Right to information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 replaced the previous freedom of information law.

An Information Commissioner was appointed for the first time in NSW to oversee the new 'right to information' regime. The legislation favours the disclosure of Government information.

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

In NSW, the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 gives you the legal right to obtain access to information held by state government agencies, Ministers, local government agencies and other public bodies. You may also access information held by private companies on behalf of government agencies.

Under the right to information legislation, information may be accessed in four ways:

  • Mandatory proactive disclosure

  • Authorised proactive disclosure

  • Informal release of government information - government information may be available without the need for a formal application. Contact the Right to Information Officer (RIO) for more information

  • Formal access applications - these are only required if the information you require is unavailable by other means. Information may already be available from:

Revenue NSW must also disclose instances when an application for access to government information has been refused.

Documents tabled by Revenue NSW are also available on the NSW Parliament website.

Note: there is no need to make an access application for your own personal information, unless that information also affects information belonging to third parties. Personal information held by Revenue NSW includes correspondence between yourself and Revenue NSW about a fine or an enforcement order. It also includes any kind of application you have made to Revenue NSW and Revenue NSW's response. Personal information does not, however, include correspondence between Revenue NSW and any other agency.

How to make an application to Revenue NSW

Step 1. Decide exactly what information you need and who has it

If you are not sure what documents or information to apply for, contact us.

We cannot process access applications for information held by other Government agencies. We cannot give you access to information held by a local council, other departments of the NSW State Government or the Australian Taxation Office. Requests should be made directly to the agency which holds the information being sought.

Step 2. Check if the information is already available

Check the relevant websites to see whether the information you are seeking is already available. It may already be released, be contained in a publication such as an Annual Report or be available through a Disclosure Log. In addition, you may be able to obtain non-personal and non-confidential information free on request.

If you are unsure if the information is available, contact us.

Step 3. Making a formal access application

Make your request on an Access application form (PDF) and post or deliver it, together with the $30 application fee, to Revenue NSW at the address shown on the form. Please note that a formal access application is not valid unless it is accompanied by the required fee. An application is also invalid if it requests access to exempt information but we will try to negotiate a valid application with you.

Your rights under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

Under right to information legislation, you must be given access to government information when you request it, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. Agencies must apply a public interest test to determine whether there are public interest considerations against disclosure which, on balance, outweigh the public interest considerations in favour of disclosure. If an agency decides to refuse to provide access to government information, it must give its reasons for doing so.

Your access application must be determined within 20 working days of receipt. If this deadline is not met, you are entitled to a refund of your application fee and any processing charges you may have paid. The deadline may be extended by up to 10 more working days if consultation with a third party is required or documents need to be retrieved from archives. An applicant and an agency may also agree to an extension of time for processing an access application.

If the deadline for processing is not met, the access application is deemed to have been refused and review rights are automatically invoked.

Charges

Agencies are entitled to charge at the rate of $30 per hour for processing formal access applications and may make disclosure of information conditional on payment of the processing charge. The application fee of $30 counts as a payment toward any processing charge.

A 50% discount on processing charges must be given if an applicant holds a pensioner concession card, is a full-time student or is a non-profit organisation. A 50% discount may be given if an applicant is able to demonstrate that disclosure of the information being sought will be of special benefit to the public.

Rights of review

The right to information regime allows applicants extensive rights of review, either as an internal review by the agency or a review by the Information Commissioner and/or the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.

To request an internal review, fill out an Internal review application form (PDF) and send it to us. The application must be made within 20 working days of a decision being notified to an applicant and will normally cost $40. Applications for review to the Information Commissioner must be made within 8 weeks of a decision being made.

Contact us

For more information contact us.