From the Newsroom

IPC to assist CVC to ‘elevate compliance’

Geoff Helisma


The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has written to Clarence Valley Council’s mayor, Ian Tiley, seeking an “opportunity to assist you in elevating compliance with the GIPA Act (Government Information [Public Access] Act 2009)”.

“The commissioner, Elizabeth Tydd, wrote to me on the fourth of February, and she cited an article in your newspaper, History offers opportunity to repair past mistakes,” Cr Tiley said.

“She referred to the IPC undertaking and publishing a compliance report about council in September 2021.

“She was pleased that your article demonstrated a commitment to form and elevate compliance at Clarence Valley Council.

“The commissioner offered to come and speak to the council to assist us with some ‘cultural change’ – her words, not mine – and to have a full and frank discussion to create a greater awareness of the obligations on councillors under the GIPA Act.

“She specifically referred to the need for improvements in disclosures of interest, and she really wanted the council to succeed and make it easy for us to meet our compliance obligations.

“She’s coming here in late March, early April.”

Former councillors Williamson, Lysaught, Baker, Kingsley and Ellem, and general manager Ashley Lindsay (currently on long service leave), opposed uploading their declarations of interest in November 2019 and January 2020.

“On behalf of staff and designated staff and persons, I think it is unfair for them to have their information on the website for people to view,” Mr Lindsay advised councillors at the November 2019 CVC meeting.

More recently, in November 2021, the IPC said CVC had “conflated” its implementation of the GIPA Act in relation to how it had enforced the ‘Unreasonable Complainant Conduct’ policy.

Consequently, the IPC asked CVC to “consider” training its staff, regarding the “GIPA Act and administrative decision making”.

A draft of version 3 of the policy, ‘Managing unreasonable conduct by complainants,’ is on exhibition until Wednesday, March 30.