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What decisions can the Information Commissioner make under the Freedom of Information Act?

While the review process is designed to be informal, the Information Commissioner has the power to require anyone to produce information or documents, to compel anyone to attend to answer questions and to take an oath or affirmation that their answers will be true.

An agency or minister can also be ordered to undertake further searches for documents. For full details see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.

After reviewing a decision, the Information Commissioner must do one of three things:

  • set the decision aside and make a fresh decision
  • affirm the decision, or
  • vary the decision.

The Information Commissioner will give reasons for the decision. For full details see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.

If the Information Commissioner decides that I should get other documents or parts of documents, who will give them to me?

The Information Commissioner cannot give you any documents. If the Information Commissioner decides that more information must be disclosed, the agency or minister must comply with that decision and will give you the documents.

Will the decision be made public?

Yes. The Information Commissioner will publish decisions on the OAIC's website. The name of the review applicant will not be disclosed, unless that person requests otherwise or there is a special reason to publish it. For full details see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.

What can I do if I disagree with the Information Commissioner's review decision?

You can appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The Information Commissioner will not be a party to those proceedings. For more information see FOI fact sheet 12: Your review rights.

When can I apply to the AAT?

If you are not satisfied with a decision of the Information Commissioner you can apply for review at the AAT. The AAT can change the agency's or minister's decision. For more information visit the AAT website.

Is there a fee to apply to the AAT?

Yes, although this is subject to exceptions. For further information, see the AAT's page on fees.