Requests for Information
Who Can Apply?
Any person can apply for information. A ‘person’ can be an individual, a next of kin applying for information about a deceased person, or a body corporate or unincorporate. The person does not have to be resident in Tasmania or an Australian citizen to apply. No reason need be given for wanting information.
How to Apply?
Requests for information must be in writing and must contain sufficient details of the information required to enable the agency to identify the information sought (s15). There is no official form required by the Act, however most agencies have a printed form available. Requests should then be sent to the agency which is believed to have the information. Commonwealth agencies are required to publish ‘statements of affairs’ which include categories of documents the agency holds (s8(2)(g)(ii)).
Under the Commonwealth Act the time limit for fulfilling a request is 30 days, with provision to extend the period for a further 30 days in certain exemption cases (s15(5)-(6)).
Assistance and Consultation
An applicant should be given assistance and, where appropriate, the opportunity to consult with the agency, so as to enable them to be provided with the information sought.
There are no charges under the FOI Act. The fee structure was abolished as the fees were seen as a substantial barrier to achieving greater access to information.