How can I access information?
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 we are committed to improving openness, transparency and ease of access to our information. Restrictions apply to accessing information only when there is an overriding public interest against our disclosure of that particular information.
1. Search on this website
Our website includes a large volume of material that covers many policies and projects. We try to release as much government information as possible, through our website or by request to [email protected].
Under the GIPA Act, certain information is required by law to be available on our website, free of charge. This is called "open access information" and includes our:
You should check the links above to see if the information you are looking for is already publicly available.
In addition to the “open access information” which the Department is required by law to make available, the Department also proactively releases a large volume of other information.
2. Make an informal request
If the information you require has not already been published by the Department, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of an overriding public interest as to why it should be kept confidential, then the Department may be able to release it to you on request without having to make a formal application.
If you think this applies to the information you require, you can contact us by email at [email protected] to make an informal request, or by phone on 9860 1440.
Where some information may be released without the need for a formal request, we reserve the right to require an access application to deal with requests for information, particularly if:
- there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released, or
- if you request a large volume of information, or there is another reason the department may take a significant amount of time to consider your request, or
- if there is third party information involved about which we would have to consult with the third party.
3. Make a formal access application
If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by the Department on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information.
You can make a formal GIPA access application and pay the $30 application fee using Visa or Mastercard, or by downloading and completing the government information access form (DOCX, 153 KB) and sending it to us with a cheque or money order at the following address:
Information Access and Privacy Unit Locked Bag 5022, Parramatta NSW 2124 Email: [email protected]
The GIPA Act states that we are only able to accept access applications that:
- Are in writing and sent to us at the address above
- Clearly state you are requesting information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
- Enclose the $30 application fee
- State the name of the applicant and a postal or email address as the address for correspondence and
- Include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are asking for.
If your application does not meet these five requirements it will be considered an invalid application and will not be processed. If that happens, however, we will let you know and we will help you, if possible, by explaining how to meet these requirements.
Otherwise we will write acknowledging receipt of your valid access application within 5 working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extensions allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, we will let you know in writing.
Scope of applications
If it is not clear what information you are seeking access to we will contact you to clarify the scope of your application.
For the purposes of formal information access applications made under the GIPA Act, a draft is defined as a version of a record, that is not the final version of the record, that provides evidence of the process involved in the development of a policy, procedure, decision or action.
Our electronic document management system records a different version of a document each time it is saved, including auto saves. This results in large numbers of versions of each document. For the purposes of formal information access applications made under the GIPA Act these are not drafts.
If you seek access to drafts of records your application will be interpreted according to the above definition of a draft document. If you seek access to all versions of a record you must specify this in your application.
Application fees and processing charges
The application fee for making an access application is $30. There may be additional processing charges at a rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances we may require you to pay an advance deposit. We will let you know in writing if that applies to your application.
Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds – for more details see the Information and Privacy Commission website.
Information that is not available in response to an access application
Although an access application may be made for all government information held by the Department, we will not be able to release information if there is an overriding public interest against the disclosure of the information.
In addition the GIPA Act does not allow the release of some document types, such as:
- Cabinet information
- Executive Council information
- Documents that are subject to Parliamentary privilege
- Documents that are subject of Legal Professional Privilege.