Text alternative for 'How can I get information from a government agency?' flowchart
1. Check if the information is already publicly available. Check the agency's website or contact their Right to Information Officer.
2. Ask if the agency will release the information to you informally. Contact the agency's Right to Information Officer.
THEN, if the agency wont release the information to you informally:
3. Complete a formal application under the Government Information (Public Access) Act.
Making a formal application
The agency may have a specific form for you to fill in on their website. If so, complete the form.
- Put your request in writing, clearly detailing the information you want
- Say you are requesting it under the GIPA Act
- Include a postal address.
There is an application fee of $30. In limited circumstance an agency may waive or reduce this.
Your application should be processed within 20 working days. Extended by 10-15 days if the agency needs to consult with others or get archived material. There may be a processing fee - you will be told if there is.
You will be informed in writing of the agency's decision.
If you disagree with the agency's decision you can seek a review.
Reviewing an agency's decision:
If you are not happy with the decision or the agency hasn't made the decision in time, you have the right to a review. You have the option of applying to the agency for an internal review (Option 1), and/or applying to the Information Commissioner (Option 2a), and/or applying to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) (Option 2b). However, the Information Commissioner cannot review a decision made by NCAT.
If you wish to have more than one review option available, it is best to start with Option 1 or Option 2a. You need to wait to be informed of the outcome of one review before you can request a further review.
Option 1: Request an internal review.
This is when someone else in the agency assesses your application. This costs $40 (there is no cost if the agency did not make the original decision in time).
If you disagree with the outcome of the internal review you can seek an external review by either the Information Commissioner (Option 2a) or NCAT (Option 2b).
Option 2a: Request an external review by the Information Commissioner. A form for this is on our website. There is no cost.
NOTE: The Information Commissioner can make recommendations about the decision to the agency, however the Information Commissioner cannot force the agency to change its decision.
If you disagree with the agency's decision once they have considered the Information Commissioner's recommendations you can THEN:
Option 2b: Request an external review by NCAT.
NOTE: The information in this fact sheet is to be used as a guide only. Legal advice should be sought in relation to individual circumstances.