Last updated 20 April 2019
Access to information legislation requires government agencies to publish and make publicly available certain information that explains the functions, structure and processes of the agency. This requirement is separate from an agency’s obligation to respond to a right-to-information request from a member of the public.
Commonwealth government agencies must publish information statements that set out an agency’s functions and the kinds of documents it has available (s 8 Freedom of Information Act). These statements must be updated annually. Queensland government agencies must adopt a publication scheme (s 21 Right to Information Act)
that sets out the kinds of information that an agency has available and how it is available (e.g. for inspection or for purchase either for a fee or free of charge).
Government agencies are also required to publish any policy documents they create. Policy documents may include manuals, interpretations, rules, guidelines, practices or precedents. For example, Centrelink makes available some manuals used by its officers when making a decision about a person’s eligibility for a pension or other entitlement. Members of the public have a right to inspect these documents at no charge, but obtaining a copy of these documents may involve a fee.