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What can I do if I disagree with the agency or minister's decision?

You can ask for the decision to be reviewed by the agency (this is called internal review) or by the Australian Information Commissioner. Generally it is better to apply for internal review first as this may give a more rapid resolution of your concerns. If you are still dissatisfied with the agency's decision after internal review you can apply for Information Commissioner review. See How do I apply for internal review?How do I apply for Information Commissioner review? and FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.

Is a review the same as a complaint?

No. The Information Commissioner also investigates complaints about agency actions under the FOI Act. Complaints are about how an agency handled an FOI request rather than the decision they came to. Sometimes a matter will be treated as a complaint when a review would not be practical or would not address your concerns (for example, if you were not consulted about a document that contains your personal information before it was released).

If you are complaining that an agency's decision is wrong, the Information Commissioner will treat it as an application for review.

For more information, see FOI fact sheet 13: How to make a complaint.

What decisions can I ask to be reviewed?

You can ask for review of:

  • decisions not allowing you access to documents you requested or in the form you want them
  • decisions imposing a charge and in respect to the amount of the charge imposed
  • decisions refusing to change or annotate documents about you which you think are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
  • decisions letting others see documents which you claim would unreasonably disclose your personal information; your business or professional affairs; or the business, commercial or financial affairs of your firm
  • decisions to give access to documents about your physical or mental health through a qualified person rather than directly to you.

For full details see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.