The ACT Freedom of Information Act 2016 (the FOI Act) gives individuals the legal right to:
- access government information unless access to the information would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest;
- ask for personal information to be changed if it is incomplete, out-of-date, incorrect or misleading; and
- appeal a decision about access to a document, or a decision in relation to a request to amend or annotate a personal record.
Freedom of Information Act 2016
Documents available without an FOI access application
We make a range of information available for access on our website. Before submitting an FOI request, we recommend you search our website first to see if you can find what you are looking for. You can also check the Open Access Portal.
Media enquiries can be submitted to Canberra Health Services at CHSmedia@act.gov.au or the ACT Health Directorate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information we are required to make public under the ACT Open Access Information Scheme includes:
- functional information about the ACT Health Directorate
- documents tabled in the Legislative Assembly
- policy documents
- budgetary papers
- information about government grants
- our disclosure log – which lists information we have released since 1 January 2018 in response to access applications
- a statement about bodies established to advise our Directorate or Minister, and copies of their reports and recommendations.
If the information you require is not available on our website and would like to speak with someone, you can contact Access Canberra on 132 281 to be put through to the appropriate area within the Directorate.
Accessing your medical records
Please note you cannot obtain Health Records under the FOI Act. Health records should be requested under the ACT Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997. Further information regarding access to Health Records is available accessing your medical records page.
How to make an FOI application to access ACT Health Directorate or Canberra Health Services documents
If you cannot find what you are looking for, make a formal access application through the ACT Health Directorate’s FOI Unit. Your request must include:
- enough detail to enable us to identify what information you are looking for
- an email or postal address via which we can contact you
- evidence of your identity (if you are seeking personal information)
- authority for an agent to act for you (if you have engaged a lawyer or other third party to represent you)
The ACT Health Directorate’s FOI Unit also coordinates the FOI services for Canberra Health Services.
Requests can be made by completing either the ACT Health Directorate or Canberra Health Services Application form.
If you would like to discuss your request, the FOI team can help with your application and can be reached via the contact information provided below.
Third Party Consultation
Where an FOI application involves information relating to a third party, the Directorate may need to seek their views before making a decision on the release of information about them.
There is no application fee for an FOI request. There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. We will tell you if this is the case. Where this occurs, you can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
The FOI Act sets out certain types of documents which may not be accessible. Exemptions are generally used to protect essential public interests, confidential matters or the private or business affairs of others.
If the Directorate decides not to grant access to the documents requested, it will provide written reasons for the decision and advise you (the applicant) of your rights of appeal.
If you are unhappy with the decision you may:
- seek Ombudsman’s review of a Directorate's decision or action (Ombudsman review); and
- if you were a participant in an Ombudsman review, apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) for a review of the decision made by the Ombudsman.
Under the FOI Act the Directorate is required to have a disclosure log listing Freedom of Information requests received by the Directorate. Details of requests for personal information are not required to be reported under the Act and therefore are not provided here.
The application, decision and any released documents can be accessed on the Directorate’s Disclosure Log page.
Amending Personal Information
If you believe the Directorate holds information about you that is incomplete, incorrect or out-of-date, under the FOI Act, you can seek to have this information amended. Your request must:
- include enough detail so we can identify the information to be amended
- state how it is incomplete, incorrect or out-of-date or misleading
- state the amendments considered necessary
- include an email or postal address via which we can contact you.
You can send a written request for amendment to the FOI Coordinator and the contact details are listed below.
Please be aware that this does not extend to health records which are managed in accordance with the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997.
ACT Ombudsman Review
When we have made a decision about your access application or a request to amend your personal information, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review appeal rights. If you are not satisfied with our decision, you can ask the ACT Ombudsman to review the decision.
You can also make a complaint to the ACT Ombudsman about our actions, or failure to take action, in relation to any of our functions under the FOI Act.
ACT Health Directorate FOI Coordinator Contact
02 5124 9831
Freedom of Information Coordinator
ACT Health Directorate
GPO Box 825
CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601