The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives any person the right to:
- access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
- ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading, and
- seek a review of our decision not to grant access to a document or not to amend your personal record.
You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to internal working documents, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.
Documents Available Outside The FOI Act
You can get certain information, including personal information we hold about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act. This includes copies of applications you sent to us to obtain funding or grants.
You should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI disclosure log to see if what you are seeking is already available.
How to make a request
Your request must:
- be in writing
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
- provide information about the document(s) to assist us to process your request
- provide an address for a reply.
You can send your request to:
The FOI Contact Officer
Legal and Governance
Australia Council for the Arts
Level 5, 60 Union Street,
Pyrmont NSW 2009
FOI requests may also be lodged by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you require assistance with your request, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 02 92159000 or by email at email@example.com
Fees and charges
There is no application fee for an FOI request.
There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests.
The most common charges are:
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 we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.
Responding to the charge
When you receive our notice stating the charge, you have 30 days to respond in writing. Your response will be one of the following:
- you agree to pay the estimated charge
- you dispute the way we have calculated the estimated charge
- you want us to reduce or not apply the charge
- you will change your FOI request to reduce the work needed to process it
- you withdraw your FOI request
If you change your FOI request we will let you know, in writing, of their new estimate. If you don’t respond within 30 days, your request is taken to have been withdrawn.
You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
What you can expect from us
We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will 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. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.
If you disagree with our decision
When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.
You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:
- if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
- if we impose a charge
- if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.
You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information commissioner review
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at www.oaic.gov.au.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can contact the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at www.oaic.gov.au. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.
If you require more information, please contact the FOI Contact Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act can be obtained at our FOI disclosure log page. Information about our Information Publication Scheme can be obtained here.
Freedom of information disclosure log
The Australia Council is required under under section 11C of the FOI Act to publish a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log lists information released in response to an FOI access 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 described in this register has been released by the Australia Council under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and is available for public access.
Information that is not available on our website may be requested by writing to email@example.com. A charge may be imposed to reimburse us for the cost incurred in copying or reproducing the information or sending it to you. There will be no charge for the time spent by us in processing the FOI request that led to this information being made available. You will be notified if any charge is payable and required to pay the charge before the information is provided.
There may be documents in the disclosure log that are currently not available in HTML or PDF format. If you are unable to read the format provided please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will try to meet all reasonable requests for an alternate format of the document in a timely manner and at the lowest reasonable cost to you.
Information publication scheme
Australian Government agencies subject to the FOI Act are required to publish a range of information on their websites as part of an Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This includes the agency’s structure, functions, appointments, annual reports, consultation arrangements, and details of the agency’s FOI officer. Information routinely released from FOI requests and routinely provided to parliament must also be published online.
The IPS is intended to form the basis for a more open and transparent culture across government with agencies encouraged to take a proactive approach to publishing the information they hold, and to consider what they should be publishing over and above what they are obliged to publish. You are encouraged to regularly view our website for further information about us.
The IPS doesn’t require an agency to publish information exempt from disclosure under the FOI Act or if it is prohibited from being released under other laws.