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 2013

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). 

Note: From the recent Machinery of Government changes, access to documents relating to:

  • Aged Care can be sought from the Department of Social Services.  Advice on how to make an FOI request to the Department of Social Services can be found on the Department of Social Services website
  • Indigenous policies and programmes can be sought from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.  Advice on how to make an FOI request to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet can be found on the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website.
  • The majority of Indigenous health services can be sought from this Department
  • Sport policy and programmes can be sought from this 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 529 KB)

application form (PDF 328 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

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

icon for FOI Disclosure Log link

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.

Document help

When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:

  1. Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
  2. Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
  3. Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file

Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking) may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is opening and/or lead to system problems.

To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.