Agency information guide

About us

Rous County Council is a county council constituted under the Local Government Act 1993. County councils are different to local councils; they are specifically set up or delegated to provide one or more functions of a local council. This means that they have quite specific functions that they undertake for the local councils of the areas within which they operate.

Rous County Council has three main functions:

1. Bulk water supply

Rous County Council is the regional water supply authority providing water in bulk to the council areas of Ballina (excluding Wardell), Byron (excluding Mullumbimby), Lismore (excluding Nimbin), and Richmond Valley (excluding land to the west of Coraki). The regional supply network includes approximately 43,850 connections within the reticulation areas of these constituent councils, and around 2,110 retail connections to the Rous County Council trunk main system. A population of around 100,000 is serviced by this water supply system with the actual area of operations being approximately 3,000km2. The principal source of our supply network is Rocky Creek Dam, situated 25 kilometres north of Lismore near the village of Dunoon..

2. Weed biosecurity

Council undertakes a wide range of activities to combat the spread of weeds across the local government areas of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley. Council also does this on behalf of Kyogle and Tweed Shire as part of a fee for service arrangement. Council is the Local Control Authority responsible for administering the weeds component of the Biosecurity Act 2015.

3. Flood mitigation

Council is a flood mitigation authority operating across the local government areas of Ballina, Lismore and Richmond Valley. It is responsible for mitigation of menace to the safety of life or property from floods and natural resource management activities related to this through the maintenance of flood mitigation infrastructure including canals and floodgates.

Prior to 1 July 2016 there were three separately constituted county councils servicing the northern rivers region:

  • Rous County Council (trading as Rous Water): bulk water supply
  • Far North Coast County Council (trading as Far North Coast Weeds): noxious weeds
  • Richmond River County Council: flood mitigation.

Rous County Council, which was the larger of the three counties, operated under a service level agreement with Far North Coast County Council and Richmond River County Council to provide all administrative, governance, human resources, IT and support services.

The counties recognised the need for reform and the opportunity to rationalise and consolidate. This change, among other things, eliminated triplicate processes across a broad range of areas, particularly statutory reporting and compliance.

By proclamation of the NSW Governor, effective 1 July 2016, Far North Coast County Council and Richmond River County Council were dissolved. The functions and operations of Richmond River County Council were subsequently transferred to Rous County Council. For Far North Coast County Council, their functions and operations in the Ballina, Byron, Lismore City and Richmond Valley local government areas transferred to Rous County Council. Their functions and operations in the Kyogle and Tweed Shire were transferred to those respective councils. Both Kyogle and Tweed Shire Council now utilise Rous County Council under a service level agreement to deliver their weed biosecurity services.


Membership of the Council is drawn from the councils of Ballina, Byron, Lismore and Richmond Valley. The current representatives of the member councils can be found here.

The day-to-day running of Rous County Council is the responsibility of the General Manager, who, with managers and staff, act on Council's decisions by developing and putting into practice Council policies and resolutions.

The Governance Framework outlines the collection of tools that enables and constrains how we act on behalf of Council. A copy of the Governance Framework can be found here

A copy of information posted onto the Rous County Council website can also be requested in person from Council's administration office, Level 4, 218-232 Molesworth Street, Lismore NSW 2480 between 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Thursday excluding public holidays. Alternatively, you can request a copy be posted to you by emailing, telephoning (02) 6623 3800, or by mailing your request to Rous County Council, PO Box 230, Lismore NSW 2480.

Council and public participation in Council policy formulation

Council meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every second month (unless affected by public holidays), commencing at 1.30 pm at Council's administration centre, Level 4, 218-232 Molesworth Street, Lismore. Any variation to Council's meeting timetable is advertised in the local newspaper and displayed on Council’s website. Council business papers can be found here as well as at Council’s administration centre. A business paper is also made available to anyone attending a council meeting.

A range of options exist for public participation in the Council policy development process. In particular, subject to sections 10A and 10B of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW), which make provision for the closure of meetings in certain circumstances, members of the public may attend council meetings.

Other opportunities for public participation include but are not limited to the following:

Public notice of time and place of council meetings is advertised in the local newspaper, The Northern Star, at the beginning of each year.

Public access is available at the commencement of all council meetings, whereby members of the public may address Council on matters listed in the business paper relevant for the meeting.

Access is available to inspect documents and correspondence tabled at or submitted to a council meeting, as well as the minutes to all meetings.

Public exhibition is undertaken and an invitation to make submissions issued on a range of policy documents and proposals.

Council information available to the public

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) Rous County Council and all other NSW government agencies are required to publish a range of open access information.

This information includes a disclosure log, policy documents, agency information guide and a register of government contracts. 

Council generates and retains a range of documents to facilitate its daily operations, including:

  • Legal, corporate governance, financial, commercial and administrative documents
  • Operational documents
  • Human Resources documents
  • Information Technology documents
  • General Manager documents.

Information can be provided by open access, proactive release, informal request or a formal application. Release of information is subject to whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Council makes available for inspection those documents that it is required and permitted by law to make available for inspection. Inspection of such documents is free of charge, however an administration charge may apply if copies of these documents are required.


Full copies of all policies can be downloaded here.

Annual Report

The Annual Report is our annual report card providing information on our achievements during the relevant reporting period as well as our financial performance. The report complies with the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) and contains important information about various aspects of our business. To view a copy of the Annual Report please click here.

Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R)

The Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework provides a framework for identifying the priority issues for Council, outcomes proposed to address these issues and the strategies to achieve the outcomes. The Operational Plan section includes detailed estimates of income and expenditure together with Council's fees and charges. To view a copy of the IP&R framework please click here.

Disclosure log

A disclosure log is a record containing details of government information already released under the GIPA Act. A disclosure log is part of the open access information that agencies are required to make publicly available. Details are entered into the disclosure log when an access application has been decided, and any review time limits have expired. To view a copy of Council's Disclosure Log, please click here.

Contracts register

Council maintains a register of contracts as per the requirements of the GIPA Act. This means Council makes available details of contracts with an estimated value of $150,000 or more. Click here for more information or to view the contracts register.

How information is available and how to lodge a GIPA application

If you wish to access information that is not publicly available you must complete a GIPA Access Application and pay a fee of $30 for the application to be assessed. The application is available on this website and at Council’s Administration Centre Reception. Click here to download council's GIPA Access Application. The application fee includes the first 20 hours of processing time, and will be refunded in full if the application is denied.

Depending on the type of document requested, information will be supplied to the applicant in either electronic or hardcopy format, or a combination of both.

GIPA applications must be made in writing, accompanied by the $30 application fee and lodged by post to:

Public Officer
Rous County Council
Administration Centre
PO Box 230
Lismore NSW 2480

If applying by post, payment of the $30 application fee can be made via EFTPOS, cheque or money order.

Applications may also be lodged in person at the Rous County Council Administration Centre, Level 4, 218-232 Molesworth Street, Lismore, between 8:30am to 4:30pm from Monday to Thursday excluding public holidays.

If applying in person, payment of the $30 application fee can be made via EFTPOS, credit card, cheque, or money order.

For informal requests for information or to seek amendment of Council’s records concerning your personal affairs, contact the Public Officer by telephone on (02) 6623 3800, or by e-mail at: Access to Council’s records regarding your personal affairs is free and a GIPA Access Application is not required.

Click here to download the information sheet, 'Accessing information held by Council'.

Further information regarding the GIPA Act is available from:

Information and Privacy Commission (IPC)

free call telephone: 1800 472 679
postal address: GPO Box 7011 Sydney NSW 2001
or visit office at Level 17, 201 Elizabeth Street, Sydney 2000