Last updated 23 January 2017. This chapter is currently under review.

click to download a pdf of this chapterAccess to Information Legislation
Right to Access Government Documents
Requesting Access to Government Documents
Fees and Charges for Access to Information
How an Agency Deals With an Access to Information Request
Freedom of Information and Right to Information – Documents that Will not be Released
Appeals against Right to Information or Freedom of Information Decisions
Amendment of Personal Information
Complaints about Handling Freedom of Information or Right to Information Requests

Access to information law provides members of the public with access to documents held by government agencies. Access to information legislation only applies to government ministers and agencies (i.e. government departments, statutory bodies and other public sector agencies). It does not apply to private sector bodies such as private hospitals or clinics, insurance companies and other private businesses. Also, some government bodies, especially security organisations, are not subject to access to information law.

In summary, access to information legislation:

  • creates a legally enforceable right of access to documents held by government agencies and ministers, subject to specified limitations and exemptions
  • establishes a system enabling individuals to request correction of their personal information in documents held by government agencies
  • imposes obligations on government agencies to publish and make available information about their functions, structure and processes.