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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cwlth) (FOI Act) gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
  • ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.

You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.

You should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and the Freedom of Information Disclosure Log to see if what you are seeking is already available. Information described in the disclosure log may be obtained by contacting the Freedom of Information Officer on (02) 6279 0100.

How to make a request

Your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide information about the document(s) to assist us to process your request
  • provide an address for reply.

You can send your request:

By email
foi@mdba.gov.au

By post
FOI Officer
Murray–Darling Basin Authority
GPO Box 1801
Canberra ACT 2601

If you require assistance with your request, please contact the FOI Officer on (02) 6279 0100 or by email at foi@mdba.gov.au.

Fees and charges

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. The most common charges are:

Activity

Charge

Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document

$15.00 per hour

Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions

First five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium

$4.40 per page of transcript

Photocopy

$0.10 per page

Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises

$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request

Cost of postage or delivery

If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.

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.

What you can expect from us

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that may apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • if we impose a charge
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC's website. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

FOI disclosure log

We are required by section 11 C of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to publish a disclosure log on our website. The disclosure log lists information which has been released in response to a request for access to information under the FOI Act. This requirement commenced on 1 May 2011.

The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:

  • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
  • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.

The information described in this disclosure log has been released by us under the FOI Act and is available for public access. A charge may be imposed to reimburse us for the cost incurred in copying or reproducing the information or sending it to you. You will be notified if any charge is payable and required to pay the charge before the information is provided. There will be no charge for the time spent by us in processing the original FOI request that led to this information being made available.

Information described in the disclosure log may be obtained by contacting the FOI Officer:

By email:
foi@mdba.gov.au

By post:
FOI Officer
Murray–Darling Basin Authority
GPO Box 1801
CANBERRA ACT 2601

By phone:
02 6279 0100 and ask for the FOI Officer.

Please see our Privacy Policy for information on how we handle the personal information you provide us.

Information referred to in the disclosure log will generally be removed after 12 months, unless the information has enduring public value.