Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provides the public a legal right to seek access to documents held by the Government.
Access to documents is limited only by exemptions that protect essential public interests and the private and business affairs of people about whom departments and statutory authorities hold information.
Members of the public seeking access to documents that may be held by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources should lodge a formal FOI request.
Documents available outside the FOI Act
Some information will be available to you outside the FOI Act, without following the formal process, for example personal information about you. If you are looking for specific information, you should check the information the department has published under the Information Publication Scheme, our Operational Information and our FOI Disclosure log to see if what you seek access to is already publicly available.
Make an FOI request to the department
For the department to process your request as quickly as possible, at the lowest possible cost, your request must:
- be made in writing
- state that you are seeking information in accordance with the FOI Act
- provide enough information for the department to clearly identify the scope of your request, the time periods your request falls under and the category of documents sought. i.e. reports, minutes, emails etc (further guidance is included in the FOI frequently asked questions page)
- specify an address (either email or physical) so the department can correspond with you about your request.
You may also wish to provide a phone number to make it easier for us to consult with you about your request.
FOI requests should be sent to:
Australian Government Department of Agriculture
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Or via email Freedom of Information request form
Make an FOI request to a minister
The Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and other portfolio ministers are separate entities to the department for the purposes of the FOI Act.
FOI requests for documents in the possession of a minister must be made by writing directly to the relevant minister.
Information about our portfolio ministers and links.
The department administers systems for ministerial correspondence and briefings. Requests for these types of documents should be directed to the department rather than ministers’ offices.
Time for processing a request to the department
We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We may also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended.
Material ordinarily considered outside the scope of a request
Unless you specifically request them, we will understand that your request does not include the following types of information:
- identifying information about individuals and businesses that helps to avoid third-party consultation (eg names, signatures, direct contact numbers, email addresses and personal addresses)
- duplicates of documents
- draft documents
- entire documents that are publicly available
- names, signatures and contact information of officers below SES level or equivalent. (SES means departmental officers in the Senior Executive Service at the level of branch head and above)
There is no application fee for any FOI request. There are no processing charges for requests for access, correction or amendment to documents containing your personal information only. It is the department’s policy to apply processing charges to other requests unless there is a reason not to. Where charges are applicable, we will notify you of the estimated charge, how it is calculated and options for payment or to contend charges should be waived or reduced. The most common charges are listed in the table below.
|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
|Transcript—preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium||$4.40 per page of transcript|
|Photocopy||$0.10 per page|
|Inspection—supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises||$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)|
|Delivery—posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request||Cost of postage or delivery|
If you contend charges should be waived or reduced, the department will consider your contention and provide you with a decision on the application of charges.
Payment of charges can be made through direct deposit, by credit card, or cheques or money orders made payable to the Collector of Public Money. These details will be provided to you with charges notices.
More information on making an FOI request and the FOI process within the department is available on the FOI frequently asked questions page.
Please contact the FOI Officer: Switchboard: +61 2 6272 3933 or email Freedom of Information for further information.