Freedom of Information Act 1982


Division 3 - Public interest conditional exemptions  

SECTION 47F   Public interest conditional exemptions - personal privacy  

General rule

A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information about any person (including a deceased person).

In determining whether the disclosure of the document would involve the unreasonable disclosure of personal information, an agency or Minister must have regard to the following matters:

(a) the extent to which the information is well known;

(b) whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be (or to have been) associated with the matters dealt with in the document;

(c) the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources;

(d) any other matters that the agency or Minister considers relevant.

Subject to subsection (5), subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a person for access to a document by reason only of the inclusion in the document of matter relating to that person.

Access given to qualified person instead

Subsection (5) applies if:

(a) a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document of the agency, or an official document of the Minister, that contains information concerning the applicant, being information that was provided by a qualified person acting in his or her capacity as a qualified person; and

(b) it appears to the principal officer of the agency or to the Minister (as the case may be) that the disclosure of the information to the applicant might be detrimental to the applicant's physical or mental health, or well-being.

The principal officer or Minister may, if access to the document would otherwise be given to the applicant, direct that access to the document, so far as it contains that information, is not to be given to the applicant but is to be given instead to a qualified person who:

(a) carries on the same occupation, of a kind mentioned in the definition of qualified person in subsection (7), as the first-mentioned qualified person; and

(b) is to be nominated by the applicant.

The powers and functions of the principal officer of an agency under this section may be exercised by an officer of the agency acting within his or her scope of authority in accordance with arrangements referred to in section 23 .

In this section:

qualified person
means a person who carries on, and is entitled to carry on, an occupation that involves the provision of care for the physical or mental health of people or for their well-being, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes any of the following:

(a) a medical practitioner;

(b) a psychiatrist;

(c) a psychologist;

(d) a counsellor;

(e) a social worker.


Access must generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public interest (see section 11A ).

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