Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives you the right to access information held by us. It is a legally enforceable right of access to government documents. The FOI Act applies to Australian Government ministers and most agencies, although the obligations of agencies and ministers are different.
Most freedom of information (FOI) requests involve people seeking access to documents containing their personal information. Individuals can also request access to documents containing other information, such as information about government policies, programs and decision-making processes. Bodies corporate (such as companies) and state governments can also make FOI requests.
The FOI Act only applies to information held in the form of a document. Certain documents may be exempt from production under the provisions of the FOI Act. The definition of a 'document' in the FOI Act includes:
- any paper or other material on which there is writing or a mark, figure or symbol, perforations that can be interpreted
- electronically-stored information
- maps, plans, drawings and photographs
- any article from which sounds, images or writing are capable of being produced.
Ministers and agencies are not required to create a new document containing the information that is sought.
Please contact the FOI Coordinator for more information on making an FOI request or the process involved.