Freedom of information

The object of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the Act) is to give the community the ability to access information in the possession of the Government of Victoria by:

  • making available to the public information about the operations of agencies, and
  • creating a general right of access to information held in documentary form at the lowest reasonable cost.

The community has the right to apply for access under the Act to documents about:

  • their own personal affairs regardless of the age of the documents, and
  • policy or other non-personal information created after 5 July 1978.

Fulfilling the department's statutory responsibilities under the Act

The Freedom of Information (FOI) unit and Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND) have responsibility for fulfilling the department's statutory responsibilities under the Act.

Freedom of Information unit

The FOI unit is responsible for processing requests from parliamentarians, members of the media, and any person from the community who requests access to policy information. Additionally, the FOI unit processes requests for personal records from clients, ex-clients or their relatives, and former wards of the state that left care after 1986.

Examples of personal records held by the department include:

  • former 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 records held by the department include:

  • 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.

Family Information Networks and Discovery (FIND)

Family Information Networks and Discovery responds to requests for the personal records the department holds on former wards of the state, who left care before 1986.

FIND location and contact details:
570 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
Telephone: (03) 8605 5700 or 1300 796 926

Exempt documents

To protect essential public interests and the private and business affairs of individuals, the right of access does not apply to a document identified in the Act as exempt. Further information about exemptions is available on this site.

How long does it take to receive a decision on a request?

The legislative time frame for applicants to receive a decision on their request is no longer than 45 days from the date of receipt of a valid request.

Contact information

Freedom of Information Unit
Telephone: (03) 9096 8449
Telephone: 1300 650 172

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