Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA)

Macquarie University engages closely with the GIPA Act which provides members of the public with a legal right to request information held by the University.

The objective of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) is to make information openly available to the public by:

  • authorising and encouraging the proactive release of government information to the public by agencies
  • giving members of the public an enforceable right to access government information
  • providing access to government information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Macquarie University is committed to promoting clear, honest and open communication. Much information is openly accessible on the University’s website. If you cannot find the information you want by searching the website, you can:

  • contact the relevant area of the University directly
  • email the Right to Information officer at gipa@mq.edu.au.

The GIPA Act requires that Government agencies must put certain information on their websites to be available to the public, free of charge. This is known as ‘open access information’ and includes:

Macquarie University Agency Information Guide

The Macquarie University Agency Information Guide describes the various types of information Macquarie University holds and how these can be accessed.

As required under section 20 of the GIPA Act, the University reviews agency information annually and updates our guide. The Guide:

  • describes the structure and functions of the University
  • describes the ways in which the functions (including, in particular, the decision-making functions) of the University affect members of the public
  • specifies arrangements to enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of the University’s policy and the exercise of its functions
  • identifies the various kinds of government information held by the University
  • identifies the kinds of government information held by the University that the University makes (or will make) publicly available
  • specifies the manner in which the University makes (or will make) government information publicly available
  • identifies the kinds of information that are (or will be) made publicly available free of charge and those kinds for which a charge is (or will be) imposed.

University policies

Under the GIPA Act, policy documents must be made available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure (OPIAD). To determine if there is an OPIAD, the public interest test is applied (refer to the IPC guidelines for Public Interest Test).

After applying the public interest test, a University officer will determine whether:

  • a policy document may be made available with deletions, or
  • a policy document cannot be made publicly available because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Macquarie University will release information to people requesting it provided there is no overriding public interest against disclosure.

Generally, we try to release information we hold without the need for you to make a formal access application.

Informal requests

There is a large volume of information on the University’s website. If you cannot find what you are looking for on the website, you may make an informal GIPA request for specific information by contacting:

Formal requests

A formal access request provides the person making the application with a legally enforceable right to be provided with access unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosing the information. Your rights to accessing information are set out in the IPC Fact Sheet.

  • The fee for a formal access application is $30. This counts towards the first hour of processing time.
  • There is provision for a 50% discount of processing charges on hardship grounds or if the information is of special benefit to the public generally.
  • There may be processing charges of $30 per hour to cover the time taken to deal efficiently with the request. Up to 50% of any such extra charges may be payable in advance.
  • If you seek access to your own personal information, the first 20 hours of processing time are free of charge. These are standard fees, and the full conditions are set out on the IPC GIPA Fees and Charges page.

You will be notified whether your application is valid within five working days. In the case of a request deemed to be invalid, assistance will given to help you make the application valid.

The Right to Information Officer will undertake the necessary searches to provide you with the information you have requested, using the most efficient means available. The GIPA Act requires that information is released within 20 working days after the University receives your application, unless an extension is agreed.

How do I make a formal request?

A formal request may be made using the following options:

To make a formal access application, you must

  • apply in writing
  • state that you are seeking the information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
  • provide a postal address for return correspondence
  • give enough details about your request for the University to clearly identify the information you want, being as specific as possible
  • enclose an application fee of $30 (via cheque, money order or online payment. If you choose to pay online, please note your completed online payment in your application form).

Note: the application must be accompanied by the relevant fee.

For further advice on making a formal application contact gipa@mq.edu.au

The register of contracts records details of contracts between Macquarie and private parties valued at more than $150,000.

Macquarie University is required by the GIPA Act to maintain an openly accessible register of contracts to which it is a party and which have a value of $150,000 or more. The contracts that are required to be reported are those in which a party agrees to:

  • undertake a project (eg construction, infrastructure or property development)
  • provide specific goods or services (eg information technology services)
  • transfer real property to another party in the contract
  • lease real property.

The reporting requirements differ depending on the class of contract. For full details of the three classes, refer to division 5 of the Act.

Note: contracts of employment are not required to be reported. Some confidential information is not required to be included in the register of contracts, as set out in section 32 of the Act.

Contract information may be withheld from the register where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure (OPIAD). To determine if there is an OPIAD, the public interest test is applied.

Macquarie University is required by the GIPA Act to provide a disclosure log with details of information released under a formal access application. Where the information released may be of interest to other members of the public, the disclosure log will include the following details in relation to the application:

  • the date the access application was decided
  • a description of the information released
  • whether any of the information is available to other members of the public and, if so available, how it can be accessed.

All requests for access are recorded, but this openly accessible log does not provide details of requests for information that are not made publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure (OPIAD). To determine if there is an OPIAD, the public interest test is applied.

An applicant can object, when making an access application, or subsequently, to information concerning the application being included in the disclosure log.

The Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) is an independent statutory authority that administers legislation such as the GIPA Act.

The IPC:

  • has the power to review decisions made by the University and to deal with complaints
  • promotes public awareness and understanding of the right to information legislation
  • provides a range of resources and assistance to public agencies and the general public.

Find more information about the purposes of the GIPA Act on the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) website.

If you disagree with a reviewable decision made on an access application under the GIPA Act, you may have a right to appeal for the decision to be reviewed.

Reviewable decisions

A decision is reviewable under section 80 of the GIPA Act where the decision is:

  • that the access application is not valid
  • to transfer the access application to another agency (where Macquarie University determines the other agency holds the information requested)
  • to refuse to deal with the access application
  • to provide access or refuse to provide access
  • that government information is not held by Macquarie
  • that information applied for is already publicly available
  • to refuse to confirm or deny that information is held by Macquarie
  • to defer provision of access to information
  • to provide access to information in a particular way, or to not provide it in the way it was requested
  • to impose a processing charge or require an advance deposit on top of the access application fee
  • to refuse a request to reduce the processing change
  • to refuse to deal further with an access application where the applicant has failed to pay the requested advance deposit within the specified time, or
  • to include information in the Macquarie University disclosure log despite the applicant or consulted party’s objection.

Avenues for review

If you disagree with a reviewable decision, there are various options for appeal:

  • Internal review by Macquarie University
  • NSW Information Commissioner review
  • NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) review

Your review rights under the GIPA Act.

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Last updated: 13 Oct 2021