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Contents (2009 - 52)
Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 No 52
Current version for 1 July 2017 to date (accessed 23 November 2017 at 18:36)
Part 4
Part 4 Access applications
Division 1 Making an access application
41   How to make an access application
(1)  An application or other request for government information is not a valid access application unless it complies with the following requirements (the formal requirements) for access applications:
(a)  it must be in writing sent to or lodged at an office of the agency concerned,
(b)  it must clearly indicate that it is an access application made under this Act,
(c)  it must be accompanied by a fee of $30,
(d)  it must state a postal address as the address for correspondence in connection with the application,
(e)  it must include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable the government information applied for to be identified.
Note.
 See section 51A concerning the effect of a waiver, reduction or refund of the fee for an access application. See also section 52 (3) concerning assistance to be afforded by an agency to an access applicant.
(2)  An agency may, with the approval of the Information Commissioner, approve additional facilities for the making of an access application or the payment of an application fee. An application made to any agency by use of such a facility is considered to have been lodged at an office of the agency and a fee paid by use of such a facility is considered to have accompanied the application.
(3)  An access application is not considered to have been received by an agency until it is actually received by the agency.
42   Inclusion of additional information in applications
An access application can include any of the following:
(a)  submissions by the applicant as to any public interest considerations that the applicant thinks the agency should take into account in determining whether or not there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information,
(b)  a request for a discount on processing charges for the application (including relevant supporting information, such as evidence of hardship or special public interest),
(c)  any other information that the applicant thinks may be relevant.
43   Access application cannot be made for excluded information
(1)  An access application cannot be made to an agency for access to excluded information of the agency.
Note.
 Information is excluded information of an agency if it relates to any function specified in Schedule 2 in relation to the agency.
(2)  An application for government information is not a valid access application to the extent that the application is made in contravention of this section.
Division 2 Transfer, amendment or withdrawal of access applications
44   Ways in which applications can be transferred
An agency that receives an access application for government information can transfer the application to another agency either by agency-initiated transfer or by applicant-initiated transfer, as provided by this Division.
Note.
 A decision to transfer an application to another agency is reviewable under Part 5.
45   Agency-initiated transfer
(1)  An agency-initiated transfer of an access application to another agency requires the consent of that other agency and cannot be done unless:
(a)  the other agency is known to hold the information applied for and the information relates more closely to the functions of that other agency, or
(b)  the agency that receives the application decides that it does not hold the information and the other agency is known or reasonably expected to hold the information.
(2)  An agency-initiated transfer cannot be done more than 10 working days after the application was received.
46   Applicant-initiated transfer
(1)  An applicant-initiated transfer of an access application to another agency cannot be done unless the applicant and the agency to which the application was made agree that the application should be transferred and it appears that the information relates more closely to the functions of the other agency.
(2)  The consent of the other agency is not required for an applicant-initiated transfer and it does not matter whether the agency that is to transfer the application holds the information (or knows whether it holds the information).
47   Notice of transfer of application
An agency that transfers an application must give notice of the transfer to the applicant, advising of the date of transfer and the agency to which it was transferred.
48   Effect of transfer of application
(1)  The agency that transfers an application is not required to refund or transfer the application fee to the other agency but cannot impose any processing charges.
(2)  The agency that transfers an application has no obligation to decide the application.
(3)  An application that is transferred to an agency is deemed to have been received by that agency (on the date that it is received by that agency) as an application made by the applicant to that agency, and is to be acknowledged accordingly by that agency.
(4)  The agency to which an application is transferred is not entitled to charge an application fee for the application but is entitled to impose processing charges in accordance with this Act.
49   Amendment of application
(1)  An access application may be amended by the applicant at any time before the agency decides the application. Notice of the amendment must be received by the agency before the agency decides the application.
(2)  An amendment to reduce the scope of the information applied for does not require the consent of the agency but any other amendment cannot be made without the consent of the agency.
Note.
 A decision by an agency to refuse to consent to an amendment is not a reviewable decision (but a fresh access application can be made).
(3)  The agency must give notice to the applicant confirming the amendment of an access application and the date on which it was amended if the amendment requires the consent of the agency or the amendment was not made by the applicant in writing.
(4)  An amendment to reduce the scope of the information applied for does not prevent the agency from imposing a processing charge in respect of time spent before the amendment is made in dealing with any aspect of the access application that the amendment makes unnecessary.
(5)  The amendment of an access application does not affect the period within which the application is required to be decided and does not entitle the applicant to a refund or reduction of any application fee or advance deposit already paid.
Note.
 The period within which an application is required to be decided can be extended by agreement between the agency and applicant.
50   Withdrawal of application
(1)  A person who has made an access application may withdraw it at any time before notice of the agency’s decision on the application is given to the person.
(2)  The withdrawal of an application does not entitle the applicant to a refund of any application fee or advance deposit already paid.
(3)  The agency must give notice to the applicant confirming the withdrawal of an access application and the date on which it was withdrawn if the withdrawal was not made by the applicant in writing.
Division 3 Process for dealing with access applications
51   Initial decision as to validity of application
(1)  When an agency receives an application for access to government information that it appears is intended to be an access application, the agency is to decide whether the application is a valid access application and is to notify its decision to the applicant by either:
(a)  acknowledging receipt of the application as a valid access application, or
(b)  notifying the applicant that the application is not a valid access application.
Note.
 An application is not a valid access application if it is an application for excluded information of the agency or does not comply with the formal requirements for access applications.
(2)  An agency’s decision as to the validity of an application must be made and notified to the applicant as soon as practicable after the agency receives the application and in any event within 5 working days after the application is received.
Note.
 The decision is reviewable under Part 5.
(3)  An acknowledgement of receipt of a valid access application must include the following:
(a)  the date by which the application is required to be decided (subject to any suspension or extension of the time for deciding an application),
(b)  a statement that the application will be deemed to have been refused if not decided by the required date,
(c)  a statement that information about the application may be made public in the agency’s disclosure log and that the applicant may object to this (but this statement is not required if the agency considers it unlikely that information about the application will be included in the disclosure log),
(d)  such details of rights of review in connection with access applications as the Information Commissioner may from time to time direct.
(4)  Acknowledging receipt of an application as a valid access application does not prevent the agency from subsequently deciding that the application is not a valid access application.
(5)  An agency’s decision that an application is not a valid access application is presumed to be correct, subject to any review of the decision under Part 5.
51A   Effect of waiver, reduction or refund of application fee
(1)  An agency is not to treat an application as being an invalid access application only because of the non-payment of the required application fee if:
(a)  the payment of the fee was waived by the agency before the application was made, or
(b)  the amount of the fee payable was reduced by the agency before the application was made and the reduced fee accompanied the application.
Note.
 Section 127 enables an agency to waive, reduce or refund a fee payable or paid under this Act for an application fee in any case that the agency thinks appropriate, subject to the regulations.
(2)  If an agency waives payment of the required application fee, or reduces the amount of the fee that is payable, after the application is made (and the application would have been valid had the required application fee been paid):
(a)  in the case of a waived fee—the application becomes a valid access application and is deemed to have been made when the fee was waived, or
(b)  in the case of a reduced fee—the application becomes a valid access application when the reduced fee is paid and is deemed to have been made when the payment is made.
(3)  The refund of an application fee does not affect the validity of an access application that was duly made.
52   Agency assistance with invalid applications
(1)  The notification of an agency’s decision that an application is not a valid access application must:
(a)  include a statement of the reason why the application is not a valid access application (including reference to the relevant provisions of this Act), and
(b)  if a reason is non-payment of the required application fee, invite the applicant to pay the fee, and
(c)  if a reason is failure to provide required information, invite the applicant to provide the information, and
(d)  notify the applicant of the right of review under Part 5 that applies in relation to a decision that an application is not a valid access application.
(2)  The application becomes a valid access application if the applicant pays the required fee or provides the required information (as appropriate), and is then deemed to have been made when the fee or information was received by the agency.
(3)  An agency must provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the agency to do so, to assist an applicant to provide such information as may be necessary to enable the applicant to make a valid access application.
(4)    (Repealed)
(5)  An applicant is entitled to a refund of any application fee that accompanied an invalid access application (unless the application subsequently becomes valid).
53   Searches for information held by agency
(1)  The obligation of an agency to provide access to government information in response to an access application is limited to information held by the agency when the application is received.
(2)  An agency must undertake such reasonable searches as may be necessary to find any of the government information applied for that was held by the agency when the application was received. The agency’s searches must be conducted using the most efficient means reasonably available to the agency.
(3)  The obligation of an agency to undertake reasonable searches extends to searches using any resources reasonably available to the agency including resources that facilitate the retrieval of information stored electronically.
(4)  An agency is not required to search for information in records held by the agency in an electronic backup system unless a record containing the information has been lost to the agency as a result of having been destroyed, transferred, or otherwise dealt with, in contravention of the State Records Act 1998 or contrary to the agency’s established record management procedures.
(5)  An agency is not required to undertake any search for information that would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of the agency’s resources.
54   Consultation on public interest considerations
(1)  An agency must take such steps (if any) as are reasonably practicable to consult with a person before providing access to information relating to the person in response to an access application if it appears that:
(a)  the information is of a kind that requires consultation under this section, and
(b)  the person may reasonably be expected to have concerns about the disclosure of the information, and
(c)  those concerns may reasonably be expected to be relevant to the question of whether there is a public interest consideration against disclosure of the information.
(2)  Information relating to a person is of a kind that requires consultation under this section if the information:
(a)  includes personal information about the person, or
(b)  concerns the person’s business, commercial, professional or financial interests, or
(c)  concerns research that has been, is being, or is intended to be, carried out by or on behalf of the person, or
(d)  concerns the affairs of a government of the Commonwealth or another State (and the person is that government).
Note.
 The requirement to consult extends to consultation with other agencies and other governments. See the definition of person in Schedule 4.
(2A)  If the agency considers that information about a person consulted under this section is likely to be included in the agency’s disclosure log in relation to the access application, the agency must give a written notice to the person containing the following statements:
(a)  that information concerning the application will be included in the agency’s disclosure log and that the person can object to this,
(b)  that there is a right of review under Part 5 of a decision by the agency to include information in its disclosure log despite the person’s objection.
(3)  If consultation is required concerning the release of personal information about a deceased person, that consultation is to be done by consultation with a close relative of the deceased.
(4)  The purpose of consultation under this section is to ascertain whether the person has an objection to disclosure of some or all of the information and the reasons for any such objection.
(5)  The agency must take any objection to disclosure of information that the agency receives in the course of consultation into account in the course of determining whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of government information.
(6)  If consultation establishes that a person objects to the disclosure of information but the agency decides to provide access to the information in response to the application, access is not to be provided until the agency has first given the objector notice of the agency’s decision to provide access to the information and notice of the objector’s right to have that decision reviewed, and is not to be provided while review rights on the decision are pending.
(7)  Review rights on a decision are pending while the objector is entitled to apply for a review of the decision under Part 5 (ignoring any period that may be available by way of extension of time to apply for review), or any review duly applied for is pending.
55   Consideration of personal factors of application
(1)  In determining whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information in response to an access application, an agency is entitled to take the following factors (the personal factors of the application) into account as provided by this section:
(a)  the applicant’s identity and relationship with any other person,
(b)  the applicant’s motives for making the access application,
(c)  any other factors particular to the applicant.
(2)  The personal factors of the application can also be taken into account as factors in favour of providing the applicant with access to the information.
(3)  The personal factors of the application can be taken into account as factors against providing access if (and only to the extent that) those factors are relevant to the agency’s consideration of whether the disclosure of the information concerned could reasonably be expected to have any of the effects referred to in clauses 2–5 (but not clause 1, 6 or 7) of the Table to section 14.
(4)  An applicant is entitled to provide any evidence or information concerning the personal factors of the application that the applicant considers to be relevant to the determination of whether there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information applied for.
(5)  An agency may, as a precondition to providing access to information to an applicant, require the applicant to provide evidence concerning any personal factors of the application that were relevant to a decision by the agency that there was not an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information and, for that purpose, require the applicant to provide proof of his or her identity.
(6)  An agency is under no obligation to inquire into, or verify claims made by an access applicant or any other person about, the personal factors of the application but is entitled to have regard to evidence or information provided by the applicant or other person.
Note.
 An agency is not entitled to impose any conditions on the use or disclosure of information when the agency provides access to the information in response to an access application. See section 73.
56   Authorised objector can object to inclusion in disclosure log
(1)  Each of the following persons (an authorised objector) can object to the inclusion in the agency’s disclosure log of all or specified information concerning an access application:
(a)  the access applicant,
(b)  any other person with whom the agency has consulted (or is required to consult) under section 54 before providing access to the information sought in the application.
(1A)  An objection can include reasons for the objection and, in the case of an objection by an access applicant, can be made as part of the access application or separately.
(2)  The grounds on which an authorised objector is entitled to object to the inclusion of information in an agency’s disclosure log are limited to any one or more of the following:
(a)  the information includes personal information about the authorised objector (or a deceased person for whom the authorised objector is the personal representative),
(b)  the information concerns the authorised objector’s business, commercial, professional or financial interests,
(c)  the information concerns research that has been, is being, or is intended to be, carried out by or on behalf of the authorised objector,
(d)  the information concerns the affairs of a government of the Commonwealth or another State (and the authorised objector is that government).
(3)  An agency’s acknowledgement of receipt of an access application is to include the following statements about the inclusion of information in the agency’s disclosure log (unless the agency considers it unlikely that information about the application will be included in the disclosure log):
(a)  a statement that information concerning the application will be included in the agency’s disclosure log and that the applicant can object to this,
(b)  a statement about the right of review under Part 5 of a decision by the agency to include information in its disclosure log despite the applicant’s objection.
(4)  If an access applicant has objected to the inclusion of information in the agency’s disclosure log, the agency’s notice of decision of the access application must indicate:
(a)  the agency’s decision about whether the applicant was entitled to object, and
(b)  (if the agency has decided that the applicant was entitled to object) the agency’s decision on whether to include the information in its disclosure log.
Note.
 The agency’s decisions are reviewable under Part 5.
(4A)  If a person referred to in subsection (1) (b) has objected to the inclusion of information in the agency’s disclosure log, the agency must, as soon as is reasonably practicable after the decision concerned is made (and in any event within 5 working days after the decision is made), give the person a written notice that indicates:
(a)  the agency’s decision about whether the person was entitled to object, and
(b)  (if the agency has decided that the person was entitled to object) the agency’s decision on whether to include the information in its disclosure log.
(5)  An agency that decides that an authorised objector was not entitled to object to the inclusion of information in the agency’s disclosure log is entitled to immediately include the information in the disclosure log.
(6)  An agency that decides that an authorised objector was entitled to object to the inclusion of information in the agency’s disclosure log but decides to include the information despite the objection must not include the information while the objector is entitled to apply for a review of the agency’s decision under Part 5 (ignoring any period that may be available by way of extension of time to apply for review), or any review duly applied for is pending.
Division 4 Deciding access applications
57   Required period for deciding application
(1)  An agency must decide an access application and give the applicant notice of the agency’s decision within 20 working days (the decision period) after the agency receives the application.
(2)  The decision period can be extended by up to 10 working days for either or both of the following reasons (with a maximum extension under this subsection of 15 working days for any particular access application):
(a)  consultation with another person is required under a provision of this Act,
(b)  records are required to be retrieved from a records archive.
Note.
 The decision period can only be extended to allow for mandatory consultation, not just consultation that the agency chooses to do.
(3)  The regulations can also provide for the extension (and further extension) of the decision period.
(4)  The decision period can also be extended (and further extended) by agreement with the applicant.
Note.
 A decision by an agency to refuse to agree to extending the decision period is not a reviewable decision.
(5)  The agency must as soon as practicable after the decision period is extended (and in any case within 5 working days after it is extended) give the applicant notice of any extension of the decision period (including any extension by agreement with the applicant), indicating the date on which the extended decision period will end.
(6)  An access application is considered to have been decided within time if the agency decides the application and gives the applicant notice of the agency’s decision within the decision period. The decision period is also referred to in other provisions of this Act as the period within which an application is required to be decided.
58   How applications are decided
(1)  An agency decides an access application for government information by:
(a)  deciding to provide access to the information, or
(b)  deciding that the information is not held by the agency, or
(c)  deciding that the information is already available to the applicant (see section 59), or
(d)  deciding to refuse to provide access to the information because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information, or
(e)  deciding to refuse to deal with the application (see section 60), or
(f)  deciding to refuse to confirm or deny that information is held by the agency because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of information confirming or denying that fact.
Note.
 These decisions are reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  More than one decision can be made in respect of a particular access application, so as to deal with the various items of information applied for.
(3)  If an agency finds that information or additional information is held by the agency after deciding an access application, the agency can make a further decision that replaces or supplements the original decision, but cannot be required to make a further decision in such a case. The further decision can be made even if the period within which the application is required to be decided has expired.
59   Decision that information already available to applicant
(1)  An agency can decide that information is already available to an applicant only if the information is:
(a)  made publicly available by the agency or some other agency in accordance with a legislative instrument other than this Act, whether or not availability of the information is by inspection only and whether or not availability is subject to a charge, or
(b)  available to the applicant from, or for inspection at, the agency free of charge in accordance with this Act or the agency’s policies and practices, or
(c)  contained in a document that is usually available for purchase.
(2)  An agency is not required to provide access to information that the agency has decided is already available to the applicant, but notice of the decision must indicate how the information can be accessed by the applicant.
60   Decision to refuse to deal with application
(1)  An agency may refuse to deal with an access application (in whole or in part) for any of the following reasons (and for no other reason):
(a)  dealing with the application would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of the agency’s resources,
(b)  the agency has already decided a previous application for the information concerned (or information that is substantially the same as that information) made by the applicant and there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the agency would make a different decision on the application,
(b1)  the applicant has previously been provided with access to the information concerned under this Act or the Freedom of Information Act 1989,
(c)  the applicant has failed to pay an advance deposit that is payable in connection with the application,
Note.
 See section 70.
(d)  the information is or has been the subject of a subpoena or other order of a court for the production of documents and is available to the applicant as a result of having been produced in compliance with the subpoena or other order.
(2)  In deciding whether dealing with an application would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of an agency’s resources, the agency is not required to have regard to any extension by agreement between the applicant and the agency of the period within which the application is required to be decided.
(3)  In deciding whether dealing with an application would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of an agency’s resources, the agency is entitled to consider 2 or more applications (including any previous application) as the one application if the agency determines that the applications are related and are made by the same applicant or by persons who are acting in concert in connection with those applications.
(4)  Before refusing to deal with an access application because dealing with it would require an unreasonable and substantial diversion of an agency’s resources, the agency must give the applicant a reasonable opportunity to amend the application. The period within which the application is required to be decided stops running while the applicant is being given an opportunity to amend the application.
(5)  Notice of an agency’s decision to refuse to deal with an access application must state the agency’s reasons for the refusal.
(6)  An applicant is not entitled to a refund of the application fee when the agency refuses to deal with the application.
61   Notice of decision to refuse to provide access
Notice of an agency’s decision to refuse to provide access to information because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information must state the following:
(a)  the agency’s reasons for its decision,
(b)  the findings on any material questions of fact underlying those reasons, together with a reference to the sources of information on which those findings are based,
(c)  the general nature and the format of the records held by the agency that contain the information concerned.
62   Notice of processing charges
Notice of an agency’s decision to provide access to information must state whether any processing charges will be payable for access to the information and indicate how those charges have been calculated.
63   Deemed refusal if application not decided within time
(1)  If an agency does not decide an access application within time, the agency is deemed to have decided to refuse to deal with the application and any application fee paid by the applicant is to be refunded.
Note.
 A deemed decision to refuse to deal with an application is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  The deemed refusal to deal with an application does not prevent the agency from continuing to deal with the application and subsequently deciding the application and giving notice of its decision (a late decision) on the application.
(3)  The obligation to refund an application fee to the applicant is not affected by the making of the late decision and the late decision does not entitle the agency to payment of an application fee.
(4)  No processing charge can be imposed for dealing with an access application if the application was not decided within time (whether or not a late decision is made on the application).
Division 5 Processing charges and advance deposits
64   Processing charge for dealing with access application
(1)  An agency may impose a charge (a processing charge) for dealing with an access application at a rate of $30 per hour for each hour of processing time for the application.
Note.
 The decision to impose a processing charge is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  The processing time for an application is the total amount of time that is necessary to be spent by any officer of the agency in:
(a)  dealing efficiently with the application (including consideration of the application, searching for records, consultation, decision-making and any other function exercised in connection with deciding the application), or
(b)  providing access in response to the application (based on the lowest reasonable estimate of the time that will need to be spent in providing that access).
(3)  The application fee of $30 paid by an applicant counts as a payment towards any processing charge payable by the applicant.
(4)  Access to government information granted in response to an access application may be made conditional on payment of any processing charge imposed for dealing with the application.
65   Discounted processing charge—financial hardship
(1)  An applicant is entitled to a 50% reduction in a processing charge imposed by an agency if the agency is satisfied that the applicant is suffering financial hardship.
Note.
 The discount applies only to the processing charge, not the application fee. If a 50% reduction in processing charge applies, the application fee will pay for the first 2 hours of processing time (not just the first hour). See section 64.
(2)  The agency may refuse to allow the discount if satisfied that the applicant is making the application on behalf of another person in order to obtain the discount for that person.
(3)  The regulations may prescribe circumstances that constitute financial hardship.
Note.
 A decision to refuse to reduce a processing charge is reviewable under Part 5.
66   Discounted processing charge—special public benefit
(1)  An applicant is entitled to a 50% reduction in a processing charge imposed by an agency if the agency is satisfied that the information applied for is of special benefit to the public generally.
Note.
 The discount applies only to the processing charge, not the application fee. If a 50% reduction in processing charge applies, the application fee will pay for the first 2 hours of processing time (not just the first hour). See section 64.
A decision to refuse to reduce a processing charge is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  If the information applied for was not publicly available at the time the application was received but the agency makes the information publicly available either before or within 3 working days after providing access to the applicant, the applicant is entitled to a full waiver of the processing charge imposed by the agency.
(3)  The Information Commissioner may, for the assistance of agencies, publish guidelines about reductions in processing charges under this section.
67   Waiver of processing charge for personal information application
If an access application is made for personal information about the applicant (the applicant being an individual), the agency cannot impose any processing charge for the first 20 hours of processing time for the application.
Note.
 This does not limit an agency’s power to reduce, waive or refund processing charges under section 127.
68   Advance deposit for payment of processing charge
(1)  An agency may by notice to an applicant require the applicant to make an advance payment of a processing charge (as an advance deposit).
Note.
 The decision to require an advance deposit is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  The period within which the application is required to be decided stops running from when the decision to require an advance deposit is made until payment of the advance deposit is received by the agency.
(3)  The notice requiring an advance deposit must:
(a)  include a statement of the processing charges for work already undertaken by the agency in dealing with the application, and
(b)  include a statement of the estimated processing charges for work expected to be required to be undertaken by the agency in dealing with the application, and
(c)  specify a date by which the advance deposit must be paid (being a date at least 20 working days after the date the notice is given), and
(d)  include a statement that if the advance deposit is not paid by the due date the agency may refuse to deal further with the application and that this will result in any application fee and advance deposit already paid being forfeited.
(4)  An agency can extend the date by which an advance deposit must be paid and is to give the applicant notice of any extension (indicating the new date by which the advance deposit must be paid).
69   Maximum advance deposit
(1)  The maximum advance deposit that can be required is 50% of the amount that the agency estimates to be the total processing charge for dealing with the application (ignoring any reduction in processing charge to which the applicant may be entitled).
Note.
 An applicant can pay the full amount of the agency’s estimate of the total processing charge in advance if the applicant wants to, but the applicant cannot be required to pay more than 50% of the estimate as an advance deposit.
(2)  More than one advance deposit can be required so long as the total of the advance deposits required does not exceed the maximum advance deposit.
70   Result of failing to pay advance deposit
(1)  An agency may refuse to deal further with an access application if the applicant has failed to pay an advance deposit within the time required for payment (unless the applicant has applied for review under Part 5 of the decision to require the advance deposit within the time required for payment of the advance deposit).
Note.
 The decision to refuse to deal further with an access application is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  An agency must give notice to the applicant of its decision to refuse to deal further with the application.
(3)  The review under Part 5 of a decision to refuse to deal further with an application for failure to pay an advance deposit is to be a review of both the decision to refuse to deal further with the application and the decision to impose the advance deposit (unless the decision to impose the advance deposit has already been reviewed under that Part).
71   Refund of advance deposit
(1)  An applicant is entitled to a refund of advance deposits paid by the applicant to the extent (if any) that the advance deposits paid exceed the total processing charges payable for dealing with the application.
(2)  An applicant is entitled to a refund of any advance deposit paid if the agency does not decide the access application within time.
Note.
 An agency cannot impose a processing charge if it does not decide an application within time.
Division 6 How access is provided
72   Forms of access
(1)  Access to government information in response to an access application may be provided in any of the following ways:
(a)  by providing a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information,
(b)  by providing a copy of a record containing the information,
(c)  by providing access to a record containing the information, together with such facilities as may be necessary to enable the information to be read, viewed or listened to (as appropriate to the kind of record concerned),
(d)  by providing a written transcript of the information in the case of information recorded in an audio record or recorded in shorthand or other encoded format.
(2)  The agency must provide access in the way requested by the applicant unless:
(a)  to do so would interfere unreasonably with the operations of the agency or would result in the agency incurring unreasonable additional costs, or
(b)  to do so would be detrimental to the proper preservation of the record, or
(c)  to do so would involve an infringement of copyright, or
(d)  there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information in the way requested by the applicant.
Note.
 Decisions about how to provide access are reviewable under Part 5.
73   Access to be unconditional
(1)  An agency is not entitled to impose any conditions on the use or disclosure of information when the agency provides access to the information in response to an access application.
(2)  A condition may be imposed as to how a right of access may be exercised (such as a condition that prevents an applicant making notes from or taking a copy of a record that is made available for inspection) but only to avoid there being an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.
(3)  A condition may be imposed that access to medical or psychiatric information will only be provided to a medical practitioner nominated by the applicant and not to the applicant personally.
Note.
 Access can also be made conditional on the payment of processing charges (s 64) and on the provision of evidence of identity or other personal factors relevant to the agency’s decision to provide access (s 55).
74   Deletion of information from copy of record to be accessed
An agency can delete information from a copy of a record to which access is to be provided in response to an access application (so as to provide access only to the other information that the record contains) either because the deleted information is not relevant to the information applied for or because (if the deleted information was applied for) the agency has decided to refuse to provide access to that information.
75   Providing access by creating new record
(1)  An agency is not prevented from providing access in response to an access application to government information held by the agency by making and providing access to a new record of that information.
(2)  An agency’s obligation to provide access to government information in response to an access application does not require the agency to do any of the following:
(a)  make a new record of information held by the agency,
(b)  update or verify information held by the agency,
(c)  create new information, or produce a new record of information, by deduction, inference or calculation from information held by the agency or by any other use or application of information held by the agency.
76   Providing access to information not applied for
An agency is authorised to provide access to government information in response to an access application that is in addition to the information applied for, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
77   Period within which access rights must be exercised
(1)  When an agency decides to provide access to government information the applicant has a period of 6 months (the access period) to access the information.
(2)  The access period starts from when notice of the decision to grant access is given to the applicant (even if access is conditional on payment of any processing charge). If the agency has decided to defer providing access, the access period starts from the end of the deferral.
(3)  The agency may extend and further extend the access period in a particular case by notice to the applicant.
(4)  An access applicant’s entitlement to access lapses at the end of the access period.
78   Deferral of access
(1)  An agency that has decided to provide access to government information in response to an access application may defer providing that access if:
(a)  the information is contained in a record (or a draft of or extract from a record) that, by or under this Act or some other legislative instrument, is required to be published but is yet to be published, or
(b)  the information is contained in a record (or a draft of or extract from a record) that has been prepared for presentation to Parliament, or that has been designated by the responsible Minister for the agency as appropriate for presentation to Parliament, but is yet to be presented, or
(c)  the information is contained in a record (or a draft of or extract from a record) that has been prepared for submission to a particular person or body, or that has been designated by the responsible Minister for the agency as appropriate for submission to a particular person or body, but is yet to be submitted.
Note.
 A decision to defer access is reviewable under Part 5.
(2)  Access may be deferred only until the record has been so published, presented or submitted.
(3)  If access is to be deferred, the notice of decision of the access application given to the applicant must state that access is to be deferred and state the date on which access will be provided or (if that date is not known) describe the event following which access will be provided and the expected date of that event.
(4)  If access to information is deferred for more than 12 months, the applicant is entitled to make a further access application for the information. No application fee or processing charge is payable in respect of the further application and access pursuant to the further application cannot be deferred under this section.
79   Provision of information subject to subpoena
(1)  An agency need not comply with a requirement of a subpoena or other order of a court for the production of a document that the person who requested the issue of the subpoena or applied for the order has been given access to by the agency in response to an access application made by the person.
(2)  This section does not apply if the court that issued the subpoena or order specifically orders to the contrary.