Making a Freedom of Information Request

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) provides a right of access to documents held by Ministers and state government departments.

What documents can be accessed under the Act?

The community has the right to apply for access to documents held by the department including:

  • documents relating to their personal affairs regardless of the age of the documents and
  • documents of a non-personal nature which are not older than 5 July 1978.

Examples of personal affairs documents held by the department

  • Ward of the state/Child Protection files
  • Youth Justice client files
  • Disability services client files and
  • Public Housing loan and Tenancy files.

Examples of non-personal documents held by the department

  • advice provided to the department by external service providers
  • data on departmental spending such as office supplies or catering
  • briefings and correspondence between the department and a Minister and
  • policy documents on a new initiative.

Amendment of personal information

If the department holds personal information about someone, that person has the right to request that it be amended if they believe it is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, or misleading. A request for amendment must be made in writing, detailing why the information is considered incorrect. A decision relating to a request to amend personal records must be made within 30 days of receipt of the request.

Timeline for processing Freedom of Information requests

The Act requires the department to respond to an application with a notice of decision no later than 45 days from the date of receipt of a valid request.

How to make a request for access to documents

  • Contact the Freedom of Information unit on (03) 9096 8449 or 1300 650 172 for an application pack, or
  • Apply online at www.foi.vic.gov.au, or
  • Write to the Freedom of Information unit at the address below. The letter must clearly describe the documents sought. It must also include the applicant’s details (full name, address and date of birth), the application fee (if applicable) and, if the request is for personal records, certified proof of identity.

Send applications to:

Freedom of Information unit
Department of Health & Human Services
GPO Box 4057
Melbourne VIC 3001

Contact information

Freedom of Information unit
Tel: (03) 9096 8449
Tel: 1300 650 172

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