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Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

On 1 July, the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW). The new system is focussed on making government information more readily available.

 

The Safety, Return to Work and Support (SRWS) Division, along with all other government departments, government Ministers and their personal staff, public authorities and offices, local councils and courts will now release information as set out under the GIPA Act.

SRWS was formed as part of the NSW Government’s creation of Principal Agencies in July 2009. The SRWS group sits within the Treasury portfolio. Other agencies in the SRWS group are theWorkCover Authority of NSW, Lifetime Care and Support Authority and the Motor Accidents Authority.
 

Under the new Government information laws, there are four ways in which you can access information.

  1. Mandatory release: We will disclose certain information on our website, free of charge. This includes our policy documents, current publication guide, disclosure log and register of government contracts.
  2. Proactive release: In addition to the information contained on our website, we will also release as much government information as possible, in an appropriate way and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost).
  3. Informal request:  You can request specific information be released. You will not need to make a formal application, unless it is determined one is required.
  4. Formal application:  In limited circumstances you will need to lodge a formal request to access some types of information.  You have a right to access information in this way unless the GIPA Act provides a reason to withhold the information.

 How do I access information?

There are a number of ways you can access information:

·         contact us on 02 8223 6600 or 1800 550 027

·         email gipa@ddb.nsw.gov.au

·         look around this website

·         review the publication guide (available soon)

·         look through the disclosure log

·         make a formal application under the GIPA Act – to do this, you will need to download the application form or contact on 02 8223 6600 or 1800 550 027 and ask to speak to the Right To Information Officer to obtain an application form.

 

Exemptions

There are only limited and specific interests against disclosure that an agency can take into account. These are:

  • law enforcement and security
  • individual rights, judicial processes and natural justice
  • responsible and effective government
  • business interests
  • environment, culture, economy and other matters
  • secrecy and exemption provisions in other laws

 Disclosure log

The DDB’s disclosure log will provide details of information that has been released in response to non-personal right to information requests since the Act commenced on 1 July 2010. It will give a description of the information released and, where possible, a link to the relevant documents.  The disclosure log will be updated regularly. There are currently no documents in the disclosure log.

 

Publication Guide

The Publication Guide is a document that outlines the structure and functions of an agency, and highlights those functions (ie policies) that might affect members of the public. The DDB’s Publication Guide will be available soon.

 

Register of Contracts

Division 5 Part 3 of the GIPA Act sets out information about an agency’s responsibility to publish contracts worth $150,000 or more on their website. The DDB does not have any current contracts worth $150,000 or more.

 

Informal Applications

The DDB, like all Government agencies, is encouraged to release information to the public in an informal manner where possible.

 

You are encouraged to search the DDB website for any information you may require, and if you cannot find it, then contact a Right To Information Officer on 8223 6000 or by emailing gipa@ddb.nsw.gov.au

 

Formal Applications

In some circumstances, like requesting personal or business information not publically available, you will be required to make a formal application to the DDB. Formal applications must be made on an application form. Please telephone (02) 8223 6600 or 1800 550 027 or email gipa@ddb.nsw.gov.au for a copy.

 

Application Forms

 

Please complete the attached application form to apply for formal access to government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). 

 

Fees

As of 1 June 2012, the DDB commenced charging an application fee and, where applicable, a processing fee.

 

The fees payable may be reduced in certain circumstances, such as when an applicant is suffering financial hardship or where there is demonstrated public interest in releasesing the information.

 

Information which is released informally under section 8 of the GIPA Act is not subject to the fees policy.

 

Access to personal information about the applicant

The application fee for personal information about the applicant is $30 and includes 20 hours of processing time.  Where the processing time exceeds 20 hours, an additional charge of $30 per hour will apply.  In some cases a concession rate* of $15 will apply.

 

Access to non personal information

The application fee for non personal information is $30 and this includes one hour of processing time.  Where the processing time exceeds 1 hour, an additional charge of $30 per hour will apply.  In some cases a concession rate* of $15 will apply.

 

Review of decision

The application fee to have a decision reviewed is $40 except where the review arises because the application was not decided in time or the review is recommended by the Information Commissioner.  There is no additional processing fee for reviewing decisions.

 

Concessions

A $15 concession applies for processing charges where an applicant can certify they:

  • hold a Pensioner Concession Card
  • are a full time student
  • represent a non profit organisation
  • able to demonstrate financial hardship
  • able to show that the information they seek is in the public interest.  The guidelines published by the Office of the Information Commissioner will be applied in determining if the information is of special benefit to the public generally.

The DDB has discretion under Section 127 of the GIPA Act to waive, reduce or refund fees in specific cases.  Examples of where that discretion may be exercised include:

  • there has been a significant delay in dealing with an application
  • where the agency decides to publicaly release the information requested by the applicant
  • where the agency is satisfied that the release of information supports the aims and objectives of the legislation administered by the agency
  • where the applicant is a participant in the Lifetime Care and Support scheme

If an access application is not decided in time (usually 20 working days) any application fee is to be refunded and no processing charge will be imposed.

 

Note:  an advance deposit of a processing charge may be required.

 

Processing Time

The GIPA Act sets a limit of 20 working days from receipt of the application until it must be determined.  This can be extended by 10 working days (to a maximum accumulation of 15 days) for consultation or archived records.

 

NSW Privacy Act

The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 ( Privacy Act), contains a number of provisions regarding the collection and use of personal information and the rights of individuals to access and amend, if necessary, their personal information held by NSW government agencies, including the DDB.

 

Contact

For further information about GIPA in the DDB, contact a Right To Information Officer on 8223 6600 or 1800 550 027 or

e-mail gipa@ddb.nsw.gov.au.

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