Overview

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 was proclaimed on 1 November 1993. This Act provides the public with a general right of access to documents held by government agencies. For the purposes of the Act, documents can consist of electronic records, including emails, audio and visual tapes, and microfiches, as well as files, notes, letters and any other form of paper document.

A person's right of access is not affected by any reasons the person gives, or the agency's beliefs as to what the person's reasons are for wanting access to documents. However, some documents, or parts of documents, may be exempt from access.

The Act's exemption provisions protect the disclosure of material that, if released, would have a detrimental effect on the functioning of the government or harm the interests of private individuals or commercial organisations. The Act also provides that individuals have a right to see their own records (i.e. records about themselves) and have them amended where they are inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading.

Under the Act, the Department of State Development (DSD) must collect an application fee of $30.00 for non-personal applications before an applicant's request for access can be considered. There are no fees or charges for providing an applicant with access to personal information about the applicant. The Act provides for an agency to review its decision on access at the request of the applicant. However, if the applicant is still dissatisfied with the agency's decision on internal review, the applicant may lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner.

All agencies must submit an annual statistical return to the Information Commissioner at the end of each financial year. These statistics are then detailed in the Information Commissioner's Annual Report to Parliament.

Amendment of personal information

An applicant has the right to apply for the amendment of his or her personal information if it is inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading.

This application must state whether the person wishes the amendment to be made by altering information, striking out or deleting information, inserting information or inserting a note in relation to the information.

There are no fees or charges for amending personal information.

Department of State Development Information Statement 2016-17

The Freedom of Information Act 1992 was proclaimed in Western Australia on 1 November 1993 and enables a general right of access to documents held by state and local governments and other public bodies.

In accordance with the requirements of s. 94 of the Act, the department is required to provide an Information Statement which describes:

  • DSD's structure and functions
  • how DSD's functions affect the public
  • how the public may participate in public sector policy making
  • documents produced and held by DSD
  • how the public may access documents held by DSD.

For more information about access to various documents held by the department, please refer to the Department of State Development Information Statement 2016-17.

How to apply for access to information

Before submitting an application, the department encourages applicants to discuss their request prior to submission.

This discussion will also clarify the Freedom of Information process and determine what information and documents are freely available (at no charge).

All applications requesting access to information should:

  • be submitted in writing
  • provide enough information to identify the issue
  • provide details of the requested documents/material
  • provide an Australian address to which notices can be sent
  • be forwarded to:

Coordinator, Freedom of Information
Department of State Development
1 Adelaide Terrace
East Perth
Western Australia 6004

FOI Application Form

Under the Act, DSD must collect a fee of $30.00 for applications requesting non-personal documentation before an applicant's request for access can be considered.

For more information, please contact: Coordinator, Freedom of Information: foi@dsd.wa.gov.au

Office of the Information Commissioner

The role of the Information Commissioner is to independently review access decisions where there is a conflict in relation to the release of documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

The Information Commissioner also provides independent advice and assistance to both applicants and agencies on matters relevant to the Act.

Should you require further information, please visit the Information Commissioner's website.