What is FOI?
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives everyone the right to:
- access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
- ask for information we hold about you to be changed or updated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
- seek a review of any decision we make to deny access to a document or to not amend your personal record
You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt.
Exempt documents may include those that:
- relate to national security
- contain material obtained in confidence, Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act
Personal information of current and former agency employees
Current and former agency employees can get access to their employment record by following our usual procedures.
Section 15A of the FOI Act requires you to use this procedure before making an FOI request. You may make an FOI request after 30 days if you are not satisfied with our response.
How to make an FOI request
Your request must:
- be in writing
- state that the request is made under the FOI Act
- provide enough information about the documents you wish to access so that we can process your request
- provide a way for us to reply, such as an email or postal address
You can post or email your request to us.
If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, that person must authorise in writing that:
- we can send copies of documents to you
- you can inspect copies of documents containing information about the other person
Include the written authority in your request.
If you need help with your request, please contact us.
Fees and charges
It is free to request access to documents containing only personal information about you.
We may charge a processing fee for other requests.
The most common charges are:
Search and retrieval
$15.00 per hour
First five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour
$0.10 per page
$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)
Cost of postage or delivery
You can ask us to waive or reduce our charge for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. You should explain your reason and you may need to provide some evidence.
How we process your request
- tell you within 14 days that we have received your request
- give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request
- give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended
If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them. We may need to extend the time to give our decision to you by another 30 days.
If your request is complex, we may seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days
If you disagree with our decision
We will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.
You can ask for a review of the following decisions:
- we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document
- we delay giving you access
- we impose a charge
- we refuse to change or update information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for a review.
You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. A different officer in our agency will conduct the internal review. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner review
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our internal review decision within 60 days of the date of decision. If you are an affected third party, you can ask within 30 days of the date you were notified of the decision.
The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review. Find out more from the Australian Information Commissioner.
They will consult with each other to avoid investigating the same matter twice.
FOI disclosure log
The disclosure log lists information that we release in response to FOI requests. We publish documents within 10 working days of their release.
Under the FOI Act, we do not need to publish the following information in the disclosure log if doing so would be unreasonable:
- personal information about anyone
- information about a person’s business, commercial, financial or professional affairs
- other information that the Australian Information Commissioner has determined should not be disclosed
- information that cannot reasonably or practicably be published because of required deletions to the document
To date, we have not released any information in response to an FOI request. We will add information as we release it. This may be a link if the information is available on another website.
If you have any questions, contact us. Please address your FOI query or request to the FOI contact officer.