Disputes about access to documents (including Freedom of Information)
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI) operates to help reduce the number of disputes, including:
- helping applicants to make a request so that it does not attract refusal provisions
- consulting with applicants about the imposition of charges and the scope of the request
- consulting with third parties about their interest in documents falling within the scope of the request.
There is often an element of practical discretion in the operation of these provisions and our practice and policy is to reduce the risk of a dispute arising by appropriate use of our discretion. Whenever practicable to do so, our decision makers deal with FOI applicants outside the FOI Act, subject to agreement of the applicant.
We support and endorse the APS and ATO values of openness and transparency, and believe that pro-active disclosure will produce better outcomes and lead to a reduction in disputes and less need for people to make applications under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.
We encourage our employees to give taxpayers information about decisions that have directly affected them (where allowed under law). A large number of corporate and operational documents are available on our website and from our contribution to the Australian Public Service Information Publication Scheme.