On 1 July 2010 the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989. The GIPA Act requires government agencies to make certain government information publicly available such as policy documents and an Agency Information Guide. This information is called “Open Access Information”. Agencies are required to release as much information as possible and restricting access to information only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. A member of the public has a legal enforceable right to access government information which was formerly known as Freedom of Information.
The Department of Family and Community Services is committed to ensuring a persons right to access information is in accordance with the requirements prescribed in the GIPA Act 2009.
If you would like to access or obtain information you may do so by lodging a Formal Request for information or informally. To obtain further information on this process please visit the FACS website.
The right to information regime is governed by the Information Commissioner from the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC).
The role of the Information Commissioner includes but is not limited to:
- Investigating agencies’ systems and best practices
- Promoting public awareness of the GIPA Act
- Compliance reporting in accordance with the Act to the Minister
- Has broad powers to investigate complaints and conduct reviews
- Has the power to propose legislative or administrative change
Further information can be obtained at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) does not detract from other rights of access to information that is available under other legislation, in fact it complements other regimes.
Other legislation that maybe relevant includes:
The Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act 1998, allows a person to gain access to information held about them and the amendment of that information by government agencies. Further information may be obtained from the Privacy Commissioner at www.ipc.nsw.gov.au