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What sort of information does government hold?

Much of the information that government holds is personal information about individuals or businesses. Other government information relates more broadly to government policy and programs. Government agencies use the information for a range of purposes, including policy development, delivery of public programs, administration of benefits, financial expenditure, international relations and regulation of business.

For full details see FOI fact sheet 3: What information does the government hold?

Can I ask an agency or minister to compile information for me?

The right of access is to existing documents, rather than to information. The FOI Act does not require an agency or minister to create a new document in response to a request for access. The definition of ‘document' is broad and includes both paper based and electronic records.