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Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 ARCHIVED

Archived Document — This document is no longer in use. Read the current FOI guidelines.

Version 1.1, June 2012

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was established on 1 November 2010 by the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

All OAIC publications can be made available in a range of accessible formats for people with disabilities. If you require assistance, please contact the OAIC.

Date of initial publication: December 2010; revised June 2012

Creative Commons

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, and to the extent that copyright subsists in a third party, this report, its logo and front page design are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

To the extent that copyright subsists in third party quotes and diagrams it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.

Content from these guidelines should be attributed as: Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, Guidelines issued by the Australian Informaiton Commissioner under s 93A of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Enquiries regarding the licence and use of the guidelines are welcome at:

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
GPO Box 2999
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 9284 9800
TTY: 1800 620 241 (no voice calls)
Email: enquiries@oaic.gov.au
Web: www.oaic.gov.au

PREFACE
The Australian Information Commissioner’s Guidelines

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) s 93A provides that the Australian Information Commissioner may issue written guidelines for the purposes of the FOI Act. Agencies must have regard to these guidelines in performing a function or exercising a power under the FOI Act (s 93A(2)). The guidelines are not a legislative instrument (s 93A(3)).

These Guidelines summarise the key provisions of the FOI Act and outline important amendments that were made to the FOI Act by the Freedom of Information Amendment (Reform) Act 2010. The Guidelines also contain guidance on the performance of functions and the exercise of powers under the FOI Act. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) will apply these Guidelines in discharging the functions conferred on the Commissioner by the FOI Act and the Australian Information Commissioner Act 2010.

These Guidelines will be updated from time to time to take account of the Information Commissioner’s decisions under s 55K of the FOI Act on access refusal and access grant decisions, and relevant decisions of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Court. It is open to a party to a review proceeding before the Commissioner to frame a submission that is in agreement or disagreement with a statement in these Guidelines, or that raises an issue not canvassed in the Guidelines. Independently of any review proceeding, the Information Commissioner also invites commentary on the Guidelines.

Prof. John McMillan
Australian Information Commissioner

Guidelines contents

  • Part 1 — Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act 1982
  • Part 2 — Scope of application of the Freedom of Information Act
  • Part 3 — Processing requests for access
  • Part 4 — Charges for providing access
  • Part 5 — Exemptions
  • Part 6 — Conditional exemptions
  • Part 7 — Amendment and annotation of personal records
  • Part 8 — Decisions on FOI requests
  • Part 9 — Internal review
  • Part 10 — Review by the Information Commissioner
  • Part 11 — Complaints and investigations
  • Part 12 — Vexatious applicant declarations
  • Part 13 — Information publication scheme
  • Part 14 — Disclosure log
  • Part 15 — Reporting
  • Glossary

A comprehensive contents page appears at the beginning of each Part of these guidelines.