Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Freedom of Information

FOI in Australia.

$30 application fee? Processing fee? Puh-lease. Information was born to be free.

The bits I like:
Remission of fees can be sought having regard to, amongst other factors, financial hardship or public interest.

What FOI decisions can I appeal against?

  • Decisions not letting you see what you want, when you want it, or in the form you want it.
  • Decisions relating to remission of an application fee.
  • Decisions imposing a charge to see what you want.
  • Decisions in respect of the amount of the charge imposed upon you.
  • Decisions refusing to change or annotate documents about you which you think are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
  • Decisions letting others see documents which you say would unreasonably disclose:
  1. your personal information;
  2. your lawful business or professional affairs;
  3. lawful business, commercial or financial affairs of your firm.
  • Decisions to give you access to documents about your physical or mental health through a qualified person and not directly to you.

The bits I don't:

Application fees

  • There is an application fee of $30 for FOI requests.
  • There is a separate application fee of $40 for internal review of a decision.

Processing charges

The charge for locating documents is $15 per hour.
  • The charge for agencies' decision-making and consultation time is $20 per hour.
  • There are charges in relation to the provision of access (eg: 10c per photocopy, $6.25 per half hour supervised inspection and special rates for special services such as tape transcription or computer output).
  • Requests for personal information may incur a maximum charge of two hours for locating documents and a further two hours for decision making time.
  • However, full rates for the provision of access apply.

So, we have to find things that are Sodding Interesting to the General Public. Then ask for them in RDF [AGLS in government speak]. Exposed to the web. Free of charge.

Suggestions, people!
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