Access to information

Access to information

Online services

You can request access to City records.


Request information

Helping you access information you need

On this page you can learn about the different ways to access information about the City of Sydney. The City has records from when it was established in 1842 through to current records.

Self-searches

The City’s website has an enormous amount of information, which is regularly updated and expanded. You can search the website by clicking the magnifying glass icon on the top right of every webpage.

To access information about development applications including applications, planners reports and consents from 2004 onwards, first use the DA search facility.

For older records the City Archives may be the place to begin your search. 

Requesting City records

For information that is not readily available you can request the information simply by describing it in an email addressed to council@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au or you can submit a request online or in person at one of our Customer Service Centres.

When submitting your request, it is important to provide an accurate description of the required information.

Examples of information you can usually request in this way include:

  • development applications: applications, planners reports, consents and plans, but, as mentioned above, for DAs from 2004 onwards, first use the DA search facility.
  • building related certificates
  • photographs
  • plans of management
  • local history material
  • submissions and complaints with information that would tend to identify third parties removed
  • infrastructure maintenance records.

We aim to respond to requests within 10 working days. However, response times will vary depending on the current levels of demand on our services and the type of information being requested.

We provide access via digital copy whenever we can or by viewing in the Town Hall House reading room. For copyright material which is not in the City’s Archive (a rough test is if the material is less than ten years old) we will only provide copies if you have the copyright owner’s consent.

There is usually no application fee for requests for information, however scanning charges may apply and will be charged when the request is completed.

On rare occasions access to certain City records may require an access application under section 41 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).  Such records may contain private information about people, organisations, or businesses other than you or your organisation or business, or be sensitive, requiring a balancing of public interest considerations for and against disclosure.  Decisions on section 41 applications have review rights for applicants and third parties.  Section 41 applications require an application fee and the City charges hourly rates in accordance with the GIPA Act.  If you believe a section 41 access application may be necessary, please ring 02 9265 9333 and ask for the Information Access team to check before making the application. 

Open access information

Under the GIPA Act certain information, known as open access information, must be disclosed by us unless it is not in the public interest to do so. This website is a central reference point you can use to search for what you need.

Proactive release  

Under the GIPA Act we proactively release information with a commitment to providing as much information as possible, for free or at the lowest possible cost. It is also our intent to make information easily accessible to the public.

You can find information on our website or by contacting our Customer Service Centre on 02 9265 9333.

Obtaining property owner information

We only release property owner details if they are a business or corporation. In compliance with privacy laws, we do not release individual ownership details. You can apply for individual property ownership information from NSW Land Registry Services

Agency Information Guide

You can view our Agency Information Guide here.

Contacts

Customer Service Centre
02 9265 9333

Links 

Information and Privacy CommissionGovernment Information (Public Access) Act

Last updated: Thursday, 12 July 2018