Freedom of Information Act 1982

PART I - PRELIMINARY  

SECTION 1   1   Short title  
This Act may be cited as the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

SECTION 2   2   Commencement  
The several Parts of this Act shall come into operation on such respective dates as are fixed by Proclamation.

SECTION 3   Objects - general  

3(1)  


The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by the Government of the Commonwealth, by:


(a) requiring agencies to publish the information; and


(b) providing for a right of access to documents.

3(2)  
The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia's representative democracy by contributing towards the following:


(a) increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting better-informed decision-making;


(b) increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government's activities.

3(3)  
The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource.

3(4)  
The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost.

SECTION 3A   Objects - information or documents otherwise accessible  

Scope

3A(1)  
This section applies if a Minister, or an officer of an agency, has the power to publish, or give access to, information or a document (including an exempt document) apart from under this Act. Publication and access powers not limited

3A(2)  
The Parliament does not intend, by this Act, to limit that power, or to prevent or discourage the exercise of that power:


(a) in the case of the power to publish the information or document - despite any restriction on the publication of the information or document under this Act; and


(b) in the case of the power to give access to the information or document - whether or not access to the information or document has been requested under section 15.

SECTION 4   INTERPRETATION  

4(1)  


In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

access grant decision
has the meaning given by section 53B.

access refusal decision
has the meaning given by section 53A.

ACT enactment
means an enactment as defined by section 3 of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988;

action,
if the action is taken by a person or agency, has the same meaning as in the Ombudsman Act 1976.

Note:

See subsection 3(2) to (7) of the Ombudsman Act 1976.

affected third party
has the meaning given by section 53C.

agency
means Department, a prescribed authority or a Norfolk Island authority;

applicant
means a person who has made a request;

Australia
, when used in a geographical sense, includes Norfolk Island.

Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation
means that part of the Department of Defence known as the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation.

Australian Signals Directorate
(Repealed by No 25 of 2018)

authorised person
has the meaning given by section 77.

Cabinet
includes a committee of the Cabinet.

Cabinet notebook
means a notebook or other like record that contains notes of discussions or deliberations taking place in a meeting of the Cabinet, if the notes were made in the course of those discussions or deliberations by, or under the authority of, the Secretary to the Cabinet;

Chief Executive Medicare
has the same meaning as in the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973.

Commission of inquiry
means:


(a) the Commission of inquiry within the meaning of the Quarantine Act 1908 (as in force immediately before its repeal); or


(b) a Commission of inquiry within the meaning of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

Commonwealth contract
means a contract to which all of the following apply:


(a) the Commonwealth or an agency is, or was, a party to the contract;


(b) under the contract, services are, or were, to be provided:


(i) by another party; and

(ii) for or on behalf of an agency; and

(iii) to a person who is not the Commonwealth or an agency;


(c) the services are in connection with the performance of the functions, or the exercise of the powers, of an agency.

complainant
has the meaning given by subsection 70(1).

conditionally exempt
: a document is conditionally exempt if Division 3 of Part IV (public interest conditional exemptions) applies to the document.

Note:

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

contracted service provider,
for a Commonwealth contract, means an entity that is, or was:


(a) a party to the Commonwealth contract; and


(b) responsible for the provision of services under the Commonwealth contract.

Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation
(Repealed by No 108 of 2014)

defence intelligence document
has the meaning given by paragraph 7(2C)(a).

Defence Intelligence Organisation
means that part of the Department of Defence known as the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

Defence Signals Directorate
(Repealed by No 108 of 2014)

Department
means a Department of the Australian Public Service that corresponds to a Department of State of the Commonwealth.

document
includes:


(a) any of, or any part of any of, the following things:


(i) any paper or other material on which there is writing;

(ii) a map, plan, drawing or photograph;

(iii) any paper or other material on which there are marks, figures, symbols or perforations having a meaning for persons qualified to interpret them;

(iv) any article or material from which sounds, images or writings are capable of being reproduced with or without the aid of any other article or device;

(v) any article on which information has been stored or recorded, either mechanically or electronically;

(vi) any other record of information; or


(b) any copy, reproduction or duplicate of such a thing; or


(c) any part of such a copy, reproduction or duplicate;

but does not include:


(d) material maintained for reference purposes that is otherwise publicly available; or


(e) Cabinet notebooks;

document of an agency:
a document is a document of an agency if:


(a) the document is in the possession of the agency, whether created in the agency or received in the agency; or


(b) in order to comply with section 6C, the agency has taken contractual measures to ensure that it receives the document.

edited copy
has the meaning given by section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted).

electronic communication
has the same meaning as in the Electronic Transactions Act 1999.

eligible case manager
(Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

enactment
means, subject to section 4A:


(a) an Act;


(b) an Ordinance of the Australian Capital Territory; or


(c) an instrument (including rules, regulations or by-laws) made under an Act or under such an Ordinance and includes an enactment as amended by another enactment;

engage in conduct
means:


(a) do an act; or


(b) omit to do an act.

exempt content-service document
means:


(a) a document containing content, or a record of content (within the meaning of Schedule 7 to theBroadcasting Services Act 1992), that:


(i) has been delivered by, or accessed using, a content service (within the meaning of that Schedule); and

(ii) was offensive content-service content when it was delivered by, or accessed using, that content service; or


(b) a document that sets out how to access, or that is likely to facilitate access to, offensive content-service content (for example, by setting out the name of a website, an IP address, a URL or a password).

exempt document
means:


(a) a document that is exempt for the purposes of Part IV (exempt documents) (see section 31B); or


(b) a document in respect of which, by virtue of section 7, an agency, person or body is exempt from the operation of this Act; or


(c) an official document of a Minister that contains some matter that does not relate to the affairs of an agency or of a Department of State.

exempt internet-content document
means:


(a) a document containing information (within the meaning of Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992) that:


(i) has been copied from the internet; and

(ii) was offensive internet content when it was accessible on the internet; or


(b) a document that sets out how to access, or that is likely to facilitate access to, offensive internet content (for example: by setting out the name of a website, an IP address, a URL, a password, or the name of a newsgroup).

exempt matter
means matter the inclusion of which in a document causes the document to be an exempt document;

Human Services Department
means the Department administered by the Human Services Minister.

Human Services Minister
means the Minister administering the Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973.

IC review
has the meaning given by section 54G.

IC reviewable decision
has the meaning given by section 54K.

IC review applicant
has the meaning given by section 54J.

IC review application
has the meaning given by section 54H.

implementation notice
has the meaning given by section 89.

Information Commissioner
has the meaning given by the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

intelligence agency document
has the meaning given by paragraph 7(2A)(a).

internal review
has the meaning given by sections 54 and 54A.

internal review applicant
has the meaning given by section 54B.

investigation recommendations
has the meaning given by section 88.

investigation results
has the meaning given by section 87.

Minister
(Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

NBN Co
means NBN Co Limited (ACN 136 533 741), as the company exists from time to time (even if its name is later changed).

Norfolk Island authority
means:


(a) a public sector agency (within the meaning of the Public Sector Management Act 2000 of Norfolk Island); or


(b) a body (whether incorporated or not) established for a public purpose by or under a Norfolk Island enactment, other than a body established or registered under:


(i) the Companies Act 1985 of Norfolk Island; or

(ii) the Associations Incorporation Act 2005 of Norfolk Island; or


(c) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)


(d) a person holding or performing the duties of:


(i) an office established by or under a Norfolk Island enactment; or

(ii) an appointment made under a Norfolk Island enactment.


(e) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

Norfolk Island enactment
means:


(a) an enactment (within the meaning of the Norfolk Island Act 1979); or


(b) an instrument (including rules, regulations or by-laws) made under such an enactment;

and includes a Norfolk Island enactment as amended by another Norfolk Island enactment.

Norfolk Island Minister
(Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

offensive content-service content
means content (within the meaning of Schedule 7 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992) that is:


(a) delivered by, or accessed using, a content service (within the meaning of that Schedule); and


(b) either:


(i) prohibited content (within the meaning of that Schedule); or

(ii) potential prohibited content (within the meaning of that Schedule).

offensive internet content
means internet content (within the meaning of Schedule 5 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992) that is:


(a) prohibited content (within the meaning of Schedule 5 to that Act as in force before the commencement of Schedule 7 to that Act); or


(b) potential prohibited content (within the meaning of Schedule 5 to that Act as in force before the commencement of Schedule 7 to that Act).

officer
, in relation to an agency, includes a member of the agency or a member of the staff of theagency;

official document of a Minister or official document of the Minister
means a document that is in the possession of a Minister, or that is in the possession of the Minister concerned, as the case requires, in his or her capacity as a Minister, being a document that relates to the affairs of an agency or of a Department of State and, for the purposes of this definition, a Minister shall be deemed to be in possession of a document that has passed from his or her possession if he or she is entitled to access to the document and the document is not a document of an agency;

Ombudsman
means the Commonwealth Ombudsman;

operational information
has the meaning given by section 8A.

Ordinance
, in relation to the Australian Capital Territory, includes a law of a State that applies, or the provisions of a law of a State that apply, in the Territory by virtue of an enactment (other than a law that is, or provisions that are an ACT enactment);

Parliamentary Budget Office
has the same meaning as in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.

Parliamentary Budget Officer
has the same meaning as in the Parliamentary Service Act 1999.

personal information
has the same meaning as in the Privacy Act 1988.

practical refusal reason
has the meaning given by section 24AA.

prescribed authority
means:


(a) a body corporate, or an unincorporated body, established for a public purpose by, or in accordance with the provisions of, an enactment or an Order-in-Council, other than:


(i) an incorporated company or association; or

(ii) a body that, under sub-section (2), is not to be taken to be a prescribed authority for the purposes of this Act; or

(iii) the Australian Capital Territory House of Assembly; or

(iv) the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory or the Executive Council of the Northern Territory; or

(v) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

(vi) a Royal Commission; or

(vii) a Commission of inquiry; or


(aa) NBN co; or


(b) any other body, whether incorporated or unincorporated, declared by the regulations to be a prescribed authority for the purposes of this Act, being:


(i) a body established by the Governor-General or by a Minister; or

(ii) an incorporated company or association over which the Commonwealth is in a position to exercise control; or


(ba) in relation to the prescribed authority referred to in paragraph (aa) of that definition - the Minister administering the National Broadband Network Companies Act 2011; or


(c) subject to sub-section (3), the person holding, or performing the duties of, an office established by an enactment or an Order-in-Council; or


(d) the person holding, or performing the duties of, an appointment declared by the regulations to be an appointment the holder of which is a prescribed authority for the purposes of this Act, being an appointment made by the Governor-General, or by a Minister, otherwise than under an enactment or an Order-in-Council.

principal officer
means:


(a) in relation to a Department - the person holding, or performing the duties of, the office of Secretary of the Department; and


(b) in relation to a prescribed authority:


(i) if the regulations declare an office to be the principal office of the authority - the person holding, or performing the duties of, that office;

(ii) if the authority is an Agency (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999) other than a Department and subparagraph (i) does not apply - the Agency Head (within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999) of the authority;

(iii) if neither subparagraph (i) nor (ii) applies - the person responsible for the day-to-day management of the authority;

(iv) if the authority is constituted by one person and none of subparagraphs (i) to (iii) applies - that person;

(v) if the authority is constituted by 2 or more persons and none of subparagraphs (i) to (iv) applies - the person who is entitled to preside at any meeting of the authority at which he or she is present; or


(c) in relation to a Norfolk Island authority - the person holding, or performing the duties of, the office of Chief Executive Officer under the Public Service Act 2014 of Norfolk Island.

request
means an application made under sub-section 15(1);

request consultation process
has the meaning given by section 24AB.

respondent agency
has the meaning given by subsections 69(2) and 70(2).

responsible Minister
means:


(a) in relation to a Department - the Minister administering the relevant Department of State; or


(b) in relation to a prescribed authority referred to in paragraph (a) of the definition of prescribed authority - the Minister administering the part of the enactment by which, or in accordance with the provisions of which, the prescribed authority is established; or


(c) in relation to a prescribed authority referred to in paragraph (c) of that definition - the Minister administering the part of the enactment by which the office is established; or


(d) in relation to any other prescribed authority - the Minister declared by the regulations to be the responsible Minister in respect of that authority; or


(e) in relation to a Norfolk Island authority - the Minister administering the Norfolk Island Act 1979;

or another Minister acting for and on behalf of that Minister;

review parties
has the meaning given by section 55A.

run out:
all of a person's opportunities for review or appeal in relation to an access grant decision have run out when:


(a) the latest time for applying for an internal review or an IC review in relation to the decision has ended, if the person has not applied for either review; or


(b) if the person has applied for an internal review in relation to the decision:


(i) the internal review is concluded; and

(ii) the time for applying for an IC review of the decision on internal review has ended, if the person has not applied for the IC review; or


(c) if the person has applied for an IC review in relation to the decision:


(i) proceedings in relation to the IC review are concluded; and

(ii) the time for applying to the Tribunal for a review in relation to the decision has ended, if the person has not applied for such a review; and

(iii) the time for instituting an appeal to the Federal Court in relation to the IC review has ended (with no appeal instituted), or, if an appeal has been instituted, all proceedings in relation to the appeal have been concluded; or


(d) if the person has applied to the Tribunal for a review in relation to the decision:


(i) proceedings in relation to the review are concluded; and

(ii) the time for instituting an appeal to the Federal Court in relation to the review by the Tribunal has ended (with no appeal instituted), or, if an appeal has been instituted, all proceedings in relation to the appeal have been concluded.
Note:

The time for applying for a review of a decision may be extended in certain circumstances (see sections 54B and 54T).

State
includes the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory;

subcontractor,
for a Commonwealth contract, means an entity:


(a) that is, or was, a party to a contract (the subcontract ):


(i) with a contracted service provider for the Commonwealth contract; or

(ii) with another subcontractor for the Commonwealth contract (under a previous application of this definition); and


(b) that is, or was, responsible under the subcontract for the provision of services for the purposes (whether direct or indirect) of the Commonwealth contract.

Tribunal
means the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

vexatious applicant declaration
has the meaning given by section 89K.

4(2)  
An unincorporated body, being a board, council, committee, sub-committee or other body established by, or in accordance with the provisions of, an enactment for the purpose of assisting, or performing functions connected with, a prescribed authority shall not be taken to be a prescribed authority for the purposes of this Act, but shall be deemed to be comprised within that prescribed authority.

4(3)  
A person shall not be taken to be a prescribed authority:


(a) by virtue of his holding:


(i) an office of member of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory;

(ii) an office of member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory or of Administrator or of Minister of the Northern Territory; or

(iii) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)


(b) by virtue of his holding, or performing the duties of:


(i) a prescribed office;

(ii) an office the duties of which he or she performs as duties of his or her employment as an officer of a Department or as an officer of or under a prescribed authority;

(iii) an office of member of a body; or

(iv) an office established by an enactment for the purposes of a prescribed authority.

4(3A)  
If an unincorporated body consists of a board, council, committee, sub-committee or other body established by or under a Norfolk Island enactment for the purpose of assisting, or performing functions connected with, a Norfolk Island authority:


(a) the unincorporated body is taken not to be a Norfolk Island authority for the purposes of this Act; and


(b) the unincorporated body is taken to be comprised within that Norfolk Island authority.

4(3B)  


A person is not taken to be a Norfolk Island authority because he or she holds, or performs the duties of:


(a) a prescribed office; or


(b) an office the duties of which he or she performs as duties of his or her employment as an officer of a Norfolk Island authority; or


(c) an office of member of a Norfolk Island authority; or


(d) an office established by a Norfolk Island enactment for the purposes of a Norfolk Island authority.

4(4)  
For the purposes of this Act, the Department of Defence shall be deemed to include:


(a) the Defence Force; and


(b) the Australian Defence Force Cadets.


(c) (Repealed by No 164 of 2015)


(d) (Repealed by No 164 of 2015)

4(5)  
Without limiting the generality of the expression security of the Commonwealth , that expression shall be taken to extend to:


(a) matters relating to the detection, prevention or suppression of activities, whether within Australia or outside Australia, subversive of, or hostile to, the interests of the Commonwealth or of any country allied or associated with the Commonwealth; and


(b) the security of any communications system or cryptographic system of the Commonwealth or of another country used for:


(i) the defence of the Commonwealth or of any country allied or associated with the Commonwealth; or

(ii) the conduct of the international relations of the Commonwealth.

4(6)  
Where an agency is abolished, then, for the purposes of this Act:


(a) if the functions of the agency are acquired by another agency any request made to the first-mentioned agency shall be deemed to have been made to, and any decision made by the first-mentioned agency in respect of a request made to it shall be deemed to have been made by, the other agency; and


(b) if the functions of the agency are acquired by more than one other agency any request made to the first-mentioned agency shall be deemed to have been made to, and any decision made by the first-mentioned agency in respect of a request made to it shall be deemed to have been made by, whichever of those other agencies has acquired the functions of the first-mentioned agency to which the document the subject of the request most closely relates; and


(c) if the documents of the agency are transferred to the care (within the meaning of the Archives Act 1983) of the National Archives of Australia any request made to the agency shall be deemed to have been made to, and any decision made by the agency in respect of a request made by it shall be deemed to have been made by, the agency to the functions of which the document the subject of the request most closely relates.

4(7)  
If the agency to which a request is so deemed to have been made, or by which a decision upon a request is so deemed to have been made, was not itself in existence at the time when the request or decision was deemed so to have been made, then, for the purposes only of dealing with that request or decision under this Act, that agency shall be deemed to have been in existence at that time.

4(8)  
(Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

4(9)  


For the purposes of the application of the definition of responsible Minister in subsection (1), the reference in that definition to the Minister administering a Department is a reference to the Minister to whom the Department is responsible in respect of the matter in respect of which this Act is being applied.

4(10)  


To avoid doubt, information or matter communicated in the way mentioned in paragraph 33(b) includes information or matter so communicated pursuant to any treaty or formal instrument on the reciprocal protection of classified information between the Government of the Commonwealth, or an authority of the Commonwealth, and:


(a) a foreign government or an authority of a foreign government; or


(b) an international organisation.

Note:

Section 33 deals with documents affecting national security, defence or international relations.



SECTION 4A   Certain legislation relating to Australian Capital Territory not to be enactment  

4A(1)  
ACT enactments are not enactments.

4A(2)  
The Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 and the Canberra Water Supply (Googong Dam) Act 1974 are not enactments.

4A(3)  
Part IV, sections 29 and 30, subsection 63(2), section 66 and Division 5 of Part X of the Australian Capital Territory Planning and Land Management Act 1988 are not enactments.

4A(4)  
Where the whole of an Act or Ordinance is not an enactment, an instrument made under it is not an enactment.

4A(5)  
Where part of an Act or Ordinance is not an enactment, an instrument made under the Act or Ordinance, as the case may be, is not an enactment unless made for the purposes of the other part of the Act or Ordinance, as the case may be.

SECTION 4B   4B   Extension to Norfolk Island  
This Act extends to Norfolk Island.

SECTION 5   Act to apply to courts in respect of administrative matters   Courts other than courts of Norfolk Island - general

5(1)  
For the purposes of this Act:


(a) a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island) shall be deemed to be a prescribed authority;


(b) the holder of a judicial office (other than a judicial office in a court of Norfolk Island) or other office pertaining to a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island) in his or her capacity as the holder of that office, being an office established by the legislation establishing the court, shall be deemed not to be a prescribed authority and shall not be included in a Department; and


(c) a registry or other office of a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island), and the staff of such a registry or other office when acting in a capacity as members of that staff, shall be taken as a part of the court;

but this Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of the court unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.

Certain documents relating to complaint handling - Federal Court Judges

5(1A)  


This Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island) that relates to a complaint handler (or a body consisting of complaint handlers):


(a) exercising powers or performing functions under paragraph 15(1AA)(c) and subsection 15(1AAA) of the Federal Court of Australia Act 1976; or


(b) assisting in exercising those powers or performing those functions.

For this purpose complaint handler has the meaning given by that Act.

Certain documents relating to complaint handling - Family Court Judges

5(1B)  


This Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island) that relates to a complaint handler (or a body consisting of complaint handlers):


(a) exercising powers or performing functions under paragraph 21B(1A)(c) and subsection 21B(1B) of the Family Law Act 1975; or


(b) assisting in exercising those powers or performing those functions.

For this purpose complaint handler has the meaning given by that Act.

Certain documents relating to complaint handling - Judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia

5(1C)  


This Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of a court (other than a court of Norfolk Island) that relates to a complaint handler (or a body consisting of complaint handlers):


(a) exercising powers or performing functions under paragraph 12(3)(c) and subsection 12(3AA) of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia Act 1999; or


(b) assisting in exercising those powers or performing those functions.

For this purpose complaint handler has the meaning given by that Act.

Courts of Norfolk Island

5(2)  
For the purposes of this Act:


(a) a court of Norfolk Island is taken to be a Norfolk Island authority; and


(b) if a person is the holder of a judicial office in a court of Norfolk Island - the person, in his or her capacity as the holder of the office, is taken not to be a Norfolk Island authority and is not to be included in a Norfolk Island authority; and


(c) if:


(i) a person is the holder of an office (other than a judicial office) that relates to a court of Norfolk Island; and

(ii) the office is established by a Norfolk Island enactment;
the person, in his or her capacity as the holder of the office, is taken not to be a Norfolk Island authority and is not to be included in a Norfolk Island authority; and


(d) a registry or other office of a court of Norfolk Island, and the staff of such a registry or other office when acting in a capacity as members of that staff, are taken to be a part of the court;

but this Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of the court unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.

SECTION 6   6   Act to apply to certain tribunals in respect of administrative matters  
For the purposes of this Act:


(a) each tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 1 is deemed to be a prescribed authority;


(b) the holder of an office pertaining to a tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 1, being an office established by the legislation establishing the tribunal, authority or body so specified in his or her capacity as the holder of that office, is not to be taken to be a prescribed authority or to be included in a Department; and


(c) a registry or other office of or under the charge of a tribunal, authority or body specified in Schedule 1, and the staff of such a registry or other office when acting in a capacity as members of that staff, shall be taken as part of the tribunal, authority or body so specified as a prescribed authority;

but this Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of a tribunal, authority or body so specified unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.

SECTION 6A   Official Secretary to the Governor-General  

6A(1)   [Application of Act]  

This Act does not apply to any request for access to a document of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General unless the document relates to matters of an administrative nature.

6A(2)   [Possession of document]  

For the purposes of this Act, a document in the possession of a person employed under section 13 of the Governor-General Act 1974 that is in his or her possession by reason of employment under that section shall be taken to be in the possession of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General.

SECTION 6B   6B   Eligible case managers  
(Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

SECTION 6C   Requirement for Commonwealth contracts  

6C(1)  
This section applies to an agency if a service is, or is to be, provided under a Commonwealth contract in connection with the performance of the functions or the exercise of the powers of the agency.

6C(2)  
The agency must take contractual measures to ensure that the agency receives a document if:


(a) the document is created by, or is in the possession of:


(i) a contracted service provider for the Commonwealth contract; or

(ii) a subcontractor for the Commonwealth contract; and


(b) the document relates to the performance of the Commonwealth contract (and not to the entry into that contract); and


(c) the agency receives a request for access to the document.

SECTION 7   EXEMPTION OF CERTAIN PERSONS AND BODIES  

7(1)  


The bodies specified in Division 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 2, and a person holding and performing the duties of an office specified in that Division, are to be deemed not to be prescribed authorities for the purposes of this Act.

7(1A)  


For the purposes of the definition of agency, a part of the Department of Defence specified in Division 2 of Part I of Schedule 2:


(a) is taken not to be included in the Department of Defence (or in any other Department) for the purposes of this Act; and


(b) to avoid doubt, is not an agency in its own right for the purposes of this Act.

7(2)  
The persons, bodies and Departments specified in Part II of Schedule 2, are exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to documents referred to in that Schedule in relation to them.

7(2AA)  
A body corporate established by or under an Act specified in Part III of Schedule 2 is exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to documents in respect of the commercial activities of the body corporate.

7(2A)  


An agency is exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the following documents:


(a) a document (an intelligence agency document ) that has originated with, or has been received from, any of the following:


(i) the Australian Secret Intelligence Service;

(ii) the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation;

(iii) the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security;

(iv) the Office of National Intelligence;

(v) the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation;

(vi) the Defence Intelligence Organisation;

(vii) the Australian Signals Directorate;


(b) a document that contains a summary of, or an extract or information from, an intelligence agency document, to the extent that it contains such a summary, extract or information.

7(2B)  


A Minister is exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the following documents:


(a) an intelligence agency document;


(b) a document that contains a summary of, or an extract or information from, an intelligence agency document, to the extent that it contains such a summary, extract or information.

7(2C)  


An agency is exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the following documents:


(a) a document (a defence intelligence document ) that has originated with, or has been received from, the Department of Defence and that is in respect of:


(i) the collection, reporting or analysis of operational intelligence; or

(ii) special access programs, under which a foreign government provides restricted access to technologies;


(b) a document that contains a summary of, or an extract or information from, a defence intelligence document, to the extent that it contains such a summary, extract or information.

7(2D)  


A Minister is exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the following documents:


(a) a defence intelligence document;


(b) a document that contains a summary of, or an extract or information from, a defence intelligence document, to the extent that it contains such a summary, extract or information.

7(2E)  


A Minister and an agency are exempt from the operation of this Act in relation to the following documents:


(a) a document that has originated with, or has been received from, a Royal Commission to which Part 4 of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 applies and:


(i) that contains information obtained at a private session for the Commission; or

(ii) that relates to a private session for the Commission and identifies a natural person who appeared at a private session for the Commission; or

(iii) that contains information that was given by a natural person to a member, or member of the staff, of the Commission for the purposes of a private session (whether or not a private session was, or is to be, held for the Commission) and identifies the person who gave the information; or

(iv) that contains information to which section 6ON of that Act (which deals with certain information given to the Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission) applies;


(b) a document that contains a summary of, or an extract or information from, a private session.

7(3)  
In subsection (2AA) and Part II of Schedule 2, "commercial activities" (except when used in relation to NBN Co) means:


(a) activities carried on by an agency on a commercial basis in competition with persons other than governments or authorities of governments; or


(b) activities, carried on by an agency, that may reasonably be expected in the foreseeable future to be carried on by the agency on a commercial basis in competition with persons other than governments or authorities of governments.

7(3A)  
In Part II of Schedule 2, commercial activities, when used in relation to NBN Co, means:


(a) activities carried on by NBN Co on a commercial basis; or


(b) activities, carried on by NBN Co, that may reasonably be expected in the foreseeable future to be carried on by NBN Co on a commercial basis.

7(4)  
In subsection (2AA) and Part II of Schedule 2, a reference to documents in respect of particular activities shall be read as a reference to documents received or brought into existence in the course of, or for the purposes of, the carrying on of those activities.

7(5)  


An expression used in subsection (2E) that is also used in Part 4 of the Royal Commissions Act 1902 has the same meaning as in that Part.

PART II - INFORMATION PUBLICATION SCHEME  

Division 1 - Guide to this Part  

SECTION 7A   7A   Information publication scheme - guide  


This Part establishes an information publication scheme for agencies.

Each agency must publish a plan showing how it proposes to implement this Part.

An agency must publish a range of information including information about what the agency does and the way it does it, as well as information dealt with or used in the course of its operations, some of which is called operational information.

In addition, an agency may publish other information held by the agency.

Information published by an agency must be kept accurate, up-to-date and complete.

An agency is not required to publish exempt matter. An agency is also not required to publish information if prohibited by another enactment.

The information (or details of how to access the information) must be published on a website. If there is a charge for accessing the information, the agency must publish details of the charge.

An agency must, in conjunction with the Information Commissioner, review the operation of the scheme in the agency every 5 years (if not earlier).

An agency must have regard to the objects of this Act, and guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner, in doing anything for the purposes of this Part.

If operational information is not published in accordance with this Part, a person must not be subjected to any prejudice as a result of not having access to the information.

Division 2 - Information to be published  

SECTION 8   Information to be published - what information?  

Agency plans

8(1)  
An agency must prepare a plan showing the following:


(a) what information the agency proposes to publish for the purposes of this Part;


(b) how, and to whom, the agency proposes to publish information for the purposes of this Part;


(c) how the agency otherwise proposes to comply with this Part. Information that must be published

8(2)  
The agency must publish the following information:


(a) the plan prepared under subsection (1);


(b) details of the structure of the agency's organisation (for example, in the form of an organisation chart);


(c) as far as practicable, details of the functions of the agency, including its decision-making powers and other powers affecting members of the public (or any particular person or entity, or class of persons or entities);


(d) details of the following appointments:


(i) appointments of officers of the agency that are made under Acts (other than APS employees within the meaning of the Public Service Act 1999);

(ii) appointments of officers of the agency that are made under Norfolk Island enactments (other than officers appointed or employed under the Public Service Act 2014 of Norfolk Island);


(e) the information in annual reports prepared by the agency that are laid before the Parliament;


(f) details of arrangements for members of the public to comment on specific policy proposals for which the agency is responsible, including how (and to whom) those comments may be made);


(g) information in documents to which the agency routinely gives access in response to requests under Part III (access to documents), except information of the following kinds:


(i) personal information about any individual, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(ii) information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;

(iii) other information of a kind determined by the Information Commissioner under subsection (3), if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;


(h) information held by the agency that is routinely provided to the Parliament in response to requests and orders from the Parliament;


(i) contact details for an officer (or officers) who can be contacted about access to the agency's information or documents under this Act;


(j) the agency's operational information (see section 8A).

Note:

If operational information is not published in accordance with this section, a person must not be subjected to any prejudice as a result (see section 10).

8(3)  
The Information Commissioner may, by legislative instrument, make a determination for the purposes of subparagraph (2)(g)(iii). Other information

8(4)  
The agency may publish other information held by the agency. Functions and powers

8(5)  
This section applies to a function or power of an agency whether or not the agency has the function or power under an enactment. Definition

8(6)  
In this section:

enactment
includes a Norfolk Island enactment.

Note 1:

See section 8C for restrictions on the requirement to publish this information.

Note 2:

The agency must have regard to the objects of this Act and guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner in performing functions, and exercising powers, under this section (see section 9A).

SECTION 8A   Information to be published - what is operational information ?  

8A(1)  
An agency's operational information is information held by the agency to assist the agency to perform or exercise the agency's functions or powers in making decisions or recommendations affecting members of the public (or any particular person or entity, or class of persons or entities).

Example:

The agency's rules, guidelines, practices and precedents relating to those decisions and recommendations.

8A(2)  
An agency's operational information does not include information that is available to members of the public otherwise than by being published by (or on behalf of) the agency.

SECTION 8B   8B   Information to be published - accuracy etc.  


An agency must ensure that information published by the agency is required or permitted by this Part is accurate, up-to-date and complete.

SECTION 8C   Information to be published - restrictions  

Exempt documents

8C(1)  
An agency is not required under this Part to publish exempt matter. Publication prohibited or restricted by other legislation

8C(2)  
If an enactment restricts or prohibits the publication of particular information, an agency is not required under this Part to publish the information otherwise than as permitted or required by the enactment. Operation of restrictions

8C(3)  
This section applies despite section 8. Definition

8C(4)  
In this section:

enactment
includes a Norfolk Island enactment.

SECTION 8D   Information to be published - how (and to whom) information is to be published  

Scope

8D(1)  
An agency must publish information that is required or permitted to be published under this Part in accordance with this section. How (and to whom) information is to be published

8D(2)  
The agency must publish the information:


(a) to members of the public generally; and


(b) if the agency considers that it is appropriate to do so - to particular classes of persons or entities.

8D(3)  
The agency must publish the information on a website by:


(a) making the information available for downloading from the website; or


(b) publishing on the website a link to another website, from which the information can be downloaded; or


(c) publishing on the website other details of how the information may be obtained. Charges

8D(4)  
The agency may impose a charge on a person for accessing the information only if:


(a) the person does not directly access the information by downloading it from the website (or another website); and


(b) the charge is to reimburse the agency for specific incidental costs, or other specific incidental costs, incurred in giving the person access to that particular information.

8D(5)  
If there is a charge for accessing the information, the agency must publish details of the charge in the same way as the information is published under this section.

Note 1:

The agency must have regard to the objects of this Act and guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner in performing functions, and exercising powers, under this section (see section 9A.

Note 2:

After access is given to a document under Part III (access to documents) in accordance with a request, the agency must publish the accessed document to members of the public generally in the same way as described in this section (although certain exceptions apply) (see section 11C).

SECTION 8E   8E   Information to be published - Information Commissioner to assist agencies  


The Information Commissioner may provide appropriate assistance to an agency in:


(a) identifying and preparing information which is required or permitted to be published under this Part; and


(b) determining how (and to whom) the information is required or permitted to be published under section 8D.

Division 3 - Review of information publication scheme  

SECTION 8F   8F   Review of scheme - Information Commissioner functions  


The Information Commissioner has the following functions (as conferred by this Act and the Information Commissioner Act 2010), but without limiting any provision of either Act):


(a) reviewing the operation in each agency of the information publication scheme established by this Part, in conjunction with the agency;


(b) investigating an agency's compliance with this Part under Division 2 of Part VIIB (Information Commissioner investigations);


(c) otherwise monitoring, investigating and reporting on the operation of the scheme.

SECTION 9   Review of scheme - by agencies  

9(1)  
An agency must, in conjunction with the Information Commissioner, complete a review of the operation, in the agency, of the information publication scheme established by this Part:


(a) as appropriate from time to time; and


(b) in any case - within 5 years after the last time a review under this section was completed.

9(2)  
The first review under subsection (1) must be completed within 5 years after the day this section commences.

Note 1:

This section commences on the day after the end of the period of 6 months beginning on the day on which the Information Commissioner Act 2010 commences.

Note 2:

The agency must have regard to the objects of this Act and guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner in performing functions, and exercising powers, under this section (see section 9A).

Division 4 - Guidelines  

SECTION 9A   9A   Functions and powers under this Part  


In performing a function, or exercising a power, under this Part, an agency must have regard to:


(a) the objects of this Act (including all the matters set out in sections 3 and 3A); and


(b) guidelines issued by the Information Commissionerfor the purposes of this paragraph under section 93A.

Division 5 - Miscellaneous  

SECTION 10   Unpublished operational information  

Scope

10(1)  
This section applies if:


(a) part (or all) of an agency's operational information (the unpublished information ), in relation to a function or power of the agency, is not published by the agency in accordance with this Part; and


(b) a person engages in conduct relevant to the performance of the function or the exercise of the power; and


(c) at the time of engaging in that conduct:


(i) the person was not aware of the unpublished information; and

(ii) the agency had been in existence for more than 12 months.
Note:

An agency's operational information is required to be published by the agency (see sections 8 and 8A).

No prejudice from lack of awareness of unpublished information

10(2)  
The person must not be subjected to any prejudice only because of the application to that conduct of any rule, guideline or practice in the unpublished information, if the person could lawfully have avoided that prejudice had he or she been aware of the unpublished information.

SECTION 10A   Who performs functions etc given to agencies  

10A(1)  
A function or power given to an agency under this Part may be performed or exercised, on behalf of the agency, by:


(a) the principal officer of the agency; or


(b) an officer of the agency acting within the scope of his or her authority in accordance with arrangements approved by the principal officer of the agency.

10A(2)  
The performance or exercise of a function or power under paragraph (1)(b) is subject to the regulations.

SECTION 10B   10B   Transitional - Norfolk Island authorities  
This Part does not apply to a Norfolk Island authority at any time during the 2-year period beginning at the commencement of this section.

PART III - ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS  

SECTION 11   Right of access  

11(1)  
Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in accordance with this Act to:


(a) a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or


(b) an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document.

11(2)  
Subject to this Act, a person's right of access is not affected by:


(a) any reasons the person gives for seeking access; or


(b) the agency's or Minister's belief as to what are his or her reasons for seeking access.

SECTION 11A   ACCESS TO DOCUMENTS ON REQUEST  

Scope

11A(1)  
This section applies if:


(a) a request is made by a person, in accordance with subsection 15(2), to an agency or Minister for access to:


(i) a document of the agency; or

(ii) an official document of the Minister; and


(b) any charge that, under the regulations, is required to be paid before access is given has been paid.

11A(2)  
This section applies subject to this Act.

Note:

Other provisions of this Act are relevant to decisions about access to documents, for example the following:

  • (a) section 12 (documents otherwise available);
  • (b) section 13 (documents in national institutions);
  • (c) section 15A (personnel records);
  • (d) section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted).
  • Mandatory access - general rule

    11A(3)  
    The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document in accordance with this Act, subject to this section. Exemptions and conditional exemptions

    11A(4)  
    The agency or Minister is not required by this Act to give the person access to the document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is an exempt document.

    Note:

    Access may be given to an exempt document apart from under this Act, whether or not in response to a request (see section 3A (objects - information or documents otherwise accessible)).

    11A(5)  
    The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document if it is conditionally exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest.

    Note 1:

    Division 3 of Part IV provides for when a document is conditionally exempt.

    Note 2:

    A conditionally exempt document is an exempt document if access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest (see section 31B (exempt documents for the purposes of Part IV)).

    Note 3:

    Section 11B deals with when it is contrary to the public interest to give a person access to the document.

    11A(6)  
    Despite subsection (5), the agency or Minister is not required to give access to the document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is both:


    (a) a conditionally exempt document; and


    (b) an exempt document:


    (i) under Division 2 of Part IV (exemptions); or

    (ii) within the meaning of paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt document in subsection 4(1).

    SECTION 11B   PUBLIC INTEREST EXEMPTIONS - FACTORS  

    Scope

    11B(1)  
    This section applies for the purposes of working out whether access to a conditionally exempt document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest under subsection 11A(5).

    11B(2)  
    This section does not limit subsection 11A(5). Factors favouring access

    11B(3)  
    Factors favouring access to the document in the public interest include whether access to the document would do any of the following:


    (a) promote the objects of this Act (including all the matters set out in sections 3 and 3A);


    (b) inform debate on a matter of public importance;


    (c) promote effective oversight of public expenditure;


    (d) allow a person to access his or her own personal information. Irrelevant factors

    11B(4)  
    The following factors must not be taken into account in deciding whether access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest:


    (a) access to the document could result in embarrassment to the Commonwealth Government, or cause a loss of confidence in the Commonwealth Government;


    (aa) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)


    (b) access to the document could result in any person misinterpreting or misunderstanding the document;


    (c) the author of the document was (or is) of high seniority in the agency to which the request for access to the document was made;


    (d) access to the document could result in confusion or unnecessary debate.

    Guidelines

    11B(5)  
    In working out whether access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest, an agency or Minister must have regard to any guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner for the purposes of this subsection under section 93A.

    SECTION 11C   PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION IN ACCESSED DOCUMENTS  

    Scope

    11C(1)  
    This section applies to information if an agency or Minister gives a person access to a document under section 11A containing the information, except in the case of any of the following:


    (a) personal information about any person, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;


    (b) information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person, if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;


    (c) other information of a kind determined by the Information Commissioner under subsection (2), if it would be unreasonable to publish the information;


    (d) any information, if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information under this section because of the extent of any modifications to a document (or documents) necessary to delete information mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (c).

    11C(2)  
    The Information Commissioner may, by legislative instrument, make a determination for the purposes of paragraph (1)(c). Publication

    11C(3)  
    The agency, or the Minister, must publish the information to members of the public generally on a website by:


    (a) making the information available for downloading from the website; or


    (b) publishing on the website a link to another website, from which the information can be downloaded; or


    (c) publishing on the website other details of how the information may be obtained.

    11C(4)  
    The agency may impose a charge on a person for accessing the information only if:


    (a) the person does not directly access the information by downloading it from the website (or another website); and


    (b) the charge is to reimburse the agency for a specific reproduction cost, or other specific incidental costs, incurred in giving the person access to that particular information.

    11C(5)  
    If there is a charge for accessing the information, the agency or Minister must publish details of the charge in the same way as the information is published under this section. Time limit for publication

    11C(6)  
    The agency or Minister must comply with this section within 10 working days after the day the person is given access to the document.

    11C(7)  
    In this section:

    working day
    means a day that is not:


    (a) a Saturday; or


    (b) a Sunday; or


    (c) a public holiday in the place where the function of publishing the information under this section is to be performed.

    SECTION 12   PART NOT TO APPLY TO CERTAIN DOCUMENTS  

    12(1)  


    A person is not entitled to obtain access under this part to:


    (a) a document, or a copy of a document, which is, under the Archives Act 1983, within the open access period within the meaning of that Act unless the document contains personal information (including personal information about a deceased person); or


    (b) a document that is open to public access, as part of a public register or otherwise, in accordance with another enactment, where that access is subject to fee or other charge; or


    (ba) a document that is open to public access, as part of a land title register, in accordance with a law of a state or Territory where that access is subject to a fee or other charge; or


    (c) a document that is available for purchase by the public in accordance with arrangements made by an agency.

    12(2)  


    A person is not entitled to obtain access under this Part to a document or a part of a document that became a document of a Norfolk Island agency more than 5 years before the commencement of this subsection unless:


    (c) the document, or that part of the document, contains information that is:


    (i) personal information about that person; or

    (ii) information relating to that person's business, commercial or financial affairs; or


    (d) the document, or that part of the document, is a document or a part of a document access to which is reasonably necessary to enable a proper understanding of a document of a Norfolk Island agency to which that person has lawfully had access.

    12(3)  


    In this section:

    enactment
    includes a Norfolk Island enactment.

    SECTION 13   DOCUMENTS IN CERTAIN INSTITUTIONS  

    13(1)  
    A document shall not be deemed to be a document of an agency for the purposes of this Act by reason of its being:


    (a) in the memorial collection within the meaning of the Australian War Memorial Act 1980; or


    (b) in the collection of library material maintained by the National Library of Australia; or


    (c) material included in the historical material in the possession of the Museum of Australia; or


    (d) in the care (within the meaning of the Archives Act 1983) of the National Archives of Australia (otherwise than as a document relating to the administration of the National Archives of Australia); or


    (e) a program or related material (within the meaning of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia Act 2008) in the collection of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia;

    if the document was placed in that collection, or in that custody, by or on behalf of a person (including a Minister or former Minister) other than an agency.

    13(2)  


    For the purposes of this Act, a document that has been transferred to the care (within the meaning of the Archives Act 1983) of the National Archives of Australia, or otherwise placed in a collection referred to in sub-section (1), by an agency shall be deemed to be in the possession of that agency or, if that agency no longer exists, the agency to the functions of which the document is most closely related.

    13(3)  


    Despite subsections (1) and (2):


    (a) records of a Royal Commission that are in the care (within the meaning of the Archives Act 1983) of the National Archives of Australia are, for the purposes of this Act, taken to be documents of an agency and to be in the possession of the Department administered by the Minister administering the Royal Commissions Act 1902; and


    (b) records of the Commission of inquiry (within the meaning of the Quarantine Act 1908, as in force immediately before its repeal) that are in the custody of the Australian Archives are, for the purposes of this Act, taken to be documents of an agency and to be in the possession of the Agriculture Department (within the meaning of the Biosecurity Act 2015); and


    (c) records of a Commission of inquiry (within the meaning of the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006) that are in the custody of the Australian Archives are, for the purposes of this Act, taken to be documents of an agency and to be in the possession of the Department administered by the Minister administering the Offshore Petroleum and Greenhouse Gas Storage Act 2006.

    13(4)  


    Nothing in this Act affects the provision of access to documents by the National Archives of Australia in accordance with the Archives Act 1983.

    SECTION 14   14   Access to documents apart from Act  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 15   Requests for access   Persons may request access

    15(1)  
    Subject to section 15A, a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency or an official document of a Minister may request access to the document.

    Requirements for request

    15(2)  
    The request must:


    (a) be in writing; and


    (aa) state that the request is an application for the purposes of this Act; and


    (b) provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister, to identify it; and


    (c) give details of how notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant (for example, by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by electronic communication).


    (d)-(e) (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    15(2A)  


    The request must be sent to the agency or Minister. The request may be sent in any of the following ways:


    (a) delivery to an officer of the agency, or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the address of any central or regional office of the agency or Minister specified in a current telephone directory;


    (b) postage by pre-paid post to an address mentioned in paragraph (a);


    (c) sending by electronic communication to an electronic address specified by the agency or Minister.

    Agency required to assist

    15(3)  
    Where a person:


    (a) wishes to make a request to an agency; or


    (b) has made to an agency a request that does not comply with this section;

    it is the duty of the agency to take reasonable steps to assist the person to make the request in a manner that complies with this section.

    Note:

    An agency or Minister may refuse to deal with a request if satisfied that a practical refusal reason exists, after undertaking the request consultation process (see section 24).

    15(4)  
    Where a person has directed to an agency a request that should have been directed to another agency or to a Minister, it is the duty of the first-mentioned agency to take reasonable steps to assist the person to direct the request to the appropriate agency or Minister. Timeframes for dealing with request

    15(5)  
    On receiving a request, the agency or Minister must:


    (a) as soon as practicable but in any case not later than 14 days after the day on which the request is received by or on behalf of the agency or Minister, take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified that the request has been received; and


    (b) as soon as practicable but in any case not later than the end of the period of 30 days after the day on which the request is received by or on behalf of the agency or Minister, take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified of a decision on the request (including a decision under section 21 to defer the provision of access to a document).

    15(5A)  


    In making a decision on a request, the agency or Minister must have regard to any guidelines issued by the Information Commissioner for the purposes of section 93A. Extension of processing period to comply with requirements of section 26A, 27 or 27A

    15(6)  


    Where, in relation to a request, the agency or Minister determines in writing that the requirements of section 26A, 27 or 27A make it appropriate to extend the period referred to in paragraph (5)(b):


    (a) the period is extended by a further period of 30 days; and


    (b) the agency or Minister must, as soon as practicable, inform the applicant that the period has been so extended.

    Extension of processing period to consult foreign entity

    15(7)  


    Subsection (8) applies if, in relation to a request, the agency or Minister determines in writing that it is appropriate to extend the period referred to in paragraph (5)(b) so that the agency or Minister can:


    (a) consult one of the following:


    (i) a foreign government;

    (ii) an authority of a foreign government;

    (iii) an international organisation; and


    (b) determine whether the document that is the subject of the request is an exempt document under subparagraph 33(a)(iiii) or paragraph 33(b).

    15(8)  


    If this subsection applies:


    (a) the period referred to in paragraph (5)(b) is extended by a period of 30 days; and


    (b) the agency or Minister must, as soon as practicable, inform the applicant that the period has been extended.

    SECTION 15AA   15AA   Extension of time with agreement 


    An agency or Minister may extend the period referred to in paragraph 15(5)(b) for dealing with a request, or that period as extended under subsection 15(6) or (8) (consultation), by a further period of no more than 30 days if:


    (a) the applicant agrees in writing to the extension; and


    (b) the agency or Minister gives written notice of the extension to the Information Commissioner as soon as practicable after the agreement is made.

    SECTION 15AB   Extension of time for complex or voluminous requests  

    15AB(1)  
    An agency or Minister may apply to the Information Commissioner for an extension of the period referred to in paragraph 15(5)(b) for dealing with a request if the agency or Minister considers that the period is insufficient to deal adequately with a request because the request is complex or voluminous.

    15AB(2)  
    If the Information Commissioner is satisfied that the application is justified, the Information Commissioner may, by written instrument, extend the period by a further period of 30 days, or such other period as the Information Commissioner considers appropriate.

    Note:

    For variation and revocation of the instrument, see subsection 33(3) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

    15AB(3)  
    The Information Commissioner must, as soon as practicable, inform the following persons of the period for which the extension has been given:


    (a) the applicant;


    (b) the agency or Minister.

    SECTION 15AC   Decision not made on request within time - deemed refusal  

    Scope

    15AC(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) a request has been made to an agency or Minister; and


    (b) the period (the initial decision period ) covered by subsection (2) has ended since the day the request was received by, or on behalf of,the agency or Minister; and


    (c) notice of a decision on the request has not been received by the applicant.

    15AC(2)  
    The initial decision period covered by this subsection is the period of 30 days mentioned in paragraph 15(5)(b) (or that period as extended, otherwise than under this section). Deemed refusal

    15AC(3)  
    Subject to this section:


    (a) the principal officer of the agency or the Minister is taken to have made a decision personally refusing to give access to the document on the last day of the initial decision period; and


    (b) notice of the decision is taken to have been given under section 26 to the applicant on the same day. Agency or Minister may apply for further time

    15AC(4)  
    However, the agency or Minister concerned may apply, in writing, to the Information Commissioner for further time to deal with the request.

    15AC(5)  
    The Information Commissioner may allow further time considered appropriate by the Information Commissioner for the agency or Minister to deal with the request.

    15AC(6)  
    If the Information Commissioner allows further time, the Information Commissioner may impose any condition that he or she considers appropriate.

    15AC(7)  
    Subsection (3) (deemed refusal) does not apply, and is taken never to have applied, if the agency or Minister:


    (a) makes a decision on the request within the further time allowed; and


    (b) complies with any condition imposed under subsection (6).

    15AC(8)  
    However, subsection (3) (deemed refusal) applies as if the initial decision period were extended by the time allowed by the Information Commissioner under subsection (5) if the agency or Minister:


    (a) does not make a decision on the request within the further time allowed; or


    (b) does not comply with any condition imposed under subsection (6). No further time allowed

    15AC(9)  
    If subsection (8) (deemed refusal after allowance of further time) applies, the Information Commissioner does not have the power to allow further time under this section in relation to the decision taken to be made under subsection (3) in its operation as affected by subsection (8).

    SECTION 15A   REQUEST FOR ACCESS TO PERSONNEL RECORDS  

    15A(1)   [``personnel records'']  

    In this section:


    (a) ``personnel records'', in relation to an employee or, former employee of an agency, means those documents containing personal information about him or her that are, or have been, kept by the agency for personnel management purposes.

    15A(2)   [Compliance with established procedures of agency]  

    Where:


    (a) there are established procedures in an agency (apart from those provided for by this Act) in accordance with which a request may be made by an employee of the agency for access to his or her personnel records; and


    (b) a person who is or was an employee of the agency wishes to obtain access to his or her personnel records;

    the person must not apply under section 15 for access to such records unless the person:


    (c) has made a request for access to the records in accordance with the procedures referred to in paragraph (a); and


    (d) either:


    (i) is not satisfied with the outcome of the request; or

    (ii) has not been notified of the outcome within 30 days after the request was made.

    SECTION 16   Transfer of requests  

    16(1)  
    Where a request is made to an agency for access to a document and:


    (a) the document is not in the possession of that agency but is, to the knowledge of that agency, in the possession of another agency; or


    (b) the subject-matter of the document is more closely connected with the functions of another agency than with those of the agency to which the request is made;

    the agency to which the request is made may, with the agreement of the other agency, transfer the request to the other agency.

    16(2)  


    Where a request is made to an agency for access to a document that:


    (a) originated with, or has been received from, a body which, or person who, is specified in Part I of Schedule 2; and


    (b) is more closely connected with the functions of that body or person than with those of the agency to which the request is made;

    the request shall be transferred:


    (c) to the Department corresponding to the Department of State administered by the Minister who administers the enactment by or under which the body or person is established, continued in existence or appointed; or


    (d) if the request relates to a document that originated with, or has been received from, a part of the Department of Defence specified in Division 2 of Part I of Schedule 2 - to that Department.

    16(3)  
    Where a request is made to an agency for access to a document that:


    (a) originated in, or has been received from, another agency, being an agency specified in Part II of Schedule 2 or an agency that is a body corporate established by or under an Act specified in Part III of Schedule 2; and


    (b) is more closely connected with the functions of the other agency in relation to documents in respect of which the other agency is exempt from the operation of this Act than with the functions of the agency to which the request is made;

    the agency to which the request is made shall transfer the requestto the other agency.

    16(3A)  
    Where:


    (a) a request is made to an agency for access to more than one document; and


    (b) one or more of those documents is a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies;

    this section applies to each of those documents as if separate requests for access had been made to the agency in respect of each of those documents.

    16(4)  
    Where a request is transferred to an agency in accordance with this section, the agency making the transfer shall inform the person making the request accordingly and, if it is necessary to do so in order to enable the other agency to deal with the request, send the document to the other agency.

    16(5)  
    Where a request is transferred to an agency in accordance with this section, the request is to be taken to be a request:


    (a) made to the agency for access to the document that is the subject of the transfer; and


    (b) received by the agency at the time at which it was first received by an agency.

    16(6)  
    In this section, agency includes a Minister.

    SECTION 16A   16A   Requests transferred from the ACT  


    Where a request under the Freedom of Information Act 1989 of the Australian Capital Territory is transferred to an agency in accordance with section 33 of that Act, it becomes a request under this Act at the time at which it is received by the agency.

    SECTION 17   Requests involving use of computers etc.  

    17(1)  
    Where:


    (a) a request (including a request in relation to which a practical refusal reason exists) is made in accordance with the requirements of subsection 15(2) to an agency;


    (b) it appears from the request that the desire of the applicant is for information that is not available in discrete form in written documents of the agency; and


    (ba) it does not appear from the request that the applicant wishes to be provided with a computer tape or computer disk on which the information is recorded; and


    (c) the agency could produce a written document containing the information in discrete form by:


    (i) the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored information; or

    (ii) the making of a transcript from a sound recording held in the agency:

    the agency shall deal with the request as if it were a request for access to a written document so produced and containing that information and, for that purpose, this Act applies as if the agency has such a document in its possession.

    17(2)  
    An agency is not required to comply with subsection (1) if compliance would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations.

    SECTION 18   18   Access to documents to be given on request  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 20   Forms of access  

    20(1)  
    Access to a document may be given to a person in one or more of the following forms:


    (a) a reasonable opportunity to inspect the document;


    (b) provision by the agency or Minister of a copy of the document;


    (c) in the case of a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being reproduced, the making of arrangements for the person to hear or view those sounds or visual images;


    (d) in the case of a document by which words are recorded in a manner in which they are capable of being reproduced in the form of sound or in which words are contained in the form of shorthand writing or in codified form, provision by the agency or Minister of a written transcript of the words recorded or contained in the document.

    20(2)  
    Subject to subsection (3) and to section 22, where the applicant has requested access in a particular form, access shall be given in that form.

    20(3)  
    If the giving of access in the form requested by the applicant:


    (a) would interfere unreasonably with the operations of the agency, or the performance by the Minister of his or her functions, as the case may be;


    (b) would be detrimental to the preservation of the document or, having regard to the physical nature of the document, would not be appropriate; or


    (c) would, but for this Act, involve an infringement of copyright (other than copyright owned by the Commonwealth, an agency or a State) subsisting in matter contained in the document, being matter that does not relate to the affairs of an agency or of a Department of State;

    access in that form may be refused and access given in another form.

    20(4)  
    Subject to subsection 17(1), where a person requests access to a document in a particular form and, for a reason specified in subsection (3), access in that form is refused but access is given in another form, the applicant shall not be required to pay a charge in respect of the provision of access to the document that is greater than the charge that he or she would have been required to pay if access had been given in the form requested.

    SECTION 21   Deferment of access  

    21(1)  
    An agency which, or a Minister who, receives a request may defer the provision of access to the document concerned:


    (a) if the publication of the document concerned is required by law - until the expiration of the period within which the document is required to be published; or


    (b) if the document concerned has been prepared for presentation to Parliament or for the purpose of being made available to a particular person or body or with the intention that it should be so made available - until the expiration of a reasonable period after its preparation for it to be so presented or made available; or


    (c) if the premature release of the document concerned would be contrary to the public interest - until the occurrence of any event after which or the expiration of any period of time beyond which the release of the document would not be contrary to the public interest; or


    (d) if a Minister considers that the document concerned is of such general public interest that the Parliament should be informed of the contents of the document before the document is otherwise made public - until the expiration of 5 sitting days of either House of the Parliament.


    (e) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

    21(2)  
    Where the provision of access to a document is deferred in accordance with subsection (1), the agency or Minister shall, in informing the applicant of the reasons for the decision, indicate, as far as practicable, the period for which the deferment will operate.

    (3)  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 22   Access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted  

    Scope

    22(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) an agency or Minister decides:


    (i) to refuse to give access to an exempt document; or

    (ii) that to give access to a document would disclose information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request for access; and


    (b) it is possible for the agency or Minister to prepare a copy (an edited copy ) of the document, modified by deletions, ensuring that:


    (i) access to the edited copy would be required to be given under section 11A (access to documents on request); and

    (ii) the edited copy would not disclose any information that would reasonably be regarded as irrelevant to the request; and


    (c) it is reasonably practicable for the agency or Minister to prepare the edited copy, having regard to:


    (i) the nature and extent of the modification; and

    (ii) the resources available to modify the document; and


    (d) it is not apparent (from the request or from consultation with the applicant) that the applicant would decline access to the edited copy. Access to edited copy

    22(2)  
    The agency or Minister must:


    (a) prepare the edited copy as mentioned in paragraph (1)(b); and


    (b) give the applicant access to the edited copy. Notice to applicant

    22(3)  
    The agency or Minister must give the applicant notice in writing:


    (a) that the edited copy has been prepared; and


    (b) of the grounds for the deletions; and


    (c) if any matter deleted is exempt matter - that the matter deleted is exempt matter because of a specified provision of this Act.

    22(4)  
    Section 26 (reasons for decision) does not apply to the decision to refuse access to the whole document unless the applicant requests the agency or Minister to give the applicant a notice in writing in accordance with that section.

    SECTION 23   Decisions to be made by authorised persons  

    23(1)  
    Subject to subsection (2), a decision in respect of a request made to an agency may be made, on behalf of the agency, by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of the agency acting within the scope of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency.

    23(2)  
    A decision in respect of a request made to a court, or made to a tribunal, authority or body that is specified in Schedule 1, may be made on behalf of that court, tribunal, authority or body by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body acting within the scope of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body.

    SECTION 24   POWER TO REFUSE REQUEST - DIVERSION OF RESOURCES ETC  

    24(1)  
    If an agency or Minister is satisfied, when dealing with a request for a document, that a practical refusal reason exists in relation to the request (see section 24AA), the agency or Minister:


    (a) must undertake a request consultation process (see section 24AB); and


    (b) if, after the request consultation process, the agency or Minister is satisfied that the practical refusal reason still exists - the agency or Minister may refuse to give access to the document in accordance with the request.

    24(2)  
    For the purposes of this section, the agency or Minister may treat 2 or more requests as a single request if the agency or Minister is satisfied that:


    (a) the requests relate to the same document or documents; or


    (b) the requests relate to documents, the subject matter of which is substantially the same.

    SECTION 24AA   When does a practical refusal reason exist?  

    24AA(1)  
    For the purposes of section 24, a practical refusal reason exists in relation to a request for a document if either (or both) of the following applies:


    (a) the work involved in processing the request:


    (i) in the case of an agency - would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations; or

    (ii) in the case of a Minister - would substantially and unreasonably interfere with the performance of the Minister's functions;


    (b) the request does not satisfy the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b) (identification of documents).

    24AA(2)  
    Subject to subsection (3), but without limiting the matters to which the agency or Minister may have regard, in deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, the agency or Minister must have regard to the resources that would have to be used for the following:


    (a) identifying, locating or collating the documents within the filing system of the agency, or the office of the Minister;


    (b) deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to a document to which the request relates, or to grant access to an edited copy of such a document, including resources that would have to be used for:


    (i) examining the document; or

    (ii) consulting with any person or body in relation to the request;


    (c) making a copy, or an edited copy, of the document;


    (d) notifying any interim or final decision on the request.

    24AA(3)  
    In deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, an agency or Minister must not have regard to:


    (a) any reasons that the applicant gives for requesting access; or


    (b) the agency's or Minister's belief as to what the applicant's reasons are for requesting access; or


    (c) any maximum amount, specified in the regulations, payable as a charge for processing a request of that kind.

    SECTION 24AB   What is a request consultation process ?  

    Scope

    24AB(1)  
    This section sets out what is a request consultation process for the purposes of section 24. Requirement to notify

    24AB(2)  
    The agency or Minister must give the applicant a written notice stating the following:


    (a) an intention to refuse access to a document in accordance with a request;


    (b) the practical refusal reason;


    (c) the name of an officer of the agency or member of staff of the Minister (the contact person ) with whom the applicant may consult during a period;


    (d) details of how the applicant may contact the contact person;


    (e) that the period (the consultation period ) during which the applicant may consult with the contact person is 14 days after the day the applicant is given the notice. Assistance to revise request

    24AB(3)  
    If the applicant contacts the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice, the agency or Minister must take reasonable steps to assist the applicant to revise the request so that the practical refusal reason no longer exists.

    24AB(4)  
    For the purposes of subsection (3), reasonable steps includes the following:


    (a) giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity to consult with the contact person;


    (b) providing the applicant with any information that would assist the applicant to revise the request. Extension of consultation period

    24AB(5)  
    The contact person may, with the applicant's agreement, extend the consultation period by written notice to the applicant. Outcome of request consultation process

    24AB(6)  
    The applicant must, before the end of the consultation period, do one of the following, by written notice to the agency or Minister:


    (a) withdraw the request;


    (b) make a revised request;


    (c) indicate that the applicant does not wish to revise the request.

    24AB(7)  
    The request is taken to have been withdrawn under subsection (6) at the end of the consultation period if:


    (a) the applicant does not consult the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice; or


    (b) the applicant does not do one of the things mentioned in subsection (6) before the end of the consultation period. Consultation period to be disregarded in calculating processing period

    24AB(8)  
    The period starting on the day an applicant is given a notice under subsection (2) and ending on the day the applicant does one of the things mentioned in paragraph (6)(b) or (c) is to be disregarded in working out the 30 day period mentioned in paragraph 15(5)(b).

    Note:

    Paragraph 15(5)(b) requires that an agency or Minister take all reasonable steps to notify an applicant of a decision on the applicant's request within 30 days after the request is made.

    No more than one request consultation process required

    24AB(9)  
    To avoid doubt, this section only obliges the agency or Minister to undertake a request consultation process once for any particular request.

    SECTION 24A   Requests may be refused if documents cannot be found, do not exist or have not been received  

    Document lost or non-existent

    24A(1)  
    An agency or Minister may refuse a request for access to a document if:


    (a) all reasonable steps have been taken to find the document; and


    (b) the agency or Minister is satisfied that the document:


    (i) is in the agency's or Minister's possession but cannot be found; or

    (ii) does not exist.
    Document not received as required by contract

    24A(2)  
    An agency may refuse a request for access to a document if:


    (a) in order to comply with section 6C, the agency has taken contractual measures to ensure that it receives the document; and


    (b) the agency has not received the document; and


    (c) the agency has taken all reasonable steps to receive the document in accordance with those contractual measures.

    SECTION 25   Information as to existence of certain documents  

    25(1)  


    Nothing in this Act shall be taken to require an agency or Minister to give information as to the existence or non-existence of a document where information as to the existence or non-existence of that document, if included in a document of an agency, would cause the last-mentioned document to be:


    (a) an exempt document by virtue of section 33 or subsection 37(1) or 45A(1); or


    (b) an exempt document to the extent referred to in subsection 45A(2) or (3).

    25(2)  


    If a request relates to a document that is, or if it existed would be, of a kind referred to in subsection (1), the agency or Minister dealing with the request may give notice in writing to the applicant that the agency or the Minister (as the case may be) neither confirms nor denies the existence, as a document of the agency or an official document of the Minister, of such a document but that, assuming the existence of such a document, it would be:


    (a) an exempt document by virtue of section 33 or subsection 37(1) or 45A(1); or


    (b) an exempt document to the extent referred to in subsection 45A(2) or (3).

    25(3)  


    If a notice is given under subsection (2) of this section:


    (a) section 26 applies as if the decision to give the notice were a decision referred to in that section; and


    (b) the decision is taken, for the purposes of Part VI, to be a decision refusing to grant access to the document in accordance with the request referred to in subsection (2) of this section, for the reason that the document would, if it existed, be:


    (i) an exempt document by virtue of section 33 or subsection 37(1) or 45A(1); or

    (ii) an exempt document to the extent referred to in subsection 45A(2) or (3).

    SECTION 26   Reasons and other particulars of decisions to be given  

    26(1)  
    Where, in relation to a request, a decision is made relating to a refusal to grant access to a document in accordance with the request or deferring provision of access to a document, the decision-maker shall cause the applicant to be given notice in writing of the decision, and the notice shall:


    (a) state the findings on any material questions of fact, referring to the material on which those findings were based, and state the reasons for the decision; and


    (aa) in the case of a decision to refuse to give access to a conditionally exempt document - include in those reasons the public interest factors taken into account in making the decision; and

    Note:

    the procedure for the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraphs (i) and (ii); 11A).


    (b) where the decision relates to a document of an agency, state the name and designation of the person giving the decision; and


    (c) give to the applicant appropriate information concerning:


    (i) his or her rights with respect to review of the decision;

    (ii) his or her rights to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner in relation to the decision; and

    (iii) the procedure for the exercise of the rights referred to in subparagraphs (i) and (ii);
    including (where applicable) particulars of the manner in which an application for internal review (Part VI and IC review (Part VII) may be made.

    26(1A)  
    Section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 does not apply to a decision referred to in subsection (1).

    26(2)  
    A notice under this section is not required to contain any matter that is of such a nature that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that document to be an exempt document.

    SECTION 26A   Consultation - documents affecting Commonwealth-State relations etc.  

    Scope

    26A(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) arrangements have been entered into between the Commonwealth and a State about consultation under this section; and


    (b) a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document that:


    (i) originated with, or was received from, the State or an authority of the State; or

    (ii) contains information ( State-originated information ) that originated with, or was received from, the State or an authority of the State; and


    (c) it appears to the agency or Minister that the State may reasonably wish to contend that:


    (i) the document is conditionally exempt under section 47B (Commonwealth-State relations etc.); and

    (ii) access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5)).
    Note:

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

    Consultation required

    26A(2)  
    The agency or Minister must not decide to give the applicant access to the document unless consultation has taken place between the Commonwealth and the State in accordance with the arrangements. Decision to give access

    26A(3)  
    If, after such consultation has taken place, the agency or Minister decides to give the applicant access to the document, the agency or Minister must give written notice of the decision to both of the following:


    (a) the State;


    (b) the applicant. Access not to be given until review or appeal opportunities have run out

    26A(4)  
    However, the agency or Minister must not give the applicant access to the document unless, after all the opportunities of the State for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out, the decision still stands, or is confirmed.

    Note 1:

    The decision to give access to the document is subject to internal review (see Part VI), review by the Information Commissioner (see Part VII) and review by the Tribunal (see Part VIIA).

    Note 2:

    For when all opportunities for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out , see subsection 4(1).

    Edited copies and State-originated information

    26A(5)  
    This section applies:


    (a) in relation to an edited copy of a document - in the same way as it applies to the document; and


    (b) in relation to a document containing State-originated information - to the extent to which the document contains such information.

    26A(6)  
    (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

    SECTION 26AA   26AA   Consultation - documents affecting Norfolk Island intergovernmental relations  
    (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

    SECTION 27   Consultation - business documents  

    Scope

    27(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document containing information ( business information ) covered by subsection (2) in respect of a person, organisation or undertaking; and


    (b) it appears to the agency or Minister that the person, organisation or proprietor of the undertaking (the person or organisation concerned ) might reasonably wish to make a contention (the exemption contention ) that:


    (i) the document is exempt under section 47 (trade secrets etc); or

    (ii) the document is conditionally exempt under section 47G (business information) and access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).
    Note:

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

    27(2)  
    This subsection covers the following information:


    (a) in relation to a person - information about the person's business or professional affairs;


    (b) in relation to an organisation or undertaking - information about the business, commercial or financial affairs of the organisation or undertaking.

    27(3)  
    In determining, for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), whether the person or organisation concerned might reasonably wish to make an exemption contention because of business information in a document, the agency or Minister must have regard to the following matters:


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


    (b) whether the person, organisation or undertaking is known to be associated with the matters dealt with in the information;


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


    (d) any other matters that the agency or Minister considers relevant. Opportunity to make submissions

    27(4)  
    The agency or Minister must not decide to give access to the document unless:


    (a) the person or organisation concerned is given a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in support of the exemption contention; and


    (b) the agency or the Minister has regard to any submissions so made.

    27(5)  
    However, subsection (4) only applies if it is reasonably practicable for the agency or Minister to give the person or organisation concerned a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in support of the exemption contention, having regard to all the circumstances (including the application of subsections 15(5) and (6) (time limits for processing requests)). Notice of decision to give access

    27(6)  
    If the agency or Minister decides to give access to the document, the agency or Minister must give written notice of the decision to both of the following:


    (a) the person or organisation concerned;


    (b) the applicant. Access not to be given until review or appeal opportunities have run out

    27(7)  
    However, the agency or Minister must not give the applicant access to the document unless, after all the opportunities of the person or organisation concerned for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out, the decision to give access still stands, or is confirmed.

    Note 1:

    The decision to give access to the document is subject to internal review (see Part VI), review by the Information Commissioner (see Part VII) and review by the Tribunal (see Part VIIA).

    Note 2:

    For when all opportunities for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out , see subsection 4(1).

    Notice and stay of decision not to apply unless submission made in support of exemption contention

    27(8)  
    Subsections (6) and (7) do not apply unless the person or organisation concerned makes a submission in support of the exemption contention as allowed under paragraph (4)(a). Edited copies and business information

    27(9)  
    This section applies:


    (a) in relation to an edited copy of a document - in the same way as it applies to the document; and


    (b) in relation to a document containing business information - to the extent to which the document contains such information.

    SECTION 27A   Consultation - documents affecting personal privacy  

    Scope

    27A(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) a request is made to an agency or Minister for access to a document containing personal information about a person (including a person who has died); and


    (b) it appears to the agency or Minister that the person or the person's legal personal representative (the person concerned ) might reasonably wish to make a contention (the exemption contention ) that:


    (i) the document is conditionally exempt under section 47F; and

    (ii) access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).
    Note:

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

    27A(2)  
    In determining, for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), whether the person concerned might reasonably wish to make an exemption contention because of personal information in a document, the 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 information;


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


    (d) any other matters that the agency or Minister considers relevant. Opportunity to make submissions

    27A(3)  
    The agency or Minister must not decide to give the applicant access to the document unless:


    (a) the person concerned is given a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in support of the exemption contention; and


    (b) the agency or the Minister has regard to any submissions so made.

    27A(4)  
    However, subsection (3) only applies if it is reasonably practicable for the agency or Minister to give the person concerned a reasonable opportunity to make submissions in support of the exemption contention, having regard to all the circumstances (including the application of subsections 15(5) and (6) (time limits for processing requests)). Decision to give access

    27A(5)  
    If the agency or Minister decides to give access to the document, the agency or Minister must give written notice of the decision to both of the following:


    (a) the person concerned;


    (b) the applicant. Access not to be given until review or appeal opportunities have run out

    27A(6)  
    However, the agency or Minister must not give the applicant access to the document unless, after all the opportunities of the person concerned for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out, the decision to give access still stands, or is confirmed.

    Note 1:

    The decision to give access to the document is subject to internal review (see Part VI), review by the Information Commissioner (see Part VII) and review by the Tribunal (see Part VIIA).

    Note 2:

    For when all opportunities for review or appeal in relation to the decision to give access to the document have run out , see subsection 4(1).

    Notice and stay of decision not to apply unless submission made in support of exemption contention

    27A(7)  
    Subsections (5) and (6) do not apply unless the person concerned makes a submission in support of the exemption contention as allowed under paragraph (3)(a). Edited copies and personal information

    27A(8)  
    This section applies:


    (a) in relation to an edited copy of a document - in the same way as it applies to the document; and


    (b) in relation to a document containing personal information - to the extent to which the document contains such information.

    SECTION 28   28   Information access offices  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 29   CHARGES  

    29(1)  


    Where, under the regulations, an agency or Minister decides that an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect of a request for access to a document, or the provision of access to a document, the agency or Minister must give to the applicant a written notice stating:


    (a) that the applicant is liable to pay a charge; and


    (b) the agency's or Minister's preliminary assessment of the amount of the charge, and the basis on which the assessment is made; and


    (c) that the applicant may contend that the charge has been wrongly assessed, or should be reduced or not imposed; and


    (d) the matters that the agency or Minister must take into account under subsection (5) in deciding whether or not to reduce, or not impose, the charge; and


    (e) the amount of any deposit that the agency or Minister has determined, under the regulations, that the applicant will be required to pay if the charge is imposed; and


    (f) that the applicant must, within the period of 30 days, or such further period as the agency or Minister allows, after the notice was given, notify the agency or Minister in writing:


    (i) of the applicant's agreement to pay the charge; or

    (ii) if the applicant contends that the charge has been wrongly assessed, or should be reduced or not imposed, or both - that the applicant so contends, giving the applicant's reasons for so contending; or

    (iii) that the applicant withdraws the request for access to the document concerned; and


    (g) that if the applicant fails to give the agency or Minister such a notice within that period or further period, the request for access to the document will be taken to have been withdrawn.

    29(2)  
    If the applicant fails to notify the agency or Minister in a manner mentioned in paragraph (1)(f) within the period or further period mentioned in that paragraph, the applicant is to be taken to have withdrawn the request for access to the document concerned.

    29(3)  
    An agency or Minister must not impose a charge in respect of a request for access to a document, or the provision of access to a document, until:


    (a) the applicant has notified the agency or Minister in a manner mentioned in paragraph (1)(f); or


    (b) the end of the period or further period mentioned in that paragraph.

    29(4)  
    Where the applicant has notified the agency or Minister, in a manner mentioned in subparagraph (1)(f)(ii), that the applicant contends that the charge should be reduced or not imposed, the agency or Minister may decide that the charge is to be reduced or not to be imposed.

    29(5)  
    Without limiting the matters the agency or Minister may take into account in determining whether or not to reduce or not to impose the charge, the agency or Minister must take into account:


    (a) whether the payment of the charge, or part of it, would cause financial hardship to the applicant, or to a person on whose behalf the application was made; and


    (b) whether the giving of access to the document in question is in the general public interest or in the interest of a substantial section of the public.

    29(6)  
    If the applicant has notified the agency or Minister in the manner mentioned in subparagraph (1)(f)(ii), the agency or Minister must take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified of the decision on the amount of charge payable as soon as practicable but in any case no later than 30 days after the day on which the applicant so notified the agency or Minister.

    29(7)  
    If:


    (a) that period of 30 days has elapsed since the day on which the agency or Minister was so notified; and


    (b) the applicant has not received notice of a decision on the amount of charge payable;

    the principal officer of the agency, or the Minister, as the case requires, is, for all purposes of this Act, taken to have made, on the last day of the period, a decision to the effect that the amount of charge payable is the amount equal to the agency's or Minister's preliminary assessment of the amount of the charge mentioned in paragraph (1)(b).

    29(8)  
    If:


    (a) the applicant makes a contention about a charge as mentioned in subsection (4); and


    (b) the agency or Minister makes a decision to reject the contention, in whole or in part;

    the agency or Minister, as the case requires, must give the applicant written notice of the decision and of the reasons for the decision.

    Note:

    Section 25D of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 sets out rules about the contents of a statement of reasons.

    29(9)  


    A notice under subsection (8) must also state the name and designation of the person making the decision and give the applicant appropriate information about:


    (a) his or her rights with respect to review of the decision; and


    (b) his or her rights to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner in relation to the decision; and


    (c) the procedure for the exercise of those rights;

    including (where applicable) particulars of the manner in which an application for internal review (Part VI) and IC review (Part VII) may be made.

    29(10)  
    Section 13 of the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 does not apply to a decision referred to in subsection (8).

    (11)  
    A notice under subsection (8) is not required to contain any matter that is of such a nature that its inclusion in a document of an agency would cause that document to be an exempt document.

    SECTION 30A   30A   Remission of application fees  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 31   Decision to impose charge - extended period for processing request  

    Scope

    31(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) on a particular day (the charge notice day ) an applicant in relation to a request receives a notice under subsection 29(1) or (6) to the effect that the applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect of the request; and


    (b) the notice is received before the end of the period (the processing period ) applicable under paragraph 15(5)(b) in relation to the request (or that period as extended). Processing period to be calculated disregarding period when charge unpaid

    31(2)  
    In working out the length of the processing period (or that period as extended) for the purposes of paragraph 15(5)(b), disregard the number of days in the period starting on the charge notice day and ending on the earliest occurring of the following days:


    (a) the day the applicant pays the amount of the charge (or a deposit on account of the charge prescribed by the regulations), whether or not the decision to impose the charge has been considered under section 29, or is the subject of a review under this Act;


    (b) if the amount of the charge is changed under section 29, or following a review under this Act - the day the applicant pays the amount of the charge (or a deposit on account of the charge prescribed by the regulations) as changed following the review;


    (c) if, under section 29, or following a review under this Act, a decision is made with the effect that the charge is not imposed - the day the applicant is notified of the decision.

    Note:

    A decision under section 29 relating to the imposition of a charge or the amount of a charge may be the subject of an internal review (see Part VI), an IC review (see Part VII) or review by the Tribunal (see Part VIIA).

    PART IV - EXEMPT DOCUMENTS  

    Division 1 - Preliminary  

    SECTION 31A   31A   Access to exempt and conditionally exempt documents  


    The following table summarises how this Act applies to exempt documents and documents that are conditionally exempt.


    How this Act applies to exempt and conditionally exempt documents
    Item If ... then ... because of ...
    1 a document is an exempt document under Division 2 (exemptions) or under paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt document in subsection 4(1) access to the document is not required to be given subsection 11A(4).
    2 a document is a conditionally exempt document under Division 3 (public interest conditional exemptions) access to the document is required to be given, unless it would be contrary to the public interest subsection 11A(5) (see also section 11B (public interest factors)).
    3 a document is an exempt document as mentioned in item 1, and also a conditionally exempt document under Division 3 access to the document is not required to be given subsections 11A(4) and (6), and section 32 (interpretation).
    4 access to a document is refused because it contains exempt matter, and the exempt matter can be deleted (a) an edited copy deleting the exempt matter must be prepared (if practicable); and section 22.
    (b) access to the edited copy must be given;
    5 a document is an exempt document because of any provision of this Act access to the document may be given apart from under this Act section 3A (objects - information or documents otherwise accessible).

    SECTION 31B   31B   Exempt documents for the purposes of this Part  


    A document is exempt for the purposes of this Part if:


    (a) it is an exempt document under Division 2; or


    (b) it is conditionally exempt under Division 3, and access to the document would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).

    Note 1:

    A document is an exempt document for the purposes of this Act (see subsection 4(1)) if:

  • (a) it is exempt under this section; or
  • (b) it is exempt because of section 7 (exemption of certain persons and bodies); or
  • (c) it is an official document of a Minister that contains matters not relating to the affairs of an agency or a Department of State.
  • Note 2:

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

    SECTION 32   32   Interpretation  


    A provision of this Part by virtue of which documents referred to in the provision are exempt documents, or are conditionally exempt:


    (a) shall not be construed as limited in its scope or operation in any way by any other provision of this Part by virtue of which documents are exempt documents, or are conditionally exempt; and


    (b) shall not be construed as not applying to a particular document by reason that another provision of this Part of a kind mentioned in paragraph (a) also applies to that document.

    Division 2 - Exemptions  

    SECTION 33   33   Documents affecting national security, defence or international relations  
    A document is an exempt document if disclosure of the document under this Act:


    (a) would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to:


    (i) the security of the Commonwealth;

    (ii) the defence of the Commonwealth; or

    (iii) the international relations of the Commonwealth; or


    (b) would divulge any information or matter communicated in confidence by or on behalf of a foreign government, an authority of a foreign government or an international organization to the Government of the Commonwealth, to an authority of the Commonwealth or to a person receiving the communication on behalf of the Commonwealth or of an authority of the Commonwealth.

    Note:

    See also subsection 4(10).

    33(2)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    33(3)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    33(4)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    33(5)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    33(6)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    33(7)  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009, Sch 1 item 5, effective 7 October 2009.)

    SECTION 33A   33A   DOCUMENTS AFFECTING RELATIONS WITH STATES  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 34   Cabinet documents  

    General rules

    34(1)  
    A document is an exempt document if:


    (a) both of the following are satisfied:


    (i) it has been submitted to the Cabinet for its consideration, or is or was proposed by a Minister to be so submitted;

    (ii) it was brought into existence for the dominant purpose of submission for consideration by the Cabinet; or


    (b) it is an official record of the Cabinet; or


    (c) it was brought into existence for the dominant purpose of briefing a Minister on a document to which paragraph (a) applies; or


    (d) it is a draft of a document to which paragraph (a), (b) or (c) applies.

    34(2)  


    A document is an exempt document to the extent that it is a copy or part of, or contains an extract from, a document to which subsection (1) applies.

    34(3)  


    A document is an exempt document to the extent that it contains information the disclosure of which would reveal a Cabinet deliberation or decision, unless the existence of the deliberation or decision has been officially disclosed. Exceptions

    34(4)  


    A document is not an exempt document only because it is attached to a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies.
    Note:

    However, the attachment itself may be an exempt document.

    34(5)  


    A document by which a decision of the Cabinet is officially published is not an exempt document.

    34(6)  
    Information in a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies is not exempt matter because of this section if the information consists of purely factual material, unless:


    (a) the disclosure of the information would reveal a Cabinet deliberation or decision; and


    (b)the existence of the deliberation or decision has not been officially disclosed.

    SECTION 35   35   Executive Council documents  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 36   36   Internal working documents  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 36A   36A   Periods for which certain certificates remain in force  
    (Repealed by No 99 of 2009)

    SECTION 37   Documents affecting enforcement of the law and protection of public safety  

    37(1)  
    A document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be expected to:


    (a) prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a breach, or possible breach, of the law, or a failure, or possible failure, to comply with a law relating to taxation or prejudice the enforcement or proper administration of the law in a particular instance;


    (b) disclose, or enable a person to ascertain, the existence or identity of a confidential source of information, or the non-existence of a confidential source of information, in relation to the enforcement or administration of the law; or


    (c) endanger the life or physical safety of any person.

    37(2)  
    A document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be expected to:


    (a) prejudice the fair trial of a person or the impartial adjudication of a particular case;


    (b) disclose lawful methods or procedures for preventing, detecting, investigating, or dealing with matters arising out of, breaches or evasions of the law thedisclosure of which would, or would be reasonably likely to, prejudice the effectiveness of those methods or procedures; or


    (c) prejudice the maintenance or enforcement of lawful methods for the protection of public safety.

    37(2A)  
    For the purposes of paragraph (1) (b), a person is taken to be a confidential source of information in relation to the enforcement or administration of the law if the person is receiving, or has received, protection under a program conducted under the auspices of the Australian Federal Police, or the police force of a State or Territory, for the protection of:


    (a) witnesses; or


    (b) people who, because of their relationship to, or association with, a witness need, or may need, such protection; or


    (c) any other people who, for any other reason, need or may need, such protection.

    37(3)  
    In this section, ``law'' means law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory.

    SECTION 38   Documents to which secrecy provisions of enactments apply  

    38(1)  
    Subject to subsection (1A), a document is an exempt document if:


    (a) disclosure of the document, or information contained in the document, is prohibited under a provision of an enactment; and


    (b) either:


    (i) that provision is specified in Schedule 3; or

    (ii) this section is expressly applied to the document, or information, by that provision, or by another provision of that or any other enactment.

    38(1A)  
    A person's right of access to a document under section 11 or 22 is not affected merely because the document is an exempt document under subsection (1) of this section if disclosure of the document, or information contained in the document, to that person is not prohibited by the enactment concerned or any other enactment.

    38(2)  


    Subject to subsection (3), if a person requests access to a document, this section does not apply in relation to the document so far as it contains personal information about the person.

    38(3)  


    This section applies in relation to a document so far as it contains personal information about a person if:


    (a) the person requests access to the document; and


    (b) disclosure of the document, or information contained in the document, is prohibited under section 503A of the Migration Act 1958 as affected by section 503D of that Act.

    38(4)  
    In this section:

    enactment
    includes a Norfolk Island enactment.

    SECTION 39   39   Documents affecting financial or property interests of the Commonwealth  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 40   40   Documents concerning certain operations of agencies  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 41   41   Documents affecting personal privacy  


    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 42   Documents subject to legal professional privilege  

    42(1)  
    A document is an exempt document if it is of such a nature that it would be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of legal professional privilege.

    42(2)  


    A document is not an exempt document because of subsection (1) if the person entitled to claim legal professional privilege in relation to the production of the document in legal proceedings waives that claim.

    42(3)  


    A document is not an exempt document under subsection (1) by reason only that:


    (a) the document contains information that would (apart from this subsection) cause the document to be exempt under subsection (1); and


    (b) the information is operational information of an agency.

    Note:

    For operational information , see section 8A.

    SECTION 43   43   Documents relating to business affairs etc.  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 43A   43A   Documents relating to research  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 44   44   Documents affecting national economy  
    (Repealed by No 51 of 2010)

    SECTION 45   Documents containing material obtained in confidence  

    45(1)  


    A document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act would found an action, by a person (other than an agency or the Commonwealth) for breach of confidence.

    45(2)  


    Sub-section (1) does not apply to a document to which subsection 47C(1) (deliberative processes) applies (or would apply, but for subsection 47C(2) or (3)), that is prepared by a Minister, a member of the staff of a Minister, or an officer or employee of an agency, in the course of his or her duties, or by a prescribed authority or Norfolk Island authority in the performance of its functions, for purposes relating to the affairs of an agency or a Department of State unless the disclosure of the document would constitute a breach of confidence owed to a person or body other than:


    (a) a person in the capacity of Minister, member of the staff of a Minister or officer of an agency; or


    (b) an agency or the Commonwealth.

    SECTION 45A   Parliamentary Budget Office documents  

    General rules

    45A(1)  
    A document is an exempt document if:


    (a) both of the following are satisfied:


    (i) the document originated from the Parliamentary Budget Officer or the Parliamentary Budget Office;

    (ii) the document was prepared in response to, or otherwise relates to, a confidential request; or


    (b) the document was brought into existence for the dominant purpose of providing information to the Parliamentary Budget Officer or the Parliamentary Budget Office relating to a confidential request; or


    (c) the document was provided to the Parliamentary Budget Officer or the Parliamentary Budget Office in response to a request by the Parliamentary Budget Officer for more information in relation to a confidential request; or


    (d) the document is a draft of a document to which paragraph (a), (b) or (c) applies.

    45A(2)  
    A document is an exempt document to the extent that it is a copy or part of, or contains an extract from, a document to which subsection (1) applies.

    45A(3)  
    A document is an exempt document to the extent that it contains information the disclosure of which would reveal that a confidential request has been made to the Parliamentary Budget Officer or the Parliamentary Budget Office, unless the existence of the request has been disclosed by the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives who made the request. Exceptions

    45A(4)  
    A document is not an exempt document only because it is attached to a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies.

    Note:

    However, the attachment itself may be an exempt document.

    45A(5)  
    Information in a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies is not exempt matter because of this section if the information has been made publicly available by the Parliamentary Budget Officer:


    (a) under section 64U of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999; or


    (b) in a statement made under subsection 64V(4) of that Act.

    45A(6)  
    Information in a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies is not exempt matter because of this section if the information has been made publicly available by the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives who made the confidential request to which the document relates.

    45A(7)  
    Information in a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies is not exempt matter because of this section if the information consists of purely factual material, unless:


    (a) the disclosure of the information would reveal the existence of a confidential request; and


    (b) the existence of the confidential request has not been disclosed by the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives who made the request. Definition

    45A(8)  
    In this section:

    confidential request
    means a request referred to in paragraph 64E(1)(a) or (c) of the Parliamentary Service Act 1999 that includes a direction under paragraph 64H(3)(d) or section 64M (as the case may be) of that Act to treat the request or any other information relating to the request as confidential.

    SECTION 46   46   Documents disclosure of which would be contempt of Parliament or contempt of court  
    A document is an exempt document if public disclosure of the document would, apart from this Act and any immunity of the Crown:


    (a) be in contempt of court;


    (b) be contrary to an order made or direction given by a Royal Commission or by a tribunal or other person or body having power to take evidence on oath; or


    (c) infringe the privileges of the Parliament of the Commonwealth or of a State or of a House of such a Parliament or of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory.

    SECTION 47   Documents disclosing trade secrets or commercially valuable information  

    47(1)  
    A document is an exempt document if its disclosure under this Act would disclose:


    (a) trade secrets; or


    (b) any other information having a commercial value that would be, or could reasonably be expected to be, destroyed or diminished if the information were disclosed.

    47(2)  
    Subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a person for access to a document:


    (a) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning that person in respect of his or her business or professional affairs; or


    (b) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an undertaking where the person making the request is the proprietor of the undertaking or a person acting on behalf of the proprietor; or


    (c) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an organisation where the person making the request is the organisation or a person acting on behalf of the organisation.

    47(3)  


    A reference in this section to an undertaking includes a reference to an undertaking that is carried on by:


    (a) the Commonwealth or a State; or


    (b) an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State; or


    (c) a Norfolk Island authority; or


    (d) a local government authority.

    SECTION 47A   Electoral rolls and related documents  

    47A(1)  


    In this section:

    "Electoral Act"
    means the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918;

    "electoral roll"
    means:


    (a) a Roll of the electors of:


    (i) a State or Territory; or

    (ii) a Division (within the meaning of the Electoral Act); or

    (iii) a Subdivision (within the meaning of the Electoral Act);

    prepared under the Electoral Act; or


    (b) any part of a Roll referred to in paragraph (a).


    (c)-(d) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

    47A(2)  
    Subject to this section, a document is an exempt document if it is:


    (a) an electoral roll; or


    (b) a print, or a copy of a print, of an electoral roll; or


    (c) a microfiche of an electoral roll; or


    (d) a copy on tape or disk of an electoral roll; or


    (e) a document that:


    (i) sets out particulars of only one elector; and

    (ii) was used to prepare an electoral roll; or


    (f) a document that:


    (i) is a copy of a document referred to in paragraph (e); or

    (ii) contains only copies of documents referred to in paragraph (e); or


    (g) a document (including a habitation index within the meaning of the Electoral Act) that:


    (i) sets out particulars of electors; and

    (ii) was derived from an electoral roll.

    47A(3)  
    The part of an electoral roll that sets out particulars of an elector is not an exempt document in relation to the elector.

    47A(4)  
    Any print, copy of a print, microfiche, tape or disk, that sets out or reproduces only the particulars entered on an electoral roll in respect of an elector is not an exempt document in relation to the elector.

    47A(5)  
    A document that sets out only the particulars of one elector and:


    (a) is a copy of a document referred to in paragraph (2) (e), or


    (b) is a copy, with deletions, of a document referred to in paragraph (2) (e), (f) or (g);

    is not an exempt document in relation to the elector.

    Division 3 - Public interest conditional exemptions  

    SECTION 47B   47B   Public interest conditional exemptions - Commonwealth-State relations etc.  


    A document is conditionally exempt if disclosure of the document under this Act:


    (a) would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to relations between the Commonwealth and a State; or


    (b) would divulge information or matter communicated in confidence by or on behalf of the Government of a State or an authority of a State, to the Government of the Commonwealth, to an authority of the Commonwealth or to a person receiving the communication on behalf of the Commonwealth or of an authority of the Commonwealth; or


    (c) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)


    (d) would divulge information or matter communicated in confidence by or on behalf of an authority of Norfolk Island, to the Government of the Commonwealth, to an authority of the Commonwealth or to a person receiving the communication on behalf of the Commonwealth or an authority of the Commonwealth; or


    (e) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)


    (f) would divulge information or matter communicated in confidence by or on behalf of the Government of a State or an authority of a State, to an authority of Norfolk Island or to a person receiving the communication on behalf of an authority of Norfolk Island.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47C   Public interest conditional exemptions - deliberative processes  

    General rule

    47C(1)  
    A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would disclose matter ( deliberative matter ) in the nature of, or relating to, opinion, advice orrecommendation obtained, prepared or recorded, or consultation or deliberation that has taken place, in the course of, or for the purposes of, the deliberative processes involved in the functions of:


    (a) an agency; or


    (b) a Minister; or


    (c) the Government of the Commonwealth.


    (d) (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)

    Exceptions

    47C(2)  
    Deliberative matter does not include either of the following:


    (a) operational information (see section 8A);


    (b) purely factual material.

    Note:

    An agency must publish its operational information (see section 8).

    47C(3)  
    This section does not apply to any of the following:


    (a) reports (including reports concerning the results of studies, surveys or tests) of scientific or technical experts, whether employed within an agency or not, including reports expressing the opinions of such experts on scientific or technical matters;


    (b) reports of a body or organisation, prescribed by the regulations, that is established within an agency;


    (c) the record of, or a formal statement of the reasons for, a final decision given in the exercise of a power or of an adjudicative function.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47D   47D   Public interest conditional exemptions - financial or property interests of the Commonwealth  


    A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would have a substantial adverse effect on the financial or property interests of the Commonwealth or of an agency.
    Note:

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

    SECTION 47E   47E   Public interest conditional exemptions - certain operations of agencies  


    A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or could reasonably be expected to, do any of the following:


    (a) prejudice the effectiveness of procedures or methods for the conduct of tests, examinations or audits by an agency;


    (b) prejudice the attainment of the objects of particular tests, examinations or audits conducted or to be conducted by an agency;


    (c) have a substantial adverse effect on the management or assessment of personnel by the Commonwealth or by an agency;


    (d) have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47F   Public interest conditional exemptions - personal privacy  

    General rule

    47F(1)  
    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).

    47F(2)  
    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.

    47F(3)  
    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

    47F(4)  
    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.

    47F(5)  
    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.

    47F(6)  
    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.

    47F(7)  
    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.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47G   Public interest conditional exemptions - business  

    47G(1)  
    A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would disclose information concerning a person in respect of his or her business or professional affairs or concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs or an organisation or undertaking, in a case in which the disclosure of the information:


    (a) would, or could reasonably be expected to, unreasonably affect that person adversely in respect of his or her lawful business or professional affairs or that organisation or undertaking in respect of its lawful business, commercial or financial affairs; or


    (b) could reasonably be expected to prejudice the future supply of information to the Commonwealth or an agency for the purpose of the administration of a law of the Commonwealth or of a Territory or the administration of matters administered by an agency.

    47G(2)  
    Subsection (1) does not apply to trade secrets or other information to which section 47 applies.

    47G(3)  
    Subsection (1) does not have effect in relation to a request by a person for access to a document:


    (a) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning that person in respect of his or her business or professional affairs; or


    (b) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an undertaking where the person making the request is the proprietor of the undertaking or a person acting on behalf of the proprietor; or


    (c) by reason only of the inclusion in the document of information concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an organisation where the person making the request is the organisation or a person acting on behalf of the organisation.

    47G(4)  


    A reference in this section to an undertaking includes a reference to an undertaking that is carried on by:


    (a) the Commonwealth or a State; or


    (b) an authority of the Commonwealth or of a State; or


    (c) a Norfolk Island authority; or


    (d) a local government authority.

    47G(5)  
    For the purposes of subsection (1), information is not taken to concern a person in respect of the person's professional affairs merely because it is information concerning the person's status as a member of a profession.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47H   47H   Public interest conditional exemptions - research  


    A document is conditionally exempt if:


    (a) it contains information relating to research that is being, or is to be, undertaken by an officer of an agency specified in Schedule 4; and


    (b) disclosure of the information before the completion of the research would be likely unreasonably to expose the agency or officer to disadvantage.

    Note:

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

    SECTION 47J   Public interest conditional exemptions - the economy  

    47J(1)  
    A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would, or could be reasonably expected to, have a substantial adverse effect on Australia's economy by:


    (a) influencing a decision or action of a person or entity; or


    (b) giving a person (or class of persons) an undue benefit or detriment, in relation to business carried on by the person (or class), by providing premature knowledge of proposed or possible action or inaction of a person or entity.

    Note:

    A person includes a body corporate and a body politic (see subsection 2C(1) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901). Examples of a body politic include the government of the Commonwealth, a State, a Territory or a foreign country.

    47J(2)  
    For the purposes of subsection (1), a substantial adverse effect on Australia's economy includes a substantial adverse effect on:


    (a) a particular sector of the economy; or


    (b) the economy of a particular region of Australia.

    47J(2A)  
    For the purposes of paragraph (2)(b), Norfolk Island is taken to be a region of Australia.

    47J(3)  
    The documents to which subsection (1) applies include, but are not limited to, documents containing matter relating to any of the following:


    (a) currency or exchange rates;


    (b) interest rates;


    (c) taxes, including duties of customs or of excise;


    (d) the regulation or supervision of banking, insurance and other financial institutions;


    (e) proposals for expenditure;


    (f) foreign investment in Australia;


    (g) borrowings by the Commonwealth, a State or an authority of the Commonwealth, of Norfolk Island or of a State.

    Note:

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

    PART V - AMENDMENT AND ANNOTATION OF PERSONAL RECORDS  

    SECTION 48   48   Application for amendment or annotation of personal records  
    Where a person claims that a document of an agency or an official document of a Minister to which access has been lawfully provided to the person, whether under this Act or otherwise, contains personal information about that person:


    (a) that is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and


    (b) that has been used, is being used or is available for use by the agency or Minister for an administrative purpose;

    the person may apply to the agency or Minister for:


    (c) an amendment; or


    (d) an annotation;

    of the record of that information kept by the agency or Minister.

    SECTION 49   49   Requirements of an application for amendment  
    An application for amendment must:


    (a) be in writing; and


    (b) as far as practicable, specify:


    (i) the document or official document containing the record of personal information that is claimed to require amendment; and

    (ii) the information that is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and

    (iii) whether the information is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and

    (iv) the applicant's reasons for so claiming; and

    (v) the amendment requested by the applicant; and


    (c) specify an address in Australia to which a notice under this Part may be sent to the applicant; and


    (d) be sent by post to the agency or Minister, or delivered to an officer of the agency or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the address of the office of the agency or Minister (as the case may be) determined in accordance with paragraph 15(2)(d).

    SECTION 50   Amendment of records  

    50(1)  
    Subject to section 51C, where the agency or Minister to whom such an application is made is satisfied that:


    (a) the record of personal information to which the request relates is contained in a document of the agency or an official document of the Minister, as the case may be; and


    (b) the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and


    (c) the information has been used, is being used or is available for use by the agency or Minister for an administrative purpose;

    the agency or Minister may amend the record of information.

    50(2)  
    The agency or Minister may make the amendment:


    (a) by altering the document or official document concerned to make the information complete, correct, up to date or not misleading; or


    (b) by adding to that document or official document a note:


    (i) specifying the respects in which the agency or Minister is satisfied that the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and

    (ii) in a case where the agency or Minister is satisfied that the information is out of date - setting out such information as is required to bring the information up to date.

    50(3)  
    To the extent that it is practicable to do so, the agency or Minister must, when making an amendment under paragraph (2)(a), ensure that the record of information is amended in a way that does not obliterate the text of the record as it existed prior to the amendment.

    SECTION 51   Annotations of records etc following unsuccessful applications for amendments of records  

    51(1)  
    Where an agency or Minister decides not to amend a document or official documents wholly or partly in accordance with an application under section 48, the agency or Minister must:


    (a) take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to enable the applicant to provide a statement of the kind mentioned in paragraph 51A(c); and


    (b) subject to subsection (2), annotate the document or official document concerned by adding to it the statement so provided.

    51(2)  
    Paragraph (1) (b) does not apply if the agency or Minister considers the statement to be irrelevant, defamatory or unnecessarily voluminous.

    51(3)  
    For the purposes of this Act, the provision by the applicant of a statement under subsection (1) is taken to be an application made under section 51A on the day the statement is so provided.



    SECTION 51A   51A   Requirements of an application for annotation  
    An application for annotation must:


    (a) be in writing; and


    (b) as far as practicable, specify the document or official document containing the record of personal information that is claimed to require annotation; and


    (c) be accompanied by a statement by the applicant that specifies:


    (i) the information that is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and

    (ii) whether the information is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading; and

    (iii) the applicant's reasons for so claiming; and

    (iv) such other information as would make the information complete, correct, up to date or not misleading; and


    (d) specify an address in Australia to which a notice under this Part may be sent to the applicant; and


    (e) be sent by post to the agency or Minister, or delivered to an officer of the agency or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the address of the office of the agency or Minister (as the case may be) determined in accordance with paragraph 15(2)(d).

    SECTION 51B   Annotation of records  

    51B(1)  
    Subject to section 51C, where the agency or Minister to whom such an application is made is satisfied that the record of personal information to which the request relates is contained in a document of the agency or an official document of the Minister (as the case may be), the agency or Minister must annotate the document or official document by adding to it the statement provided by the applicant under paragraph 51A(c).

    51B(2)  
    Subsection (1) does not apply if the agency or Minister considers the statement to be irrelevant, defamatory or unnecessarily voluminous.

    SECTION 51C   Transfer of requests  

    51C(1)  
    Where an application is made under section 48 to an agency or a Minister and:


    (a) the document containing the record of personal information to which the request relates is not in the possession of that agency or Minister, but is, to the knowledge of the agency or Minister, in the possession of another agency or Minister; or


    (b) the subject matter of that document is more closely connected with the functions of another agency or Minister than with those of the agency or Minister to whom the application is made;

    the agency or Minister to whom the application is made may, with the agreement of the other agency or Minister, transfer the application to the other agency or Minister.

    51C(2)  


    Where an application is made under section 48 to an agency or Minister and the document containing the record of personal information to which the application relates:


    (a) originated with, or has been received from, a body or person specified in Part I of Schedule 2; and


    (b) is more closely connected with the functions of that body or person than with those of the agency or Minister to whom the application is made;

    the agency or Minister to whom the application is made must transfer the application:


    (c) to the Department corresponding to the Department of State administered by the Minister who administers the enactment by or under which the body or person is established, continued in existence or appointed; or


    (d) if the application relates to a document that originated with, or has been received from, a part of the Department of Defence specified in Division 2 of Part I of Schedule 2 - to that Department.

    51C(3)  
    Where an application is made under section 48 to an agency or a Minister and the document containing the record of personal information to which the application relates:


    (a) originated in, or has been received from, another agency, being an agency specified in Part II of Schedule 2 or an agency that is a body corporate established by or under an Act specified in Part III of Schedule 2; and


    (b) is more closely connected with the functions of the other agency in relation to documents in respect of which the other agency is exempt from the operation of this Act than with the functions of the agency or Minister to whom the application is made;

    the agency or Minister to whom the application is made must transfer the application to the other agency.

    51C(4)  
    Where:


    (a) an application made under section 48 to an agency or a Minister concerns records of personal information contained in more than one document; and


    (b) one or more of those documents is a document to which subsection (1), (2) or (3) applies;

    this section applies to each of those documents as if separate applications had been made to the agency or Minister in respect of records of personal information contained in each of those documents.

    51C(5)  
    Where an application is transferred to an agency or Minister under this section, the agency or Minister making the transfer must:


    (a) inform the person making the application of the transfer; and


    (b) if it is necessary to do so in order to enable the other agency or Minister to deal with the application, send the document concerned to the other agency or Minister.

    51C(6)  
    Where an application is transferred to an agency or a Minister under this section, the application is to be taken to be an application:


    (a) made to that agency or Minister under section 48; and


    (b) received by the agency or Minister at the time at which it was first received by an agency or Minister.

    51C(7)  
    Where:


    (a) an application has been transferred to an agency or Minister in accordance with this section; and


    (b) the agency or Minister to whom the application has been transferred decides to amend or annotate, under this Part, a record of personal information to which the application relates;

    the agency or Minister must, by written notice, notify the agency or Minister who made the transfer:


    (c) of that decision; and


    (d) of any amendment or annotation made by the first-mentioned agency or Minister in relation to that record.

    51C(8)  
    Where the agency or Minister receiving a notice under subsection (7) is in possession of a document containing the record of personal information to which the application relates, the agency or Minister must, upon receiving the notice, amend or annotate the record in the same manner as the record was amended or annotated by the agency or Minister to whom the application was transferred.

    SECTION 51D   Notification etc. of a decision under this Part  

    51D(1)  
    Where an application is made to an agency or Minister under this Part, the agency or Minister must take all reasonable steps to enable the applicant to be notified of a decision on the application as soon as practicable but in any case not later than 30 days after the day on which the request is received by or on behalf of the agency or Minister.

    51D(2)  
    Section 23 applies in relation to a decision on an application made under section 48.

    51D(3)  
    Section 26 applies in relation to a decision made under this Part refusing to amend or annotate a record as if that decision were a decision made under Part III refusing to grant access to a document in accordance with a request made under subsection 15(1).

    SECTION 51DA   Decision not made on request for amendment or annotation within time - deemed refusal  

    51DA(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) an application has been made to an agency or Minister under section 48; and


    (b) the period of 30 days mentioned in section 51D (the initial decision period ) has ended since the day the application was received by, or on behalf of, the agency or Minister; and


    (c) notice of a decision on the application has not been received by the applicant. Deemed refusal

    51DA(2)  
    Subject to this section:


    (a) the principal officer of the agency or the Minister is taken to have made a decision personally refusing to amend or annotate the record of personal information to which the application relates on the last day of the initial decision period; and


    (b) notice of the decision is taken to have been given under section 26 to the applicant on the same day. Agency or Minister may apply for further time

    51DA(3)  
    However, the agency or Minister concerned may apply, in writing, to the Information Commissioner for further time to deal with the application.

    51DA(4)  
    The Information Commissioner may allow further time considered appropriate by the Information Commissioner for the agency or Minister to deal with the application.

    51DA(5)  
    If the Information Commissioner allows further time, the Information Commissioner may impose any condition that he or she considers appropriate.

    51DA(6)  
    Subjection (2) (deemed refusal) does not apply, and is taken never to have applied, if the agency or Minister:


    (a) makes a decision on the application within the further time allowed; and


    (b) complies with any condition imposed under subsection (5).

    51DA(7)  
    However, subsection (2) (deemed refusal) applies as if the initial decision period were extended by the time allowed by the Information Commissioner under subsection (4) if the agency or Minister:


    (a) does not make a decision on the request within the further time allowed; or


    (b) does not comply with any condition imposed under subsection (5). No further time allowed

    51DA(8)  
    If subsection (7) (deemed refusal after allowance of further time) applies, the Information Commissioner does not have the power to allow further time under this section in relation to the decision taken to be made under subsection (2) in its operation as affected by subsection (7).

    SECTION 51E   Comments on annotations  
    Nothing in this Part prevents an agency or Minister adding the agency's or Minister's comments to an annotation made to a record of information under section 51 or 51B.

    PART VI - INTERNAL REVIEW OF DECISIONS  

    SECTION 52   52   Internal review of decisions - guide  


    This Part provides for internal review of decisions by agencies, other than decisions made personally by the principal officer of an agency or the responsible Minister. Agencies are required to complete internal reviews within 30 days. However, this period may be extended.

    Sections 53A, 53B and 53C define the terms access refusal decision , access grant decision and affected third party . These terms are used in this Part and in Parts VII and VIIA.

    SECTION 53   53   Interpretation  


    For the purposes of this Act, unless the contrary intention appears, a claim that a document would, if it exists, be an exempt document under section 33 or 34 is to be deemed to be a claim that the document is an exempt document under that section despite the fact that the existence or non-existence of the document is not acknowledged.

    SECTION 53A   53A   What is an access refusal decision ?  


    An access refusal decision is any of the following decisions:


    (a) a decision refusing to give access to a document in accordance with a request;


    (b) a decision giving access to a document but not giving, in accordance with the request, access to all documents to which the request relates;


    (c) a decision purporting to give, in accordance with a request, access to all documents to which the request relates, but not actually giving that access;


    (d) a decision to defer the provision of access to a document (other than a document covered by paragraph 21(1)(d) (Parliament should be informed of contents));


    (e) a decision under section 29 relating to imposition of a charge or the amount of a charge;


    (f) a decision to give access to a document to a qualified person under subsection 47F(5);


    (g) a decision refusing to amend a record of personal information in accordance with an application made under section 48;


    (h) a decision refusing to annotate a record of personal information in accordance with an application made under section 48.

    Note:

    If a decision is not made on a request under section 15 within the time required by that section, a decision is taken to have been made to refuse to give access to a document in accordance with the request (see section 15AC).

    SECTION 53B   What is an access grant decision ?  

    53B(1)  


    An access grant decision is a decision covered by the following table:
    Note:

    The table covers documents that may be conditionally exempt under section 47B (items 1 and 1A), 47G (item 2) or 47F (items 3 and 4). Access must generally be given to a conditionally exempt document unless it would be contrary to the public interest (see section 11A).


    Access grant decisions
    Item If, in relation to a request for access to a document ... the access grant decision is ...
    1 consultation with a State under section 26A (documents affecting Commonwealth-State relations etc.) is required a decision of an agency or Minister to give the applicant access to the document (or an edited copy of the document) because:
    (a) the document is not conditionally exempt under section 47B (Commonwealth-State relations etc.); or
    (b) access to the document would not, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).
    1A (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)
    2 section 27 (business documents) applies in relation to business information in the document a decision of an agency or Minister to give access to the document (or an edited copy of the document) because:
    (a) the document is neither exempt under section 47, nor conditionally exempt under section 47G; or
    (b) if the document is conditionally exempt under section 47G - access to the document would not, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).
    Note: Section 47 deals with documents disclosing trade secrets or commercially valuable information. Section 47G deals with other business documents.
    3 section 27A (documents affecting personal privacy) applies in relation to personal information in the document about a living person a decision of an agency or Minister to give the applicant access to the document (or an edited copy of the document) because:
    (a) the document is not conditionally exempt under section 47F (personal privacy); or
    (b) access to the document would not, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).
    4 section 27A (documents affecting personal privacy) applies in relation to personal information in the document about a deceased person a decision of an agency or Minister to give the applicant access to the document (or an edited copy of the document) because:
    (a) the document is not conditionally exempt under section 47F (personal privacy); or
    (b) access to the document would not, on balance, be contrary to the public interest for the purposes of subsection 11A(5).

    53B(2)  
    For the purposes of table item 1, State has the same meaning as in section 26A.

    SECTION 53C   Internal review - who is an affected third party ?  

    53C(1)  


    The following table has effect:


    Who is an affected third party ?
    Item If, in relation to a request for access to a document ... the affected third party for the document is ...
    1 consultation with a State under section 26A (documents affecting Commonwealth-State relations etc.) is required the State.
    1A (Repealed by No 59 of 2015)
    2 section 27 (business documents) applies in relation to business information in the document the person or organisation concerned (within the meaning of section 27).
    3 section 27A (documents affecting personal privacy) applies in relation to personal information in the document about a living person the person.
    4 section 27A (documents affecting personal privacy) applies in relation to personal information in the document about a deceased person the legal personal representative of the deceased person.

    53C(2)  
    For the purposes of table item 1, State has the same meaning as in section 26A.

    SECTION 54   Internal review - access refusal decision  

    54(1)  
    This section applies if an access refusal decision is made in relation to a request to an agency for access to a document, other than a decision made personally by the principal officer of the agency or the responsible Minister.

    54(2)  
    The applicant in relation to the request may apply under this Part for the review (the internal review ) of the access refusal decision.

    SECTION 54A   Internal review - access grant decision  

    54A(1)  
    This section applies if an access grant decision is made in relation to a request to an agency for access to a document, other than a decision made personally by the principal officer of the agency or the responsible Minister.

    54A(2)  
    The affected third party for the document may apply under this Part for the review (the internal review ) of the access grant decision.

    Note:

    For affected third party , see section 53C.

    SECTION 54B   Internal review - application for review  

    54B(1)  
    An application for internal review must be in writing and must be made:


    (a) within 30 days, or such further period as the agency allows, after the day the decision is notified to the applicant for internal review (the internal review applicant ); or


    (b) in the case of an access refusal decision of a kind mentioned in paragraph 53A(b), (c) or (f), within whichever of the following is the longer period:


    (i) 30 days, or such further period as the agency allows, after the day the decision is notified to the internal review applicant;

    (ii) 15 days after the day the access referred to in that paragraph was given (or purported to be given).

    54B(2)  
    A decision by an agency to allow a further period for making an application may be made whether or not the time for making such an application has already expired.

    54B(3)  
    The agency's power to allow a further period for making an application may be exercised by an officer of the agency who is:


    (a) acting within the scope of authority exercisable by him or her; and


    (b) acting in accordance with arrangements approved by the responsible Minister or principal officer of the agency.

    SECTION 54C   Internal review - decision on internal review  

    Scope

    54C(1)  
    This section applies if an application for internal review of an access refusal decision or an access grant decision (the original decision ) is made in accordance with this Part. Decision

    54C(2)  
    The agency must, as soon as practicable, arrange for a person (other than the person who made the original decision) to review the decision.

    54C(3)  
    The person must make a fresh decision on behalf of the agency within 30 days after the day on which the application was received by, or on behalf of, the agency. Notice of decision

    54C(4)  
    Section 26 extends to a decision made under this section.

    SECTION 54D   Internal review - deemed affirmation of original decision  

    54D(1)  
    This section applies if:


    (a) an application for internal review has been made to an agency; and


    (b) the period (the initial decision period ) of 30 days (as mentioned in subsection 54C(3)) has ended since the day the application for internal review was received by the agency; and


    (c) notice of a decision on the application has not been received by the internal review applicant.

    54D(2)  
    Subject to this section:


    (a) the principal officer of the agency is taken to have made a decision personally affirming the original decision on the last day of the initial decision period; and


    (b) notice of the decision is taken to have been given under section 26 to the internal review applicant on the same day. Agency may apply for further time

    54D(3)  
    However, the agency may apply, in writing, to the Information Commissioner for further time to deal with the application.

    54D(4)  
    The Information Commissioner may allow further time considered appropriate by the Information Commissioner for the agency to deal with the application.

    54D(5)  
    If the Information Commissioner allows further time the Information Commissioner may impose any condition that he or she considers appropriate.

    54D(6)  
    Subsection (2) (deemed affirmation) does not apply, and is taken never to have applied, if the agency:


    (a) makes a decision on the application within the further time allowed; and


    (b) complies with any condition imposed under subsection (5).

    54D(7)  
    However, subsection (2) (deemed affirmation) applies as if the initial decision period were extended by the time allowed by the Information Commissioner under subsection (4) if the agency:


    (a) does not make a decision on the request within the further time allowed; or


    (b) does not comply with any condition imposed under subsection (5). No further time allowed

    54D(8)  
    If subsection (7) (deemed affirmation after allowance of further time) applies, the Information Commissioner does not have the power to allow further time under this section in relation to the decision taken to be made under subsection (2) in its operation as affected by subsection (7).

    SECTION 54E   54E   Internal review - decisions to which this Part does not apply  


    This Part does not apply in relation to:


    (a) a decision on internal review; or


    (b) a decision in relation to the provision of access to a document upon a request that is taken to have been made under section 15AC or 51DA.

    PART VII - REVIEW BY INFORMATION COMMISSIONER  

    Division 1 - Guide to this Part  

    SECTION 54F   54F   Review by the Information Commissioner - guide  


    This Part sets up a system for review of decisions by the Information Commissioner.

    Division 2 sets out the key concepts for the Part.

    Division 3 sets out the types of decisions that are reviewable.

    Division 4 provides for the making of applications for review by the Information Commissioner, including the time limits within which applications must be made.

    The Information Commissioner may make preliminary inquiries before deciding whether or not to conduct a review. In certain circumstances, the Information Commissioner may decide not to review a decision (or a part of a decision) (see Division 5).

    Division 6 provides for the procedure in an IC review, including the parties to the proceeding, circumstances in which a hearing may be held and who bears the onus of proof.

    The Information Commissioner may refer questions of law to the Federal Court of Australia at any time during the review.

    The Information Commissioner must make a decision on the review in accordance with Division 7.

    The Information Commissioner has powers to gather information for the purposes of an IC review (see Division 8).

    In certain circumstances, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security must be called to give evidence (see Division 9).

    An application for review of a decision of the Information Commissioner may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. A review party may appeal to the Federal Court of Australia, on a question of law, from a decision of the Information Commissioner (see Division 10).

    Division 2 - Key concepts  

    SECTION 54G   54G   Key concepts - what is an IC review ?  


    An IC review is a review of an IC reviewable decision undertaken by the Information Commissioner under this Part.
    Note:

    IC review is short for Information Commissioner review.

    SECTION 54H   54H   Key concepts - what is an IC review application ?  


    An IC review application is an application made under Division 4 for the review of an IC reviewable decision.
    Note:

    IC review application is short for Information Commissioner review application.

    SECTION 54J   54J   Key concepts - who is an IC review applicant ?  


    An IC review applicant is a person who applies for an IC review under section 54L or 54M.
    Note:

    IC review applicant is short for Information Commissioner review applicant.

    SECTION 54K   54K   Key concepts - what is an IC reviewable decision ?  


    An IC reviewable decision is:


    (a) a decision covered by subsection 54L(2) (access refusal decisions); or


    (b) a decision covered by subsection 54M(2) (access grant decisions).

    Note:

    IC reviewable decision is short for Information Commissioner reviewable decision.

    Division 3 - IC reviewable decisions