What is public access to Government information?

What is public access to Government information?

Macquarie Memory

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA) replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1989.

GIPAA creates new rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government. The Act encourages the routine and proactive release of government information, including information held by the providers of goods and services contracted by government agencies.

Macquarie University is committed to ensuring the public's right to information meets the requirements of the GIPA Act and that we appropriately respond to other requests for information.

The GIPA Act establishes four ways for government information to be made available to the public:

1. Mandatory release

Macquarie University is required to publish specific open access information on our website, free of charge and available to anyone.

2. Proactive release

In addition to the mandatory release of certain government information, Macquarie University is authorised under section 7(1) of the GIPA Act to make any government information held by the agency publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against public disclosure of the information.

Information is to be released in an appropriate manner and free of charge (of at the lowest reasonable cost).

At intervals of not more than 12 months the Macquarie University must review its program for the release of government information in accordance with section 7(3) of the GIPA Act

3. Informal release

Macquarie University is also authorised to release government information held by it to a person in response to an informal request by the person unless there is an overriding public interest against public disclosure of the information under section 8 of the GIPA Act.

If the information you are after has not already been published by the University, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of possible public interest reasons why it should be kept confidential, then the University may be able to release it to you on request without the formalities of having to make a formal application.

If you think this applies to the information you are after you can email gipa@mq.edu.au to make an informal request.

Generally, we try to release information we hold without the need for you to make a formal access application, unless there are good reasons to require one.

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, however, Government agencies are not required to release information without an access application. The University reserves the right to require you to lodge an access application, particularly if there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released or if you request a large volume of information or if it would otherwise take the University a significant amount of time to consider your request.

4. Formal release

Macquarie University may release information in response to a formal access application.

If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by the Department on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information. You can make a formal application by downloading and completing the Government information access form.

A formal request for access to documents may be made by:

Completing a Request for Access. These forms are available online. You may also apply in writing supplying all the details required under section 41 of the GI PA Act. Section 41 provides for the application to:

  • be in writing;
  • state that it is made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW);
  • have an Australian postal address for return correspondence;
  • provide enough details to help the agency identify the information you want; and
  • enclose the application fee of $30.
  • Presenting the form or letter, the appropriate fee and, where necessary, identification to the Right to Information Office or -

If you wish to submit your application by email, mail, post it, together with the appropriate fee, where required, to:

The Right to Information Officer
Macquarie University
Building E11a, Room 155
Macquarie University NSW 2109


Note: Macquarie University can refuse a request for information if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or if searching for the requested information would require unreasonable and substantial diversion of the agency's resources.

Any decision to withhold or release the documents is appealable by either the applicant or third parties (i.e. other parties involved in the documents).


Basic fees and charges under the Government Information Public Access Act 2009 are:

Access to information/records - other requests $30.00* $30.00* per hour after the first hour
Internal Review of a Reviewable Decision $40.00 Nil

* A 50 per cent reduction in processing fees may apply if the applicant suffers financial hardship or if there is deemed to be a special public benefit to the public generally. There is no 50 per cent reduction in the application fee, the applicant receives an extra hours processing before processing fees start.

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