Last updated 20 April 2019

Access to information legislation allows people who have gained access to documents concerning their personal affairs to lodge a request for amendment of the information on the basis that it is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading (pt 5 Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (Freedom of Information Act), ch 3 Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) (Information Privacy Act)). Amendment rights apply only where the documents concern personal information about the applicant (s 48 Freedom of Information Act, s 43 Information Privacy Act).

Before making an application to amend personal information, the applicant should consider whether the amendment can be made informally. Generally, amendments to a person’s personal information, such as updated contact details, can be made by directly contacting the relevant agency. This option will be timelier and does not require the person to obtain the document before seeking an amendment or to meet certain requirements for a valid request.

Commonwealth records

There is no particular form for the request to amend Commonwealth records, but there are requirements of the application (s 49 Freedom of Information Act).

Time limits

The Freedom of Information Act requires that a decision should be provided as soon as practicable but not later than 30 days after the request is received (s 51D Freedom of Information Act).

Refusal of application

When an application for amendment is refused, and after all review and appeal mechanisms have been exhausted, the applicant may apply for the record to be annotated so that this information accompanies the document whenever it is consulted by an agency.

The government agency or minister will make an annotation to the document if the application to amend personal information is unsuccessful (s 51 Freedom of Information Act). The statements from the application will be added to the document. However, the agency or minister may decide not to make the annotation if it would be irrelevant or defamatory.

Queensland records

To amend personal information within Queensland records under ss 41 and 42 of the Information Privacy Act, there is a separate Information Privacy Personal Information Amendment application form. The form can be found on the Queensland Government’s Right to Information and Information Privacy website. In completing the form, the applicant must supply their name and contact details, identify the document and the government agency that the request relates to, explain why the personal information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading and provide evidence of identity.

Time limits

The Information Privacy Act requires that the request be processed within 25 business days of it being received (s 22 Information Privacy Act). However, there are circumstances that will give rise to the processing period being extended, and there is provision for the agency to seek an extension of time to process the request (ss 22(2), 55 Information Privacy Act).

Refusal of application

There are no provisions within Queensland legislation that allow for annotations to be made to documents relating to personal information.