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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) gives you the right to request access to certain documents held by our department.

Freedom of information disclosure log

We publish freedom of information (FOI) requests in our FOI disclosure log. FOI documents for the current year are available for download. Contact us for previous years’ documentation.

Publicly released information by year:

Document requests

To request documents under the Act you must:

  • submit a request in writing stating that you’re requesting information under the Act
  • provide enough detail so we can identify the right documents
  • provide a postal or email address so we can contact you regarding the outcome


The first five hours of decision making are free, but charges may apply to cover lengthier processing times. See the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 for a schedule of charges.

We will advise you of any charges, and wait for your confirmation before processing the request.

You do not have to pay if:

  • the requested documents contain only your personal information
  • we exceed the agreed processing times

Decision making process

We will confirm receipt of your request within 14 days, and a decision will usually happen within 30 days. This decision period can be extended under certain circumstances. For example, if we need to consult with third parties the period is extended by 30 days.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) explains processing times.

Reasons for refusal

We can refuse to provide access to documents, or parts of documents, if they are exempt under the Act. Some common reasons for exemption:

  • legislation prohibits the release of the documents
  • the documents contain an unreasonable disclosure of personal information
  • the documents are subject to legal professional privilege
  • the documents are internal working documents and not in the public’s interest
  • the documents are commercially sensitive

We always explain the reason for our decision. If you're unhappy with our decision there's an FOI review process.

Read more

Read about the FOI review process on the OAIC's website.

Contact us

  • Email
  • Phone +61 2 6102 8104
  • Write to: FOI Coordinator, Legal Branch, GPO Box 2013, Canberra ACT 2601

Last updated: 9 March 2021

Content ID: 12516