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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives individuals a legally enforceable right of access to government documents, subject to specific exemptions.

The FOI Act applies to Australian Government ministers and most agencies. The eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) is an agency for the purposes of the FOI Act. 

Staff of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are made available to assist the eSafety Commissioner in performing her functions and exercising her powers. 

In certain circumstances, eSafety has adopted the ACMA’s policies, procedures, systems and guidelines.

Information Publication Scheme (IPS)

The FOI Act establishes an Information Publication Scheme (IPS) which requires us to publish a range of information, including:

  • Our agency plan which outlines how eSafety will implement the IPS requirements
  • Who we are including our structure, information about the eSafety Commissioner and our legislative functions
  • What we do including links to operational information relating to our functions and activities
  • Our annual reports
  • Accountability reporting including files created and executive remuneration
  • Public consultation providing details of any consultation processes open for contribution, as well as how you may engage with us as part of our regulatory functions
  • Freedom of Information — outlining the process for making a request under the FOI Act and how we’ll handle your request
  • Our disclosure log
  • Contact us including the telephone number and an email address for a contact officer who can be contacted about access to eSafety’s information or documents under the FOI Act.

How to make a request under the FOI Act

If you want to request access under the FOI Act to one or more of the documents we hold, your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the Freedom of information Act 1982
  • provide information about each document you are seeking to access to enable us to process your request, and
  • provide a postal, email or fax address for us to reply to.

You can lodge your request via:

  • Online form: available on our contact us page
  • Post: The FOI Coordinator, Office of the eSafety Commissioner, PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building NSW 1230

A third party can also make a request on your behalf, if you provide written authority.

Time for processing your request

We will notify you of our decision within a 30-day period commencing the day after we receive your request, unless that period is extended or suspended in accordance with the FOI Act.

Charges for processing your request

There is no application fee for an FOI request. The first five hours of decision-making time are free for all applicants.

Charges may be imposed to reimburse eSafety for the costs incurred in searching, copying, reproducing or sending the information contained in your request.

There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you.

The main charges are:

  • search and retrieval — $15 per hour
  • decision making — $20 per hour
  • photocopy — 10 cents per page
  • inspection — $6.25 per half hour.

If we do decide to impose a charge, we will notify you beforehand. You can also ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for certain reasons, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. You can find more information on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s FOI charges webpage.

Access to documents

We may refuse your request to access documents, if the document falls within a specific exemption in the FOI Act. This includes that disclosure would, or could reasonably be expected to, prejudice the conduct of an investigation into a possible breach of the law or have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of eSafety’s operations. We may also refuse access where the information is available to the public for a fee or other charge.

eSafety’s work in relation to offensive or illegal content under Schedule 5 and 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 is a specific exemption in the FOI Act.

Review of a decision

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 the outcome of our review 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).

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Commonwealth Ombudsman who may investigate our actions.

Enquiries

If you have any enquiries about the FOI process, please contact us through our contact us page.

See also

Our disclosure log, which lists the information we have released in response to FOI access requests.