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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Approved council minutes still subject to FOI amendment

This NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal decision resolved a Freedom of Information review application of a refusal to amend a report to a local council meeting by ordering the council to make two of five requested amendments and upheld the council decision on the other three. In an earlier post we commented that the dispute about whether the Tribunal had jurisdiction to consider the application could have been avoided if the applicant had sought to exercise rights under privacy legislation rather than seeking amendment under the Freedom of Information Act.

One of the unsuccessful arguments put was that as the report formed part of the approved record of the council meeting, the council could not after the event make an amendment because of its obligation under the Local Government Act to ensure full and accurate minutes of a council meeting were kept.
"The two amendments that I have determined should be made - in paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Report, do not, in my view, interfere with the Council’s obligation under section 375 of the LG Act to keep full and accurate minutes of the proceedings of a meeting of the Council. The amendments merely make a relatively minor correction to a report to the Council, albeit important to Mr Livermore in terms of the accuracy of the personal information concerning him contained in the Report. Since this was purely a report by the General Manager to the Council on a staffing matter, the amendments would not appear to affect the fullness or accuracy of the Council minutes." (56)

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