Freedom of Information
Under freedom of information law, the public has a right to access the documents we hold, with some exceptions.
This page provides information about the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), how to make an Freedom of Information (FOI) request, charges, and relevant contact details.
- How to make an FOI request
- Third-party requests
- How to send a request
- Time for processing your request
- Charges for processing your request
- Access to documents
- If you disagree with our decision
- Freedom of Information disclosure log
- Information Publication Plan
How to make an FOI request
If you wish to make a request under the FOI Act for access to documents held by IPEA your request must:
- be in writing (there in no special form)
- state that the request is an application under the FOI Act
- provide enough information about the documents you are seeking so we can easily identify them; and
- provide details of how notices under the FOI Act may be sent to you, such as a postal address, an email address or a fax number.
You can ask someone else to make an FOI request on your behalf. If you do this, you must give that person written consent.
If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, you must give us a written authority from that person.
How to send a request
- You may deliver it or post it by pre-paid post to IPEA (marked to the attention of the FOI Coordinator) at the address set out below:
The FOI Coordinator
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority
One Canberra Avenue
FORREST ACT 2603
- By email to email@example.com
Time for processing your request
We must notify you about our decision on access within 30 days of receiving your request, unless that period is extended or suspended in accordance with the FOI Act.
Charges for processing your request
You do not have to pay an application fee when you make a request under the FOI Act.
However, we may impose charges for processing your request. This might be for the time spent searching for and retrieving documents, decision-making time, photocopying and postage.
You will not be charged for processing if your request is for access to documents that contain only personal information about you.
The most common charges are:
Search and retrieval — time we spend searching for or retrieving a document
$15 per hour
Decision-making — time we spend deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties and making deletions
First five hours: Nil
$0.10 per page
Delivery — posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request
Actual cost of postage or delivery
If we decide to charge you, 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.
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, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
Access to documents
We may refuse access to any document if it falls within a specific exemption or an exception set out in the FOI Act. For example, you are not entitled to documents under the FOI Act if their disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation, or if they would breach confidentially obligations.
You are also not entitled to obtain access to documents under the FOI Act if they are available to the public for a fee or other charge, or if they are in the collection of certain institutions, such as library material in the National Library of Australia.
Under the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (Consequential Amendments) Act 2017, IPEA is exempt from providing information under the FOI Act in relation to any personal advice provided to members of parliament, or to a person employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984, about travel resource matters.
If you disagree with our decision
You can write to us and ask that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. Another officer in our agency will conduct the internal review. We will advise you of the new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner review and complaints
You can ask the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to review our original decision or the internal review decision. This must be done within 60 days of the decision date (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The OAIC can affirm or vary the decision or make a new decision.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the OAIC who may investigate our actions.
More information on making applications for OAIC review, or lodging complaints, is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.
Any enquiries about making a request, or the processing of a request, under the FOI Act should be directed to the FOI Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freedom of Information disclosure log
We are required, under section 11C of the FOI Act, to publish documents that have been released in response to an FOI request. This requirement does not apply to the following information:
- 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 Office of 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 to a document (or documents) that would need to be made to delete the information listed above.
Information Publication Plan
IPEA is subject to the FOI Act and is required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) requirements. This Plan describes how IPEA will respond to part II of the FOI Act.
The purpose of this Information Publication Plan is to:
- articulate how IPEA is responding to the IPS requirements
- identify the information IPEA publishes, how and to whom the information is published
- identify any information IPEA will publish in future under the IPS
- identify any actions IPEA needs to take to otherwise comply with the IPS requirements (s 8(1))
The objectives of this plan are to identify the actions IPEA must take to be compliant with the IPS requirements. Specifically this plan describes how IPEA will:
- identify and publish all required information (s 8(2) of the FOI Act)
- identify and publish any optional information to be published (s 8(4) of the FOI Act)
- review and ensure on a regular basis that information published under the IPS is accurate, up to date and complete (s 8B of the FOI Act)
- ensure that information published under the IPS is easily discoverable, understandable, machine-readable, reusable and transformable
- ensure satisfactory compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Version 2.0) (WCAG 2.0)
- monitor the success of the IPEA IPS contribution by reference to feedback and compliance review processes.
Administering IPEA’s IPS contribution
The Transparency, Assurance and Legal (TAL) Branch will be responsible for managing IPS compliance in IPEA.
This team will be accountable to the Branch Manager (TAL) and will liaise with the web publishing team and other teams managing published content to ensure that the IPS contribution published on the IPEA website is discoverable, understandable, useable, machine-readable, accessible, up-to-date and accurate.
Each branch of IPEA is responsible for the day-to-day tasks associated with complying with the IPS. For example, the FOI Coordinator will be responsible for maintaining the disclosure log for FOI requests.
As part of this commitment, IPEA publishes:
- organisational details, including details about its statutory appointees
- information about IPEA’s functions and the exercise of those functions
- annual reports and other information routinely provided to parliament.
You are able to contact IPEA’s FOI Coordinator at email@example.com to make requests for documents not published on the IPEA website. Documents released as a result of FOI requests are published on IPEA’s FOI disclosure log.