The ACMA

Corporate

Accountability

Freedom of information & public interest disclosure

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives members of the public rights of access to documents held by the Commonwealth Government and its agencies, limited only by specific exemptions and exceptions set out in the FOI Act. The ACMA is an agency subject to the FOI Act.

Information Publication Scheme (IPS)

Under Part 2 of the FOI Act, agencies subject to the FOI Act must implement an information publication scheme (IPS) from 1 May 2011.

Section 8(1) of the FOI Act requires the ACMA to publish an agency plan which outlines how the agency will implement the IPS.

Access the ACMA’s Agency Plan.

Disclosure log

From 1 May 2011, the ACMA is obliged to publish information that has been released in response to each freedom of information (FOI) access request, subject to certain exceptions. This information must be published within 10 working days of releasing the information to the FOI applicant.

Access the disclosure log.

How to make a request under the FOI Act

What your request must include

If you wish to make a request under the FOI Act for access to one or more documents held by the ACMA (including documents previously held by the former Australian Broadcasting Authority and Australian Communications Authority), your request must:

  • be in writing (there is no special form)
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide sufficient information about each document you are seeking as is reasonably necessary to enable the ACMA to identify it
  • give 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.

Third-party requests

If you ask a third party to make an FOI request on your behalf, you need to give them written authority to send copies of documents to you, care of that person, or to allow that person to inspect copies of documents that may contain information about you. If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, you need to provide the ACMA with written authority from that person to act on their behalf.

Manner of making requests

Your request must be sent to the ACMA. The request may be sent in any of the following ways:

  • you may deliver it or post it by pre-paid post to the ACMA (marked to the attention of the FOI Coordinator) at an address set out below
  • by e-mail to foi@acma.gov.au.

As the ACMA’s FOI Coordinator is currently located in the Melbourne office, your request, if sent by pre-paid post, may be addressed to that office.

Sydney
Level 5 The Bay Centre
65 Pirrama Road
Pyrmont NSW 2009

Canberra
Red Building, Benjamin Offices
Chan Street
Belconnen ACT 2617

Melbourne
Level 32
Melbourne Central Tower
360 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

PO Box Q500
Queen Victoria Building
NSW 1230

PO Box 78
Belconnen ACT 2616

PO Box 13112
Law Courts
Melbourne VIC 8010

Time for processing your request

The ACMA must notify you of its 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

There is no prescribed application fee payable when you make a request under the FOI Act.

However, charges may be imposed for the processing of your request, for example, for the time spent in searching for and retrieving documents, decision-making time, photocopying and postage.

There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. Processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:

Activity item

Charge

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
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Photocopying

$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 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 per cent 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 so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.

Access to documents

Access to any document may be refused if the document falls within a specific exemption or an exception set out in the FOI Act. For example, you are not entitled to obtain access to documents under the FOI Act if their disclosure could reasonably be expected to prejudice the conduct of an investigation of a possible breach of the law, or would found an action by someone (other than the Commonwealth Government or any of its agencies) for breach of confidence.

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 maintained by the National Library of Australia.

If you disagree with our decision

Internal review

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 and complaints

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner (AIC) 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 AIC 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 AIC who may investigate our actions.

More information on making applications for AIC review, or lodging complaints, is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website at: www.oaic.gov.au.

Enquiries

Any enquiries about making a request, or the processing of a request, under the FOI Act should be directed to the FOI Coordinator by telephone on (03) 9963 6800 or by email at foi@acma.gov.au.

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 promotes accountability and integrity in the Australian Public Service by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, supporting and protecting disclosers from adverse consequences and ensuring that public interest disclosures are properly investigated and dealt with.

Public interest disclosure

About public interest disclosure

Wrongdoing may include conduct which you reasonably believe:

  • contravenes a law
  • is corrupt
  • perverts the course of justice
  • results in a wastage of public funds or property
  • is an abuse of public trust
  • unreasonably endangers health and safety or endangers the environment
  • is maladministration, including conduct that is unjust, oppressive or negligent.

Disclosures are about matters where investigation and correction is in the public interest. This does not include disagreements with government policy or expenditure.

Making a public interest disclosure

Public interest disclosures can be made by a public official. This includes:

  • any person who is, or was, employed by the Australian Government
  • individuals employed by any Commonwealth companies, authorities and statutory agencies, the parliamentary service, statutory officeholders
  • service providers under contract to the Commonwealth and anyone employed by them.

Public interest disclosures can be made orally or in writing:

  • by an employee to their supervisor
  • to an Authorised Officer
  • in very limited circumstances, to a person outside the government other than a foreign official.

Authorised Officers

Contact ACMA Authorised Officers by:

  • Email: PID@acma.gov.au
  • Mail: PID Authorised Officer, PO Box 78, Belconnen, ACT 2616
  • Telephone: 02 6219 3600 (Canberra)
                      03 9963 6800 (Melbourne)
                      02 9334 7700 (Sydney)

and ask to speak to an Authorised Officer.

More information

For more information, consult the Commonwealth Ombudsman website.

 

Last updated: 15 March 2017

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