Freedom of information
You have the right to access documents we hold under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). This page explains how to make an FOI request, how we process an FOI request and includes a link to our disclosure log.
If you’ve got any questions about this process or need any assistance, contact us.
What is FOI?
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act):
- Gives everyone the right to access copies of documents (except exempt documents) held by the Australian Government and its agencies
- Requires Government agencies to make FOI decisions and provide access to any documents released online in a FOI disclosure log
- Requires Government agencies to publish a broad range of information under the Information Publication Scheme (IPS).
How do I make an FOI request?
Your FOI request must:
- Be in writing
- State that the request is made under the FOI Act
- Provide enough information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request
- Provide a method by which we can reply, for example an email or postal address.
To request access to documents from AICIS either:
- Download and complete an FOI application form, attach the form to an email or post it to us
- Email or post your request, providing enough information for us to identify the information you’re looking for, and a return email or postal address
How much does it cost?
Submitting an FOI request or a request to access documents that only contain your personal information is free.
We may charge a processing fee for other requests. In these cases, we will give you an estimate of the fee and outline your options.
You can read about the FOI charges framework on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website.
How do you process requests?
You’ll receive an acknowledgement from us within 14 days that we’ve received your request. We’ll give you our decision and the reasons for that decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended.
We may ask you to provide evidence of your identity with your application. If you are seeking documents on behalf of an individual, you will need to provide a letter of authority from them.
Sometimes, for complex requests, we will try to negotiate a longer time with you or the Australian Information Commissioner. If we have to consult with someone else – for example, if you ask for a document that contains information about them – we have a further 30 days to tell you our decision.
How do I ask for a review or make a complaint?
If you disagree with our decision about your FOI request, you can:
- Request an internal review
- Ask the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to review
You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in AICIS. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
You can also ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or the decision as a result of the internal review within 60 days of the date of decision. More information is available from the OAIC.
Where can I read FOI disclosures?
Our disclosure log lists the documents provided in response to FOI requests for the current financial year. These are published within 10 days of their release.
You can view our older FOI disclosures and FOI disclosures related to NICNAS in the National Library of Australia Web Archive.
Under the FOI Act, we do not need to publish the following information in the disclosure log, if publishing that information would be unreasonable:
- Personal information about anyone
- Information about a person’s business, commercial, financial or professional affairs
- Other information that the Australian Information Commissioner has determined should not be disclosed
- Information that cannot reasonably or practicably be published because of required deletions to the document.
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