Under freedom of information (FOI) laws you have a right, with limited exceptions, to access documents held by the ACNC. An FOI request can take up to 30 days to process.
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) gives any person the right to:
- access copies of documents we hold (except exempt documents)
- ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
- seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.
You can ask to see any document that we hold. Your FOI request must be for access to documents, rather than information. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that the FOI Act says are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and other matters set out in the FOI Act.
Documents available outside the FOI Act
You can get certain information, including personal information we hold about you, without following the formal process under the FOI Act.
Contact the FOI Contact Officer on 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out whether the information you are looking for can be provided to you outside the FOI Act.
You should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI Disclosure Log to see if what you are looking for is already available.
How to make a freedom of information request
To make a freedom of information (FOI) request, you must:
- contact us in writing (email or post)
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
- provide information about the document(s) you are requesting to help us to process your application
- if asking for change or annotation of a document, provide us with information about the change or annotation you are requesting
- provide an address for us to reply to you.
You can send your request by by email to: email@example.com or post to:Freedom of Information Contact Officer
GPO Box 9990
If you require assistance with your request, contact the FOI Contact Officer on 13 ACNC (13 22 62) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fees and charges
There is no application fee for an FOI request. There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you.
However, processing charges may apply to other requests, in accordance with the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019.
The most common charges are outlined in the table below.
|Search and retrieval||Time we spend searching for or retrieving a document||$15.00 per hour|
|Decision making||Time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making decisions.||First five hours: Nil|
Subsequent hours: $20.00 per hour
|Transcript||Preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium||$4.40 per page of transcript|
|Photocopy||$0.10 per page|
|Inspection||Supervision by an agency of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises||$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)|
|Delivery||Posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request||Cost of postage or delivery|
If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20.00 and $100.00, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20.00, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100.00, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.
You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
What you can expect from us
If you submit a request, we will:
- tell you within 14 days that we have received it
- give you an estimate of the charges that apply
- give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended.
If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them. This means we may need more time to give you our decision. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.
If you disagree with our decision
When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.
You can ask for one of the following decisions to be reviewed:
- if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
- if we impose a charge
- if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.
You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision about your FOI request through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer at the ACNC. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner review
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can submit a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC's website. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.