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Q1. What does an agency do if someone wants access to my records through GIPA?
The agency should consult you and give you the opportunity to object to the release. You will be required to prove the release of information relating to your personal information should be refused on the grounds there is an overriding public interest against the release. In general terms there is great weight given to the protection of personal information under the GIPA Act.
Q2. How much will it cost if I want to make an application?
Some agencies waive the fees. But approved GIPA application and processing fees (GST exempt) are:
Nature of application
Application Fee
Processing charge
Access to records - your own records
$30.00 per hour
after the first 20 hours*
Access to records - other people's or government records
$30.00 per hour
after the first hour*
Amendment of records - such requests must be made under the NSW Privacy Acts (see below)
Review of determination / conduct
GIPA - $40.00*
* A 50% reduction in fees may apply if you suffer financial hardship, are a non-profit organisation or apply for public interest reasons.
Q3. Will the agency release information about my business?
The agency may release information about your business in response to an access application; however, the decision will be subject to the public interest test.
If an access application covers your business information, the agency must consult you to see whether or not you object to the information being released. Your objection must relate to one or more of the five public interest considerations against disclosure set out in Section 14 of the Act.
If the agency decides that, on balance, there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, then it will not release the information.
Q4. What are the public interest grounds in favour of releasing information?
There is no limit to the matters agencies may take into account in favour of releasing information. Section 12 of the GIPA Act gives examples of public interest considerations in favour of the disclosure of information, namely, where the disclosure of the information:
could reasonably be expected to promote open discussion of public affairs,
- enhance Government accountability or contribute to positive and informed debate on issues of public importance;
- could reasonably be expected to inform the public about the operations of agencies and, in particular, their policies and practices for dealing with members of the public;
- could reasonably be expected to ensure effective oversight of the expenditure of public funds;
- disclosure of the information could reasonably be expected to reveal or substantiate that an agency (or a member of an agency) has engaged in misconduct or negligent, improper or unlawful conduct;
- relates to information which is personal information of the person to whom it is to be disclosed.
Q5. What are the public interests against releasing information?
The GIPA Act outlines categories of government information in respect of which it is to be conclusively presumed that there is an overriding public interest against the disclosure of that information. This means the information can be wihtheld without having to do a public interst test. These are outlined in Schedule 1.
Furthermore, under the GIPA Act, the only other considerations that may be taken into account as pubic interest considerations against disclosure are listed in the Table under section 14. They include the following categories:
- Responsible and effective government
- Law enforcement and security
- Individual rights, judicial processes and natural justice
- Business interests of agencies or other persons
- Environment, economy and general matters
- Secrecy provisions
- Exempt documents under interstate FOI legislation
Q6. What do I do if I do not agree with an agency's decision?
If you are a third party, you must lodge an Internal Review with the agency, if you want to appeal to the Information Commissioner. If you are still not satisfied you can then appeal to the NSW Information Commissioner (1800 472 679). Alternatively, you can appeal direct to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) (1300 006 228). There are no fees to appeal to the Information Commissioner, however, there are fees involved in an appeal to NCAT.
If you are an applicant you can lodge an Internal Review or proceed straight to the NSW Information Commissioner or the NCAT.
Q7. What can I do if I think my personal records held by the agency are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading?
You can contact the agency and request an amendment to records under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (or the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002 for health records). The matter will be investigated and you will be provided with a determination. If you are not satisfied, you can ask for a notation to be placed on the records setting out your views and/or you can appeal to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Amendment of records under the FOI Act ceased when the GIPA Act started and the Privacy Acts became the only method to use to challenge the accuracy of personal information held by NSW government agencies.
Q8. What are the protections for government agencies and their staff under the GIPA Act?
There are a range of protections under the GIPA Act:
- There is no action for defamation or breach of confidence against agency staff or the authors of documents released when a decision to disclose information is made in good faith.
- No criminal action will be taken when a decision is made or information disclosed in good faith.
- No action against an agency staff memebr for personal liability in relation to any action by an agency, or an officer of an agency, where the action was done in good faith for the purposes of executing the Act.
Q9. Where can I go if I have other questions about the GIPA Act or my rights?
You can contact Youngman Consultancy
You can contact an agency's GIPA (or Right To Know Officer) via email or telephone:
(, and scrolling down the page until you get to the "A-Z Filter List". In that area the state government agencies are listed. Councils are listed on the top right hand side as "Local Council Directory.
You can contact the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner:
- Telephone (freecall number): 1800 472 679
Youngman Consultancy | Expert advice in GIPA (FOI) and Privacy
Servicing all areas of NSW
Phone: 0425 372 262
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