Access to information

This page is about accessing information that ARPANSA holds.

There are a number of ways in which you may access information that ARPANSA holds:

  • accessing information regarding the operations of the agency via the Information Publication Scheme.
  • viewing information contained in documents accessed under the FOI Act via the Freedom of Information Disclosure Log
  • seeking administrative access to documents the agency holds
  • making a Freedom of Information request seeking access to documents the agency holds

Information Publication Scheme

Information Publication Scheme logo

As required by the FOI Act, ARPANSA has an Information Publication Scheme  entry on our website that provides information on our structure, functions, appointments, annual reports, consultation arrangements, FOI officer, information we routinely release following FOI requests and information we routinely provide to Parliament.

Administrative Access to Information

Requesting information or documents

You may request information from ARPANSA through administrative access. Administrative access is a less formal process than making an FOI request.

Most requests for information or copies of documents can be dealt with informally and quickly — a phone call or email may be all that is required.

You can contact ARPANSA to informally request access to ARPANSA information.

We are obliged, as a minimum, to deal with your requests to access your personal information in accordance with APP 12 of the Privacy Act.
For other documents, we will generally aim to provide you with administrative access to those documents within 30 days. Decisions to refuse documents under the administrative access are generally not reviewable.

However, you also have the right, as discussed below, to make an FOI request for documents containing the information at any time. If we are unable to fulfil your administrative access request, we may ask you to make an FOI request for the information.

Personal information held by ARPANSA

We must, under the Privacy Act, provide you with access on request to your personal information that ARPANSA holds about you, subject to certain limitations.

ARPANSA staff are able to provide certain kinds of personal information quickly and informally through administrative access. This includes documents that have previously been provided to you by the office, records of conversation (if any) between yourself and ARPANSA staff.

We must respond to your request for your personal information within 30 days after you make your request. If we refuse to provide your personal information, we must provide you with a written statement of reasons. If you are unhappy with the way ARPANSA has handled your access request for your personal information, you can make a privacy complaint to us or the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). You can also make an FOI request for the information at any time.

Correction of Your Personal Information

You may also request that ARPANSA corrects personal information that it holds about you. We must, having regard to the purpose of information we hold about you, take reasonable steps to correct your personal information if we are satisfied that it is inaccurate, not up-to-date, incomplete, irrelevant and misleading. We must respond to your request for correction to your personal information within 30 days.

Fees and charges

There is no charge or fee for administrative access.

Other information we hold

ARPANSA datasets are available on data.gov.au.

Freedom of information requests to ARPANSA

Requesting information or documents

Making an FOI request is a more formal process than administrative access, and may be suggested to you if the nature of the documents seek not appropriate for administrative access.

Your Rights

The FOI Act gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
  • ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.

You can ask to access any document we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.

If you are seeking access to documents that does not involve your personal information, you may wish to access the ARPANSA’s FOI Disclosure Log. 

How to make an FOI request to ARPANSA

Your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request
  • provide an address for reply.

You can send your request:

By email: FOIatarpansa.gov.au

By post:
Attention, FOI Officer
PO Box 655
Miranda NSW 1490, Australia

If you need assistance to make an FOI request to ARPANSA, please contact our FOI Coordinator on 9541 8311.

Fees and charges

There is no application fee for an FOI request.

There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. For example, we generally will not charge you for giving you access to information about a complaint you have made to our office. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:

Fees and charges

Activity item Charge
Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document $15.00 per hour
Decision making: time we spend in 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
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium $4.40 per page of transcript
Photocopy $0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises $6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

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% 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.

Documents received from another agency

If we received the documents that you request from another agency, the FOI Act provides that we may transfer the request to that other agency.

What you can expect from us

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • if we impose a charge
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

If you disagree with our decision on your FOI request, you have the right to apply for an internal review of the decision. An internal review will be conducted by another member of our staff who did not make the original decision.

If you wish to apply for an internal review, you must do so in writing within 30 days of receiving notice of our decision. There is no application fee for internal review.

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 OAIC website.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

How to make an application or a complaint

To make an application for internal review or IC review or to make a complaint see our contact us page.

More Information

If you require more information, please contact the FOI Officer on (02) 9541 8311 or by email at foiatarpansa.gov.au.