Freedom of Information (FOI)

This page provides information about the FOI Act, how to make an FOI request, charges, and contacts for further information.

Page last updated: 20 December 2018

This page provides information about:
How to make an FOI request
FOI charges
Health’s FOI disclosure log
Health’s publications scheme
FOI contact details.

Purpose of Freedom of Information (FOI)

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 , (“the FOI Act”) is to give members of the public rights of access to information held by the Government of the Commonwealth and of its agencies. Under the FOI Act, members of the public can seek access to documents held by the Department of Health (the Department). 

Making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

Requests to access documents from the Department must:

  • be made in writing;
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act;
  • provide enough information to clearly identify the documents sought.
To make an FOI request, download and complete the request for access to documents under Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth)

application form (Word 513 KB)
application form (PDF 887 KB)

FOI requests should be sent to:
By post:
Freedom of Information Coordinator
FOI Unit
Department of Health
GPO Box 9848
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Or

 requests may also be lodged by e-mail: foi@health.gov.au

Please Note:
Under its Enterprise Agreement, the Department of Health is on Christmas shutdown between 25 December 2018 to 1 January 2019 (inclusive) – eight days.

Any FOI requests received by the FOI inbox during this period will not be actioned until staff return to work on Wednesday 2 January 2019. FOI processing deadlines remain the same for FOI requests received during the shutdown period. To assist in processing your application, please submit your application on or after 2 January 2019. If you submit an FOI request during the shutdown period, we will take it that you agree to extending the FOI decision deadline to reflect the impact of the Christmas shutdown period on FOI processing, unless you indicate otherwise in your FOI request.

We thank you for your understanding over the festive period.

Charges

There is no fee for making an FOI request.  The FOI Act provides that charges may be imposed for processing requests (except where you are seeking documents containing your own personal information).  Should your FOI request incur any charges, you will be provided with an estimate of the applicable charges.  Your request will not proceed until a response to the estimate is received by the Department.

Health may decide to remit, reduce or not impose processing charges under certain circumstances. 

Freedom of Information Disclosure Logs

The Department of Health is required by s 11C of the FOI Act to disclose access decisions through a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log provides access to information which has been released in response to an FOI request.

The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:

    • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
    • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
    • other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
    • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.
The information that is described in this disclosure log is information that has been released by Health under the FOI Act 1982 and is available for public access.

Information Publication Scheme (IPS)

icon for Information Publication Scheme link

The 2010-11 reforms to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) have established the OAIC Information Publication Scheme (IPS) for relevant Australian Government agencies.

The IPS requires agencies to publish a broad range of information on their websites, and to make it available for downloading where possible.  The IPS enhances the amount of government information that is available to the public and underpins a pro-disclosure culture across government.  As part of this, agencies are also required to publish an Agency Plan to explain how they intend to implement the IPS.

Contacts and further information

If you would like further information about making a Freedom of Information request, please contact the FOI Unit on +61 2 6289 1666 or by email:foi@health.gov.au

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website provides useful information about the FOI process, publications and resources.