Making a complaint

You can complain to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) about an agency’s actions under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), at any time. If your complaint relates to an FOI request, you can make the complaint at any stage of the request process.

Before complaining to the OAIC, you should raise your concerns directly with the agency you want to complain about. The Australian Information Commissioner (Information Commissioner) may decide not to investigate your complaint if you have not first raised it with the agency or given the agency a reasonable chance to respond.

You can complain to the Information Commissioner:

There is no fee for making a complaint.

Your complaint must identify the agency you are complaining about. You should also briefly identify the issues you are complaining about and the outcome you would like to see as a result.

For more information about making a complaint see FOI Fact Sheet 13 — How to make a complaint.

More information is also available about what happens to your complaint.

Your personal information

If you have any questions about the personal information we collect and how we will handle your information, please contact the OAIC or see our privacy policy available on our website.

Use and disclosure of your information

We will use the information you have provided to assess your complaint, conduct the investigation and conciliate. If the OAIC makes inquiries into or investigates your complaint, we will usually disclose the information you give us, including a copy of your complaint, to the agency you have complained about (the respondent). We may also disclose your information to others who have information relevant to your complaint, if necessary. If we think we may need to disclose your information to an overseas entity to handle your complaint, we will discuss this with you first.

In case of a challenge to a decision by the OAIC, we may need to disclose some information to a review body, for example a court or tribunal.

Collection of your information

We may need to collect further information from you in order to investigate your complaint. If you do not provide this information to the OAIC, it may affect how we handle your complaint. In some circumstances, it may mean we decide not to investigate your complaint further.

We will usually collect information about you from the respondent. We may also collect information about you from others if they have information relevant to your complaint.

Accessing your information

If you would like to access to the information about you that the OAIC holds, please contact the enquiries line. More information is available on the Access our information page on our website.

Further information

If you wish to request a review, make an enquiry or make a privacy complaint, please use the forms available on our Contact us page.

If you are not satisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, please read our Internal complaint handling and review of decisions policy.

Guidance for agencies about complaints and investigations is available in the FOI guidelines and FOI resources sections of this site.

Protecting information rights — advancing information policy