Under the new Freedom of Information Act 2016 (‘FOI Act’), the Human Rights Commission must make information proactively available via an open access scheme. Before submitting an access application, have a look at the Open Access Website to see if what you are looking for is already available.
Under the FOI Act, the Commission is also required to publicly release functional information including a statement setting out the particulars of the agency.
You may also apply for access to information under the FOI Act. Those seeking information are encouraged to contact the Commission before resorting to the more formal FOI procedure. In many cases it may be possible to access information more quickly and efficiently through such an approach.
What happens after you apply to access information?
Once we receive your application we will review it to make sure it contains everything that we need to process it. Once we officially accept your application we will send you a written acknowledgement that your application has been received within 10 working days. If you don’t provide us with the requested information within the allocated timeframe, we will be unable to process your request.
Notice of decision
Once we have processed your request, we will send you a letter setting out the decision and the reasons for the decision. This letter will explain what documents were located and why you may have been refused access to documents (or parts of documents).
Time required to make decision
Under section 40 of the Act we have to make a decision on your application within 20 working days from the date of receiving a valid application. This period may be extended by 15 business days if another person or agency needs to be consulted as per section 40(2) of the Act. We also may negotiate an extension with applicants due to delays in locating documents, staff availability or workload. We may also request an extension of time through the Ombudsman’s Office, if an applicant refuses to agree to an extension and/or the application contains a large volume of information; or is complex and has potentially conflicting public interest factors.
You may be required to pay to access information in accordance with the following schedule:
|A fee is payable for each page of information given in response to an application, excluding the first 50 pages, whether provided in printed or electronic format.||$0.35c per page (GST is not applicable)|
|A fee is payable for giving information to an applicant by post.||The actual cost of postage|
|A fee is payable for giving a printed copy of a record containing information to an applicant.||The actual cost of printing|
|A fee is payable for giving information contained in a sound or visual recording on electronic storage media (eg by USB, hard drive etc).||The actual cost of the electronic storage media|
|A fee is payable for information contained in a written transcript of a sound recording or a record in which words are in shorthand writing or in a codified form.||The actual cost incurred by the respondent in giving the information|
|A fee is payable for information that is not contained in a written record and is retrieved or collated using equipment that is usually available to the agency or Minister.||The actual cost incurred by the respondent in giving the information|
We must waive the fee if:
- the information that is the subject of the request was previously publicly available but is no longer publicly available; or
- the information is subject of the request is of special benefit to the public; or
- the applicant is a concession holder and demonstrates a material connection with the information requested; or
- the applicant is a not for profit organisation and the application relates to the activities or purposes of the organisation; or
- the applicant is a member of the Assembly.
Disputing a decision
You can dispute our decision if:
- we decide your application is outside the scope of the Act
- we decide to release documents contrary to your views (if you are a consulted party)
- you believe we should have taken steps to consult you about the release of documents
- we refuse to deal with the application
- we decide charges are payable (but not the amount of the charge)
- we don’t grant access to the documents either in full or part
- the documents don’t exist or can’t be found
- we do not process your application within 20 working days.
- apply to the Ombudsman’s Office for review
You must apply for a review in writing within 20 business days after:
- the decision was published in the disclosure log; or
- For a deemed decision, the day the decision was taken to have been made; or
For a decision not to make open access information available because it is contrary to the public interest information, the day the matters under section 24(2) were published.
Amendment of Personal Information
You can apply to amend information containing your personal information you believe is inaccurate, misleading, out of date or incomplete. You need to have accessed the documents before you can apply to have them amended.