Freedom of information

​​​​​​​Object​

The broad objective of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provides the public a legal right to seek access to documents held by the Government.

Access to documents is limited only by exemptions that protect essential public interests and the private and business affairs of people whom departments and statutory authorities hold information.

Members of the public seeking access to documents that may be held by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources should lodge a formal FOI request.

Documents available outside the FOI Act

Some information will be available to you outside the FOI Act, without following the formal process, for example personal information about you. If you are looking for specific information, you should check the information the department has published under the Information Publication Scheme, our Oper​ational Information and our FOI Disclosure log to see if what you seek access to is already publicly available.

Make an FOI request to the department

In order for the department to process your request as quickly as possible, at the lowest possible cost, your request must:

  • be made in writing
  • state that you are seeking information in accordance with the FOI Act
  • provide enough information for the department to clearly identify the scope of your request, the time periods your request falls under and the category of documents sought. i.e. reports, minutes, emails etc (further guidance is included in the FOI frequently asked questions page). 
  • specify an address (either email or physical) so the department can correspond with you about your request.

You may also wish to provide a phone number to make it easier for us to consult with you about your request.

FOI requests should be sent to:

FOI Officer
Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601

Or via email Freedom of Information request form

Make an FOI request to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources or the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

The department, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and the Assistant Minister to the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources are separate entities for the purposes of the FOI Act.

FOI requests intended for the Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources must be made by writing directly to the Minister. Contact information for the Minister is available on the Minister’s website.

FOI requests intended for the Assistant Minister must be made by writing directly to the Assistant Minister. Contact information for the Assistant Minister is available on the Assistant Minister’s website.

Processing a request to the department

We will acknowledge your request within 14 calendar days of receipt and will endeavour​ to process your request within 30 calendar days. However, where the FOI Act requires us to consult with a third party, for example, the documents you seek access to contain personal information about a third party, or where we need to consult a State government entity, the time for processing your request will be extended by an additional 30 calendar days. If we envisage that we will not complete your request within the statutory timeframes due to its complexity or the large volume of documents, we may seek your agreement to an extension of time for the processing of your request, or alternatively, may seek an extension from the Information Commissioner.

It is important to note that it may not be possible to obtain access to all or any of the documents sought in the request because they may be exempt from release under the FOI Act.

Charges

The department may impose a charge for the work involved in providing access to documents you request under the the FOI Act . These charges are imposed in accordance with the FOI Act and the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982 (Charges Regulations). There is no charge if you request access to your personal information. You can ask for the charge to be reduced or for the documents to be provided for free. The estimate can be re-calculated if you change the scope of your request for access.
The Charges Regulations specify different rates for the various activities involved in processing a request. The main charges are:

  • search and retrieval – $15 per hour
  • decision making – $20 per hour
  • photocopy – 10c per page
  • transcript – $4.40 per page
  • supervised inspection – $6.25 per half hour
  • delivery – cost of postage or delivery.

There is no charge for making an FOI request for access to a document, or for amendment or annotation of a personal record. There is also no charge for documents that contain your personal information.

The first five hours of decision making time are free for all applicants.

Where the department decides that you are liable to pay a charge for access to a document, it must give you a written notice stating its preliminary assessment of the charge. The department uses a charges calculator XLS [68 KB] as a guide to estimating preliminary charges.

You may also contend that the charge has been wrongly assessed, or should be reduced or not imposed. In deciding whether to reduce or not to impose a charge, the decision-maker must, amongst other things:

  • take into account whether payment of the charge, or part of it, would cause you financial hardship; and
  • whether the giving of access to the documents is in the general public interest.

Payment of charges can be made via cheques or money orders are to be made payable to the Collector of Public Money. Payment may also be made through direct deposit, by contacting the FOI Officer.

Further information

More information on making an FOI request and the FOI process within the department is available on the FOI frequently asked questions page.

Contact

Please contact the FOI Officer: Switchboard:  +61 2 6272 3933 or email Freedom of Information for further information.​

Contact us

You can contact the FOI Officer by phone, feedback form or post.

  • Switchboard
    +61 2 6272 3933
  • Make an FOI request
    Request form
  • General email inquiries
    FOI Officer
  • Post
    FOI Officer
    Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources​
    GPO Box 858
    Canberra ACT 2601
  • Is our information useful?
    Feedback form