Individuals have the right to request access to documents from Australian Government ministers and most agencies under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
The FOI Act was reformed in 2010. These reforms placed new pro-disclosure requirements on agencies and ministers and provided greater review and complaint rights for individuals.
Access to documents
Individuals can request access to documents containing their personal information or other information from Ministers and most agencies. Agencies and ministers must also publish a disclosure log of information released in response to freedom of information (FOI) requests.
The Information Publication Scheme
The FOI Act includes an Information Publication Scheme (IPS) that requires agencies to publish specified categories of information online. They can also choose to publish other, additional information under the IPS.
Personal records amendment
Individuals have the right to request that agencies or ministers amend or annotate any personal records held about them.
Reviews and complaints
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) is responsible for reviewing decisions and investigating complaints about actions taken under the FOI Act.
There are currently two sets of FOI regulations that provide additional legal requirements about some points of detail under the FOI Act.