Access to Information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) establishes a proactive, more open approach to gaining access to government information in New South Wales (NSW). The objects of the GIPA Act are to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic Government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.

You can find out more about your right to information and how to access NSW government information on the Information and Privacy Commission's (IPC) website at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au.  You may also like to refer to the NSWEC's GIPA Policy and Procedure.

Publicly available information

Information that is already publicly available is discussed in detail below.  It is imperative that you first search this website for information.

Open access information

As mentioned in the agency information guide, the NSWEC publishes information regarding elections, enrolment, funding and disclosure and lobbying on this website. We try to release as much information as possible, either through our website or in other appropriate ways, free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost.

Under the GIPA Act, certain information is required by law to be available on our website, free of charge. This is called "open access information" and includes:

You should check the open access information links above to see if the information you are looking for is already publicly available.

Proactively released information

In addition to the 'open access information' and other information that the NSWEC is required to publish, you will find on our website information that the NSWEC has proactively released.  Information that has been proactively released includes plans, election reports, submissions to the Joint Standing Committee, commissioned reports and iVote® system reports.

Our agency information guide will give you some guidance about the other kinds of information the NSWEC holds.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for on this website, you can ask us whether the information has already been released in some other form (eg. in printed form).

Some publications may only be available on the payment of a fee, but we will let you know if that is the case.

Public Registers

The NSWEC maintains under Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912, the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 and the Lobbying of Government Officials Act 2011 a number of public registers.  For example:

  • Register of Political Parties for local government and state government,
  • Registers of candidates, party and official agents and third-party campaigners,
  • Register of Third-Party Lobbyists,
  • Lobbyist Watch List.

You may conveniently access the above registers on our website or at the office of the NSWEC.

In addition to the above registers, you may access your own enrolment information from our website using the NSWEC's enrolment verification facility.

Disclosures of political donations and electoral expenditure

The NSWEC receives and processes the disclosures of political donations and electoral expenditure lodged by or in respect to political parties, elected members, candidates, groups, third-party campaigners and major political donors.

The NSWEC maintains an online searchable database of disclosures lodged by candidates, groups, elected councillors, Members of Parliament, registered political parties and political donors since 2008.  The database can be accessed from the NSWEC's website.

Information not made available under the GIPA Act

The types of information that will not be made available under the GIPA Act are discussed below.

Enrolment Information

You may check if you are enrolled and your details are correct through our online enrolment verification facility. Detailed information concerning the NSW Electoral Roll is available on the NSWEC's website.

An access application under the GIPA Act for enrolment information (other than your own enrolment information) will not be granted for a number of reasons, one reason being that there are already processes under the PEEA and LGA by which individuals must apply to access that information.

Electoral Information

An access application under the GIPA Act for electoral information will not be granted on the basis that there is a conclusive presumption of overriding public interest against disclosure of that information under schedule 1 of the GIPA Act.

iVote system source code

An access application under the GIPA Act for iVote system source code will not be granted on the basis that there is a conclusive presumption of overriding public interest against disclosure of that information under schedule 1 of the GIPA Act.

Electoral Material in secure storage

After an election has been declared, marked and unmarked ballot papers together with authorised copies of the roll and other papers and materials used in the election  (including nomination forms and candidate information sheets) are sealed in parcels and kept in secure storage for a prescribed period of time prior to destruction.   It is a legal requirement that all parcels are to be kept secure until destroyed.

It is a longstanding principle of elections administration across local government, state and federal jurisdictions, and as upheld by the courts, that access by candidates, parties and electors to material of a nature that would be kept in secure storage is strictly limited and generally only by way of an order to produce documents by a competent court or tribunal.

NSWEC's investigative and prosecuting functions

Excluded functions of particular agencies are prescribed in Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act and an application related to an excluded function of an agency is taken to be an application for excluded information.

The NSWEC's investigative and prosecuting functions are prescribed as excluded functions under clause 4 of Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act.  An access application cannot be made to an agency for access to excluded information of the agency.

To better understand the NSWEC's investigative and prosecuting functions you may like to refer to the NSWEC's website which contains relevant information including the NSWEC's compliance and compliance audit policies.

Informal requests

Under the GIPA Act, agencies are not required to release information without an access application. The NSWEC reserves the right to require you to lodge an access application, particularly if there may be 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 if it would otherwise take the NSWEC a significant amount of time to consider your request.  Please refer the NSWEC's GIPA Policy and Procedures for further information.

Formal access applications

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

Access Application form

You can make a formal application by downloading and completing the government information access form and sending it to us.

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 Access Application (PDF 13.5KB)

Valid access application forms

An access application is not a valid access application unless it complies with the following requirements:

  • it must be in writing and sent to or lodged at the NSWEC (see our postal address),
  • it must clearly state you are requesting information under the GIPA Act,
  • it must enclose the $30 application fee,
  • it must have a return postal address as the address for correspondence, and
  • it must include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are seeking.

If your application does not comply with the formal requirements above, it will be invalid. We will write to acknowledge receipt of a valid access application or notify you that the application is not a valid access application within 5 working days.  If your application is invalid, we will let you know and we will help you, if possible, by explaining how you can make a valid application.

We will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extension allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, we will let you know in writing.

Application fees and processing charges

The application fee for making an access application is $30. Processing charges can also be imposed at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances an advance deposit can be required. We will let you know in writing if that is appropriate to your application.

Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds – for more details see the Information Commissioner Fact Sheets or refer to the NSWEC GIPA Policy and Procedure.