Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates from the Australian Government

Freedom of information

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update
Impact on Freedom of Information Requests

Treasury is actively processing FOI requests and is aiming to finalise all requests as quickly as possible. However, department’s resources have been diverted to manage and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, along with an increased workload across key areas of the department. This is having an impact on our ability to process requests, and we may require additional time to process requests.

During this time, we will seek applicants’ agreement to an extension of time, or request agreement from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. We encourage all applicants to check publicly available information before submitting an FOI request.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) gives members of the public a general right of access to documents of an agency and official documents of a Minister, other than exempt documents or parts of documents. Exemptions may relate to national security, material obtained in confidence, Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the Act. The Act allows individuals access to their personal records held by Government and enables them to correct any personal information that is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading. The Act also requires an agency to publish information on its operations under the Information Publication Scheme and a disclosure log of information that has been accessed under freedom of information (FOI) requests. A potential FOI applicant may find the information they are seeking is already available in those publications.

Receiving access

Once the FOI request has been completed by Treasury, any available documents will be forwarded to the applicant. If the requested documents or parts of them are within an exemption specified in the Act, Treasury will provide reasons for the decision to exempt. The FOI Act provides that a disclosure log of information accessed under FOI requests must be published, except for personal, business or certain other information set out in section 11C of the Act. Treasury publishes its responses to FOI requests on the Treasury website at the same time as providing the response to the applicant. Documents released under the FOI Act are generally made available on the website after 4pm on Fridays (other than public holidays).

Disclosure Log

Once the FOI request has been provided to the applicant, the request will be made available on the Treasury website's Disclosure Log.

How to apply for access

To make an FOI request the applicant should:

  • apply online: Application Form
  • apply in writing: Freedom of Information The Treasury Langton Crescent PARKES ACT 2600

Describe as clearly as possible the information being sought. Include any reference numbers or articles that may assist in identifying specific material and where possible include a date range.

Request process

Treasury processed FOI requests in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and guidelines from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Charges

There is no application fee for an FOI request. Processing charges may apply to requests other than for documents containing only personal information. If there is a charge, the applicant will receive a written estimate. Applicants can ask for a charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. Evidence may be requested when seeking a waiver of charges.

Review rights

Applicants have the right of a review of FOI decisions made by Treasury. The following options are available:

FOI Contact

The Treasury Freedom of Information Langton Crescent PARKES ACT 2600 Email: FOI@treasury.gov.au Phone: 02 6263 2800

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