The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives members of the public rights of access to documents held by the Commonwealth Government and its agencies, limited only by specific exemptions and exceptions set out in the FOI Act.
Information Publication Scheme (IPS)
Under Part 2 of the FOI Act, agencies subject to the FOI Act must implement an information publication scheme (IPS) from 1 May 2011. The ACMA is an agency subject to the FOI Act.
Section 8(1) of the FOI Act requires the ACMA to publish an agency plan which outlines how the agency will implement the IPS.
The ACMA’s Agency Plan can be accessed on the ACMA website.
From 1 May 2011, the ACMA must publish information that has been released in response to each freedom of information (FOI) access request, subject to certain exceptions. This information must be published within ten working days of releasing the information to the FOI applicant.
The Disclosure Log can be accessed on the ACMA website.
How to make a request under the FOI Act
What your request must include
If you wish to make a request under the FOI Act for access to one or more documents held by the ACMA (including documents previously held by the former Australian Broadcasting Authority and Australian Communications Authority), your request must:
- be in writing (there is no special form);
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act;
- provide sufficient information about each document you are seeking as is reasonably necessary to enable the ACMA to identify it; and
- give details of how notices under the FOI Act may be sent to you, such as a postal address, an email address or a fax number.
There is no prescribed application fee payable when you make a request under the FOI Act.
Third Party Requests
If you ask a third party to make an FOI request on your behalf, you need to provide written authority to send copies of documents to you, care of that person, or to allow that person to inspect copies of documents that may contain information about you. If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, you need to provide written authority from that person to act on their behalf.
Manner of making requests
Your request must be sent to the ACMA. The request may be sent in any of the following ways:
- you may deliver it or post it by pre-paid post to the ACMA (marked to the attention of the FOI Coordinator) at an address set out below; or
- by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the ACMA’s FOI Coordinator is currently located in the Melbourne office your request, if sent by pre-paid post, may be addressed to that office.
Level 5 The Bay Centre,
65 Pirrama Road,
Pyrmont NSW 2009
Purple Building, Benjamin Offices,
Belconnen ACT 2617
Melbourne Central Tower,
360 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
PO Box Q500,
Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230
PO Box 78,
Belconnen ACT 2616
PO Box 13112
Law Courts, Melbourne VIC 8010
Time for processing your request
The ACMA must notify you of its decision on access within a 30-day period commencing after the day on which your request is received, unless that period is extended or suspended in accordance with the FOI Act.
Charges for processing your request
Charges may be imposed for the processing of your request, e.g. for the time spent in searching for and retrieving documents, decision-making time, photocopying and postage.
There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:
|Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document||$15.00 per hour|
|Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions||
First five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour
|Photocopy||$0.10 per page|
|Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request||Actual Cost of postage or delivery|
If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.
You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
Access to documents
As noted above, access to a document may be refused if the document falls within a specific exemption or an exception set out in the FOI Act. For example, a person is not entitled to obtain access to documents under the FOI Act if their disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a possible breach of the law, or would found an action by someone (other than the Commonwealth Government or any of its agencies) for breach of confidence. A person is also not entitled to obtain access to documents under the FOI Act if they are available to the public for a fee or other charge or if they are in the collection of certain institutions, such as library material maintained by the National Library of Australia.
If you disagree with our decision
You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner Review and Complaints
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner (the AIC) to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The AIC can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the AIC who may investigate our actions.
More information on making applications for AIC review, or lodging complaints, is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website at: www.oaic.gov.au.
Any enquiries about making a request, or the processing of a request, under the FOI Act should be directed to the FOI Coordinator by telephone on (03) 9963 6800 or by email at email@example.com.