an informal request. Please be advised that in accordance with the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, Council is prohibited from providing personal information to third parties without consent.  Or alternatively, you can apply under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, by way of a statutory declaration detailing why you would like this information. Please note NSW Land and Property Information may be able to provide you with the information sought.

Should you wish to obtain copies of plans held by Council, please lodge a Plan Request Form.

Please lodge a Property Development Enquiry Form, should you require property information only, including dates of Development approvals, Occupation Certificates, Final Inspection and Building Certificates. If copies of documents are required, please lodge an Informal Access Request Form with Council.

If information cannot be accessed through any of the above avenues, a formal application can be submitted to Council. Council will request a formal application be made for information only as a last resort. A formal application is likely necessary if an applicant asks for a large volume of information, if providing access would involve an unreasonable diversion of resources on behalf of Council (i.e. extensive search, retrieval of information from archives), or if the information sought involves personal or business information about third parties that must be consulted before the information can be released.

Section 41 of the GIPA Act lists the formal requirements for making a valid access application:

  • it must be in writing using the Access to Information - Formal Access Application Form and sent to or lodged at Council;
  • it must clearly indicate that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act;
  • it must be accompanied by a $30 application fee;
  • it must state a postal address in Australia as the address for correspondence in connection with the application;
  • it must include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable the government information applied for to be identified.

Access to Information (GIPA) form

Complete an online informal access to information form.

Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002

Council complies with the provisions of the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 (NSW)

Health information is defined in the HRIP Act to include the following:

(a) personal information that is information or an opinion about:

  1. the physical or mental health or a disability (at any time) of an individual, or
  2. an individual's express wishes about the future provision of health services to him or her, or
  3. a health service provided, or to be provided, to an individual, or

(b) other personal information collected to provide, or in providing, a health service, or

(c) other personal information about an individual collected in connection with the donation, or intended donation, of an individual's body parts, organs or body substances, or

(d) other personal information that is genetic information about an individual arising from a health service provided to the individual in a form that is or could be predictive of the health (at any time) of the individual or a genetic relative of the individual, or

(e) healthcare identifiers but does not include health information, or a class of health information or health information contained in a class of documents, that is prescribed as exempt health information for the purposes of this Act generally or for the purposes of specified provisions of this Act.

The initial cost is $33.00

You can complete the HRIP Act request form below and submit it to Council.

Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998

Council complies with the provisions of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (PPIP ACT).

Personal information is any information or opinion about an individual whose identity is apparent or can be readily identified from the information or opinion (s 4 of the PPIP Act).

In order to deliver a wide range of services to the community Council collects a range of personal information about ratepayers (including businesses) and those who receive services. This information includes:

  • names, address and contact details;
  • property ownership information;
  • credit card/bank account details for those who have provided this information to make payments.

From time to time Council may gather demographic details such as age, income and education/employment information. Council may only collect information that is required for a specific purpose and the information we collect will only be collected as long as it is required.

There is no initial fee.

Council is committed to seeking and receiving feedback and complaints about our services, systems, practices, procedures, products and complaint handling. Such complaints provide Council with an opportunity for improved service delivery.

Any concerns raised in feedback or complaints will be dealt with within a reasonable time frame, in accordance with Council's Customer Service Charter that can be found on the Policies page.

Council has adopted a Complaints Handling policy and a Complaint Handling Factsheet .

For more information call Council on (02) 4988 0255 or email

This Disclosure log identifies information and documents that have been released by a formal access application process.

Formal access applications received that are likely to be of interest to members of the public, will be published in this disclosure log. The disclosure log contains non-personal information only.

Please note that details of an application will not be included within the disclosure log until the application has been decided.

How to access requested information

The requested information below can be accessed by contacting Council's Right to Information Officer on (02) 4988 0255 or email

Reference NumberDate of DecisionInformation RequestedType of Release
PSC2020-005333.3.20Correspondence from the OLG relating to complaint handling functions Refused
PSC2019-0498715.1.20Copy of Council's secondary employment register and information contained on Pecuniary Interest returns Part
PSC2019-0472819.11.19Copy of documents from applications that were originally lodged as Formal GIPA requests but were addressed by way of informal releasePart
PSC2019-0245923.8.19Information concerning Nelson Bay and Medowie Road upgradePart
PSC2018-020269.8.19Information encompassing 20 DA's that had gone before CouncilPart
PSC2019-0013827.2.19Traffic data and information relating to 2 Bagnall Avenue Soldiers PointPart
PSC2018-0407014.2.19Information concerning caravan park at 21 Fullerton Cove Road Part
PSC2018-0202621.12.18Council's secondary employment register Part
PSC2018-036076.12.18Information relating to 111 South StreetPart
PSC2018-0338612.11.18Environmental Assessment reports for lot 5 DP 1175028Part
PSC2018-025763.9.18Information contained within development applications submitted for 182 Port Stephens Drive Salamander BayPart
PSC2018-0011522.7.18Information relating to 8 Fleet Street Salamander BayPart
PSC2018-014756.6.18Policies, processes and systems of Council Full and information already made available
PSC2018-0055927.4.18Road widening and any incidents relating to 2998 Nelson Bay Road Salt Ash Part release
PSC2018-0104227.4.18Information relating to 40 Kerrigan Street Nelson BayFull
PSC2018-0038528.3.18Data and records relating to the road condition for Mustons RoadAlready provided
PSC2018-0032320.3.2018Any trip & fall incidents relating to 34 Mount Hall Road Raymond TerracePart
PSC2018-0024722.3.2018All correspondence and documentation relating to the Culvert Crossing at Mustons Road in Karuah, in particular correspondence between Port Stephens Council and Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council in relation to the subject sitePart
PSC2018-0032320.3.2018Information relating to footpath condition near Mount Hall Road Raymond TerracePart
PSC2018-0024919.3.2018Documents that demonstrate compliance with Council's road maintenance policy and the Agreed Level of ServicePart
PSC2018-002488.3.2018Copy of Statewide Mutual's Best Practice ManualRefused
PSC2018-000487.3.2018 Information relating to the planning proposal to rezone and amend the minimum lot sizes for several properties within MedowiePart
PSC2018-002465.3.2018Documentation relating to corrective action Council took to ensure compliance with 'Best Practice' measures when a traffic control inconsistency was brought to the attention of the site supervisorFull
PSC2017-0332830.1.2018Information relating historic property files for Sand Mining approvals granted on Part Portion 149 Nelson Bay Road Salt AshPart
PSC2017-0309121.12.2017Information relating to the Culvert Crossing at Mustons Road KaruahPart
PSC2017-031597.12.2017Information relating to Trip & Fall incidents near the Nelson Bay CBDPart 
PSC2017-0289924.10.2017Documentation relating to motor vehicle incidents that have occurred on the roundabout on Pacific Highway, Raymond Terrace and Adelaide StreetInformation not held
PSC2017-024554.09.2017Information in relation to blocks of land in Mabo Wetlands, dating back to March 2016Part
PSC2017-0234715.9.2017Information concerning complaints and compliance for a DA at Soldiers PointPart
PSC2017-0251625.9.2017Information in respect of Albatross Avenue Salamander BayPart
PSC2017-0255729.9.2017Information relating to Council's former 'Planning Matters to be reported to Council' PolicyPart
PSC2017-0152015.06.2017Information concerning Council's legal costs and insurance informationPart
PSC2016-0273213.12.2016Information relating to the Boomerang Park Master PlanFull
PSC2016-0273315.11.2016Information relating to the tender process for T17-2015 Raymond Terrace Men's ShedPart
PSC2016-219015.09.2016All information relating to the Boomerang Park Draft Plan of Management Public HearingPart
PSC2016-0217115.09.2016All information relating to the change of land use zoning over Lot 1 DP 1019113 98 Coachwood Drive Medowie from Rural 1a to E2 Environmental ConservationPart
PSC2016-0168514.07.2016Civil construction information relating to the Cove Village and Fullerton Cove RoadPart
PSC2016-017308.07.2016Copies of plans recorded in 7-1996-511-1 being 40 Albert St Taylors BeachPart
PSC2016-0148120.06.2016Information relating to the car park at 6 and 8 The Close Raymond TerracePart
PSC2016-010636.05.2016Information relating to DA 16-2012-320-1 3/1A Hank St HeatherbraePart
PSC2016-010686.05.2016Information relating to maintenance of Swan Reach Rd HintonPart
PSC2016-0081014.04.2016Information relating to Seabreeze Estate, Port StephensFull
PSC2016-0006617.02.2016Various documents relating to Tomaree Aquatic CentrePart
PSC2016-0021616.02.2016Information relating to consultation regarding DA 16-2011-483-1 3 Sapphire Ct Raymond TerraceFull
PSC2015-0391313.01.2016Information in respect of a Menacing Dog Order and related investigationsPart
PSC2015-340003.12.2015Various documents relating to the construction and maintenance of the Shoal Bay wharf, including any related incident reports.Part
PSC2015-0309326.10.2015Copies of documents to and from the Department of Defence in relation to Firefighting foam/chemicals, also known as PFOS and PFOA used at RAAF Base Williamtown.Part
PSC2015-0187216.07.2015Copies of various information relating to 282, 282A, 282B and 398 Cabbage Tree Road, Williamtown, and Coxs Lane, Fullerton Cove.Part
PSC2015-0102804.05.2015Various information relating to DA 16-2012-630-1 being 13 Barleigh Ranch Way, Eagleton.Part
PSC2015-0095320.04.2015Various information relating to the Section 94 Contribution applicable to the Marina Resort redevelopment.Part
PSC2015-0034503.03.2015Extensive information in respect of the financial commitments to and performance of the Samurai Beach Resort, Council's dealings with Crown Lands, documentation relating to the 2014 tender for the lease and operation of the Resort and since late 2014 Council's operation of the site as TreEscape Park.Part
PSC2015-0036924.02.2015Records relating to complaints, road maintenance or construction performed between Port Stephens and Sturgeon Streets from May 2014 to present.Part
PSC2014-0427213.01.2015The names of the four person review panel, meeting records relevant to the review and any emails between Council officers and Councillors relating to the review.Part
PSC2013-0431219.02.2014Copies of documents, photographs, tree root damage complaints, test results, guttering plans etc for the period January 2001 to 17th September 2013.Part
PSC2014-0161512.06.2014Records relating to construction, maintenance and repair of the footpath in Adelaide Street, Raymond Terrace, in the vicinity of Sketchley's Cottage, as well as all complaints received between January 2011 and December 2013.Part
PSC2013-0533220.12.2013Copies of all records held in respect of a fall in Gowrie Street in November 2011 including maintenance records in respect of footpath areas.Part
PSC2013-0327827.08.2013All documents relating to work carried out on Wallaroo Road, East Seaham between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2012.Part
PSC2013-0464528.11.2013Copies of all records held by Council relating to trips, falls, slips or other similar incidents of pedestrians on the footpath grate walkway from July 2011 to October 2013.Part
PSC2013-0204412.06.2013Copies of all documents in Council's possession relating to accident between motor vehicle and animals.Full
PSC2013-0011924.01.2013All documents relating to a road or opening of a road from Nelson Bay Road down to a sand mine located within Lot 218 DP 1044608.Full
PSC2012-0277302.10.2012Seeking details of a GIPA applicant.Full
PSC2010-0434612.08.2012Request for copies of documents relating to an incident at Birubi Beach on 4 July 2010.Full
PSC2011-0389927.06.2012All documents including memorandums, files notes, emails, letters, reports, investigations relating to road and drainage works in Dixon St and Warren St Seaham between February 2009 and September 2011.Part
PSC2010-0615412.04.2012Information relating to the advertisement by Council in the NSW Government Gazette dated 18 May 2007 and 19 August 2005 listing the land to be offered for sale by public auction. Information requested includes an updated schedule showing the amounts which are now held by Council as a creditor for each landowner following a deduction from the sale proceeds for unpaid rates and charges.Full
PSC2011-0089510.03.2011Seeking to inspect any approvals for Banksia Grove Village.Full
PSC2010-0608205.01.2011Correspondence from the NSW Department of Planning regarding Kings Hill.Full

In accordance with Section 27 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 or GIPA, Council is required to maintain a register of information about each government contract which has (or is likely to have) a value of $150,000 including GST or more.

This requirement does not apply to contracts entered into by Councils before commencement of the GIPA Act on 1 July 2010. Alternatively, Council may make some of this prior information proactively available within the contracts register.

You can request information on any contract entered into prior to this date by contacting the Right to Information Officer.

Under Section 35 (2)(b) of the Act, Councils are not required to publish their contracts register on the e-tenders website, making this page the centralised location for all current contracts entered into by Council since 1 July 2010.

Contracts that must be included in the government contracts register are those between an agency and a private sector contractor for a value of $250,000 including GST or more, and involve:

  • the contractor undertaking a specific project such as construction, infrastructure or property development;
  • the contractor agreeing to provide specific goods or services; and
  • the transfer or lease of real property.

Employment contracts do not need to be included in the register.

Classes of contracts

The Act provides for 3 different classes of contracts, each with different information disclosure requirements.

Class 1 — contracts are those that have, or are likely to have a value of $150,000 including GST.

Class 2 — contracts are those that have, or are likely to have a value of $150,000 (inc GST), and additionally either where:

  • there has not been a public tender process and the terms and conditions of the contract have been negotiated directly with the contractor
  • the contract was the subject of a tender (whether public or not) but the terms and conditions have been substantially negotiated with the contractor
  • the obligations of one or more parties to maintain or operate infrastructure or assets; and could continue for 10 years or more
  • the contract involves a privately financed project (as defined by Treasury)
  • the contract involves a transfer of a significant asset or an exchange of significant assets.

For our council, if a class 2 contract has a value or likely value of more than $5 million including GST, it becomes a class 3 contract. Agencies must publish a copy of a class 3 contract on the register of government contracts.

Class 3 — Class 2 contract parameters (above) and a contract value of greater than $5 million including GST.

Please find details of any such procurement contracts (active tenders) in our Contracts Register.