Last updated 20 April 2019

Before making a formal application to access or amend personal records, it is recommended that an informal approach by phone or email to the specific agency be made first. It is often through these informal means that personal information can be amended, without the need for a formal application.

Commonwealth records

The request for access to personal information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (Freedom of Information Act) must be in writing (s 49). It should also provide an email or physical address of the applicant for communications to be sent to. As far as practicable the request should specify:

  • the document or official document containing the record of personal information that is claimed to require amendment
  • the information that is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
  • whether the information is claimed to be incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
  • the applicant’s reasons for so claiming
  • the amendment requested by the applicant.

To assist people in making a valid request, most government agencies will provide a non-mandatory request form on their website. These forms may also be available in hard copy and can be obtained by contacting the specific government agency.

Queensland records

For Queensland records, a request for access to personal information must be made by filling out the Right to Information application form. The form can be found on the Queensland Government’s Right to Information website. The application must provide information about the document so that it can be identified and include an address to send communications to the applicant. Within 10 days of making the application for access to personal information, the applicant must provide evidence of their identity (s 24 Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (Right to Information Act)). Evidence of identity may include a passport, a birth certificate, a driver licence or a statutory declaration from a person who has known the applicant for more than one year (reg 3 Right to Information Regulation 2009 (Qld)).

Cost of application

There is no processing charge for access to personal information applications for either Queensland or Commonwealth-held personal records (s 59 Right to Information Act, reg 5 Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 (Cth)).