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Freedom of Information

The Information Act commenced operation on 1 July 2003 and is the legislation that incorporates  Freedom of Information (FOI), Privacy Protection and Records Management.

  • Freedom of Information provides individuals  the right to apply for access to government and personal information, and the  right to apply to correct personal information held by Public Sector Organisations.
  • The Information  Act establishes 10 Information Privacy Principles (IPPs) that regulates how  government collects, manages, uses and discloses personal information. It also gives  people a right to complain about breaches of their privacy.
  • Records Management provides a legal frame  work for the way that government activities are recorded and the way that  government records are managed.


Purpose  of the Information Act

The purpose of the Act is to:

  • Provide for public access to information held  by Public Sector Organisations.
  • Provide for the correction of personal  information held by Public Sector Organisations.
  • Provide for the responsible collection and  handling of personal information by Public Sector Organisations.
  • Promote appropriate records and archives management  in Public Sector Organisations.


General  principles about disclosure of information

Public Sector Organisations should:

  • Make available to the public as much  government information as is reasonably possible.
  • Provide government information to the public  promptly.
  • Assist the public to ensure that personal  information is accurate, complete and up to date.

Public Sector Organisations are not required to provide access to government  information if it is not in the public interest to do so, or if the information  is subject to an exemption as provided for in the Act.


Alternatives to FOI

Sometimes seeking access through an alternative means can get you the information you want more quickly or more cheaply than by making an FOI application.

Before making an FOI application, you may wish to contact the Public Sector Organisation you think holds the information, to see what is already available, and whether there is a better way of accessing it. Please contact the Department Information Officer if you have any questions.

Public Sector Organisations may also have in place alternative procedures for accessing information. These may be set out in Acts or Regulations or in administrative access schemes set up by the Public Sector Organisations. They may or may not involve fees.

Many Public Sector Organisations already publish a lot of information. This may be in the form of annual, quarterly or monthly reports, or reports/strategies on specific issues and are often published on their websites. 

Publicly  available information

The Department has an extensive collection of  publications and information available to the public that are free of charge  and these information can be found on our website:



There is no application fee for personal information. However, for other types of requests there is an application fee of $30 that must be made before an application is accepted. There are search, processing and copying fees that apply to both applications for government and personal information.

There is provision to apply for a waiver or reduction is fees in certain circumstances. It is strongly advised that this application be lodged with the original request. An application will not be actioned unless an application fee is paid or you have official advice that your application to waive or reduce the application fee has been successful.