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Making an FOI request
 

MAKING A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST

On this page:
Your rights
Documents available outside the FOI Act
How to make a request
Fees and charges
What you can expect from us
More information


YOUR RIGHTS

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
  • seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document

Please note: Schedule 2, Part II, Division 2 of the FOI Act provides that documents containing information collected under the Census and Statistics Act 1905 are exempt from Freedom of Information requests.


DOCUMENTS AVAILABLE OUTSIDE THE FOI ACT

You can get certain information, without following a formal process under the FOI Act.

Requests for provision of data should be referred to our National Information Referral Service in the first instance.

You should check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI Disclosure Log to see if the information you are looking for is already on our web page.


HOW TO MAKE A REQUEST

Your FOI request must:
  • be in writing;
  • provide information about the document(s) to assist us to process your request
  • state that it is a request for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act; and
  • provide an address for reply

You can make an FOI request by post, fax, or email. You can use the request form.
While using the FOI Request form is not compulsory, it will assist you to provide the details needed to process your request.

You can send your request:

By post:
      FOI Contact Officer
      Policy and Legislation Section
      Australian Bureau of Statistics
      Locked Bag 10
      Belconnen ACT 2617
By email:

If you require assistance with your request please contact the FOI Contact officer on 02 6252 7203 or by email freedomofinformation@abs.gov.au


FEES AND CHARGES

There is no application fee for an FOI request.

There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:

Activity

Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document
Cost

$15.00 per hour
Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletionsFirst five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium $4.40 per page of transcript
Photocopy $0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises $6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)
Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request Cost of postage or delivery

If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.

You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.


WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.
You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:
  • if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • if we impose a charge
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal 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 our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at www.oaic.gov.au.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at www.oaic.gov.au. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.


MORE INFORMATION

If you require more information, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 02 6252 7203 or by email at freedomofinformation@abs.gov.au.
Certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act can be obtained at our FOI disclosure log page. Information about us is also available on our Information Publication Scheme.

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