Access to government information
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) commenced on 1 July 2010, replacing the NSW Freedom of Information Act 1989.
Under the GIPA Act, you have a legal right to:
- obtain access to information (documents) held by Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Department of Family and Community Services (ADHC); and
- appeal against a decision not to grant access to information.
Open access information
Under the GIPA Act, government agencies are required to make certain information available on our website, free of charge. This 'open access information' includes ADHC's:
- ADHC policy documents;
- ADHC agency information guide (PDF)*;
- GIPA Act disclosure log (PDF); and
- Register of Government contracts.
Informal access request
ADHC may be able to release information informally to you on request, without a formal access application, provided that the information does not raise any public interest concerns against disclosing the information, or would impact unreasonably on resources. There is no right of review if you are not happy with an informal decision however you may make a formal access request for which review rights will then be available.
If you would like to make an informal request to access information contact the Right to Information Officer on (02) 8879 9024 or write to ADHC.firstname.lastname@example.org .
Formal access request
You can make a formal GIPA Act access application to obtain information. ADHC is required to provide access to the information (that is not open access information) requested unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
What information can I ask for?
You can apply for access to information we hold including all information stored in paper or electronic file, or by another source.
ADHC is not required to create a new document in response to your application however it may choose to do so in certain circumstances (e.g. create a summary document instead of copying all source documents).
ADHC may refuse to process an application if dealing with the application would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of the agency’s resources.
How to make a formal access request
To make a formal access request:
- complete the GIPA Act Access Application Form (PDF) or if making your request in writing please:
- state that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act;
- give an Australian postal address;
- provide as much detail as possible about the information you would like to access; and
- enclose the $30 application fee with your application and send it to:
Right to Information Officer
Law and Justice Directorate
Department of Family and Community Services NSW
Locked Bag 4028
Ashfield NSW 2131
Telephone: (02) 8879 9024
Fax: (02) 8879 9144
How long does the application process take?
ADHC will write to you acknowledging your application within 5 working days of receipt of your request and advise you if your application is valid under the GIPA Act. Please note that in order for your application to be valid your application must:
- be in writing;
- note that the application is made under the GIPA Act;
- give an Australian postal address;
- detail the information you seek access to; and
- be accompanied by the $30 application fee.
Under the GIPA Act, ADHC is required to make a written decision within 20 working days of receiving your valid application. This processing time may be extended where: we need to consult a third party, retrieve records from archives; or by agreement with you. We will notify you if an extension of time is required to process your application.
How to appeal a decision
Most decisions made by the Right to Information Officer can be reviewed internally or by applying to the Office of the Information Commissioner NSW (OIC) and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) (formerly known as NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal) for external review.
An internal review of a decision is conducted by a senior officer as if the original decision had not been made. You must apply in writing to ADHC for an internal review within 20 working days of the date of notice of the decision of your GIPA application. The internal review application fee is $40.
Once ADHC has received your internal review application and application fee, the internal review must be decided within 15 working days which may be extended by 10 working days if we need to consult a third party to which the information relates, or by agreement with you.
For further information please read Your review rights under the GIPA Act on the Information and Privacy Commission website.
Fees and charges
|Nature of application||Application fee||Processing charges|
|Access to personal records||$30||$30 an hour after the first 20 hours|
|Access to non-personal records||$30||$30 an hour|
|Review of determination||$40||NIL|
You may be eligible for a 50% reduction in processing charges if ADHC is satisfied that you are suffering financial hardship, or that the information applied for is of special benefit to the public generally. This reduction does not apply to the application fee.
The GIPA Act is available from the NSW Government Information Service or libraries or visit the website: www.legislation.nsw.gov.au. The GIPA Act provides for a number of exemptions which are detailed in the Schedules 1 and 2 of the Act.
For more information on your rights under the GIPA Act see the Office of the Information Commissioner website.