Freedom of Information

**** IMPORTANT INFORMATION COVID-19:  FOI request timeframes are likely to be impacted by COVID-19, and whilst we are continuing to work to meet statutory timeframes, this may not be possible in all instances. We are committed to working with you and responding as best we can under the current circumstances. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.  ****


The Justice and Community Safety (JACS) Directorate is committed to giving the community greater access to government information.

Under the new Freedom of Information Act 2016, JACS strives to:

  • Process information requests as quickly as possible
  • Keep improving our processes to protect and provide access to information
  • Use innovative ways to make sure information is available to the entire community

Searching for information

Applying for access to Government information

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2016, you can only apply to access documents. You can’t use this process to ask for answers to your questions.

Use the approved application form

You will need to complete the approved FOI request application form.

Postal Address

Freedom of Information requests
Justice and Community Safety Directorate
GPO Box 158
Canberra City, ACT 2601 

Apply to the correct Directorate or Minister

You will need to apply to the Directorate which has the documents you want to access.  If more than one Directorate has documents you are interested in, you may need to complete an application form and submit to each Directorate.  However, Directorates will attempt where reasonably possible to have one Directorate coordinate the whole request. Be aware that the Minister and the Directorate are separate and therefore, if you are interested in documents held by the Directorate and by the Directorate’s Minister, you will need to make two applications. If you apply only to the Directorate for access to documents, we cannot include the Minister’s Office in the search for documents. Similarly, if you apply to the Minister’s Office, the searches will be confined to that office only.

What happens after you apply to access information?

Once we receive your application we will review it to make sure it contains everything that we need to process it. Once we officially accept your application we will send you a written acknowledgement that your application has been received within 10 working days. If you don’t provide us with the requested information within the allocated timeframe, we may refuse to process your application due to it being non-compliant with section 30 of the Act.


Notice of decision

Once we have processed your request, we will send you a letter setting out the decision and the reasons for the decision. This letter will explain what documents were located and why you may have been refused access to documents (or parts of documents).

Time required to make decision

Under section 40 of the Act we have to make a decision on your application within 20 working days from the date of receiving a valid application. This period may be extended by 15 business days if another person or agency needs to be consulted as per section 40(2) of the Act. We also may negotiate an extension with applicants due to delays in locating documents, staff availability or workload. We may also request an extension of time through the Ombudsman’s Office, if an applicant refuses to agree to an extension and/or the application contains a large volume of information; or is complex and has potentially conflicting public interest factors.


You may be required to pay to access information in accordance with the following schedule:

  • A fee is payable for each page of information given in response to an application, excluding the first 50 pages, whether provided in printed or electronic format.

$0.35c per page (GST is not applicable)

  • A fee is payable for giving information to an applicant by post.

The actual cost of postage

  • A fee is payable for giving a printed copy of a record containing information to an applicant.

The actual cost of printing

  • A fee is payable for giving information contained in a sound or visual recording on electronic storage media (eg by USB, hard drive etc).

The actual cost of the electronic storage media

  • A fee is payable for information contained in a written transcript of a sound recording or a record in which words are in shorthand writing or in a codified form.

The actual cost incurred by the respondent in giving the information

  • A fee is payable for information that is not contained in a written record and is retrieved or collated using equipment that is usually available to the agency or Minister.

The actual cost incurred by the respondent in giving the information


Waiving charges

An agency must waive the fee if:

  • the information that is the subject of the request was previously publicly available but is no longer publicly available; or
  • the information is subject of the request is of special benefit to the public; or
  • the applicant is a concession holder and demonstrates a material connection with the information requested; or
  • the applicant is a not for profit organisation and the application relates to the activities or purposes of the organisation; or
  • the applicant is a member of the Assembly.

Disputing a decision

You can dispute our decision if:

  • we decide your application is outside the scope of the Act
  • we decide to release documents contrary to your views (if you are a consulted party)
  • you believe we should have taken steps to consult you about the release of documents
  • we refuse to deal with the application
  • we decide charges are payable (but not the amount of the charge)
  • we don’t grant access to the documents either in full or part
  • the documents don’t exist or  can’t be found
  • we do not process your application within 20 working days.

You may:

  • apply to the Ombudsman’s Office for review

You must apply for a review in writing within 20 business days after:

  • the decision was published in the disclosure log; or
  • For a deemed decision, the day the decision was taken to have been made; or

For a decision not to make open access information available because it is contrary to the public interest information, the day the matters under section 24(2) were published.

Amendment of Personal Information

You can apply to amend information containing your personal information you believe is inaccurate, misleading, out of date or incomplete. You need to have accessed the documents before you can apply to have them amended.