Access to information
What is the Government Information (Public Access) Act?
The object of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) is to open government information to the public by:
- authorising and encouraging the proactive public release of government information by agencies
- giving members of the public an enforceable right to access government information, and
- providing that access to government information is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
The GIPA Act requires government agencies to make certain information easily available to the public without requiring an application. This is known as open access information, and includes:
- information about who we are, what we do and the information we hold (our agency information guide)
- information about our office tabled in Parliament
- our policy documents
- a log of all of the information released in response to applications (our disclosure log), and
- a register of certain government contracts.
We are required to provide an explanation if we do not make any of the information listed above publicly available.
What information is available from the Ombudsman?
Our agency information guide provides information about who we are, what we do, and the information we make publicly available.
If you are seeking information about our office that it is not listed in our publication guide or on our website, contact and ask to speak with one of our Right to Information Officers. They will advise you whether the information you want can be provided with or without an application under the GIPA Act.
If we cannot provide the information you want informally, you will be advised to make a formal application under the GIPA Act. The link below provides information about GIPA applications.
What information is not available from the Ombudsman?
Our office handles a great deal of personal and sensitive information. For this reason, the Ombudsman Act contains detailed secrecy provisions that only allows us to disclose information in specified circumstances.
Our office is included in Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act, which provides that information relating to our investigative, complaint handling and reporting functions (including functions relating to community services) is effectively exempt from the operation of the GIPA Act and is considered excluded information.
Any application requesting access to such excluded information is an ‘invalid’ application under the GIPA Act. All invalid applications are refused.
If you have provided us with information and would like to be provided with a copy of this information, we will, within reason, provide this informally.