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Freedom of information

Freedom of information laws allow access by the general public to data held by national governments.

​Review of decisions

Internal review

The FOI Act gives you the right to seek an internal review of the decision refusing to grant, or a decision granting partial access to documents in accordance with your request.

The internal review will be conducted by a senior officer who had no involvement in the initial decision.

No particular form is required for the request for internal review, but it would help the decision-maker if you included in your application the ground on which you consider the decision should be reviewed.

You can also seek internal review or review by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) of the decision to impose a charge.

Applications for internal review should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Section
Department of Home Affairs
PO Box 25
Belconnen ACT 2616
Australia

Email: foi@homeaffairs.gov.au

Information Commissioner

An application can be made to the Information Commissioner for a review of the following decisions:

  • a decision to refuse access to a document
  • a decision made by us on internal review to refuse access to a document
  • a decision to refuse a further period for making an application for internal review of a decision to refuse access to a document.

You have 60 days following the date of a decision to lodge a review with the Information Commissioner. You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner if you have not been notified of the decision on your request for access, or of the decision on your request for review, within the required time. An application to the Information Commissioner must be in writing and must give details of how notices might be sent to you (for example, by providing an electronic address to which notices could be sent by electronic communication) and include a copy of the decision given by us.

Your application could contain particulars of the basis on which the review is sought.

The application for a review by the Information Commissioner must be sent to the Information Commissioner. Details of how to request a review can be found on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

How to make a complaint

You can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner if you have concerns about how we have handled your request under the FOI Act. Information about how to submit a complaint is available on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) Review

If you are still dissatisfied after a review by the Information Commissioner, you can appeal to the AAT.  Appeals to the AAT must be lodged in writing within 28 days of being notified of the Information Commissioner's review decision.

Appeals must be accompanied by payment of a lodgment fee. That fee might be refunded to you in certain circumstances.