You can request that the Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) review a decision of an agency or minister made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
Requesting a review
If you disagree with an FOI access decision, in most cases you can either first seek internal review by the agency or apply directly for Information Commissioner review (IC review). In cases where an agency head or minister has personally made an FOI access decision, only IC review is available.
What happens to your review
IC review provides a simple, practical and cost–efficient system for external merits review. Most matters will be reviewed on the basis of the submissions and papers provided by the parties, rather than formal hearings. Agencies and ministers must use their best endeavours to assist the Information Commissioner to make the correct and preferable decision.
Review officers will be helped in their early evaluation of the merits of the decision under review by considering the primary material and making preliminary inquiries of the agency or minister. An application may be resolved by agreement between the parties, but in other cases the Information Commissioner will issue a written determination affirming, varying or setting aside and substituting the access decision.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal appeal rights
Applicants who disagree with an IC review decision can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.