Last updated 1 September 2016

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personal affairs to lodge a request for amendment of the information on the basis that it is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading (pt 5 Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (Freedom of Information Act), ch 3 Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) (Information Privacy Act)).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).

Under the Freedom of Information Act, a request for amendment must be in writing, provide a return address and be sent to the agency possessing the document in question. The request must describe why it is alleged that the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading, and it must state the amendments the applicant wishes to make. No particular form of request is required under the Freedom of Information Act. Under the Information Privacy Act, a request for amendment must be made using the Information Privacy Personal Information Amendment Application form, available online from relevant Queensland government agencies and from the Queensland Government’s Right to Information website.

Agencies have time limits to make decisions on amendment applications. 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). 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).

When an application for amendment is refused, even 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.