Freedom of information
The object of the ACT Freedom of Information Act 1989 (the FOI Act) is to extend, as far as possible, the ACT community's right of access to information in the possession of the ACT Government.
The FOI Act applies to documents held by the majority of ACT Government agencies. It also applies to documents held by Ministers that relate to the affairs of those agencies. An agency must make a decision about an FOI application within 30 days, but this period may be extended if consultations are required.
The FOI Act provides three forms of review for those people who have sought access to documents under the FOI Act, and are not satisfied with the response of an ACT Government department or authority to their request:
- internal review by the department or authority from which you sought the information
- a complaint to the Ombudsman's office about a decision, a delay in providing information, or any other aspect of the agency's handling of your FOI request
- an appeal to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) about an adverse internal review decision made by the agency
If you are dissatisfied with the agency's decision on your request, you should first ask for the decision to be internally reviewed. If you are not happy with the agency review, you can complain to the Ombudsman or the ACAT.
You can complain to the Ombudsman about delays in receiving a decision; denial of access to documents or the agency's response to your request.
The Ombudsman can examine an agency's files and other records. If the Ombudsman finds that your complaint is justified he or she can recommend that the agency releases information, or in the case of delays, that the agency immediately releases the information you requested.
If you make a complaint to the ACT Ombudsman, your right of appeal to the ACAT is frozen until the Ombudsman's investigation is finished. You can appeal to the ACAT up to 28 days after receiving notice from the Ombudsman about the outcome of your complaint. ACAT may grant an extension of time under certain circumstances.
To make a complaint about an agency's handling of your FOI request, please select that agency from the drop down menu of our online complaint form.
Access to information held by the Ombudsman
For FOI requests to the Ombudsman's office please see the relevant page: Freedom of information request