Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the Act) gives members of the public a legally enforceable right of access (subject to certain restrictions) to documents within the possession of South Australian government agencies, local government authorities and South Australian Universities. The purpose of the Act is to make the business of government open and accountable to the public. The department fully supports the objectives and spirit of the Act and is active in its endeavours to continually improve records management practices.
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 9 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the Act), the following details are provided as part of the Information Statement of the Attorney-General’s Department which is an agency as defined under Section 4 (1) (e) of the Act. Subject to certain restrictions, the Act gives members of the public a legally enforceable right to access information held by the South Australian Government.
An introduction to freedom of information (FOI) is provided by State Records.
Structure and functions
The AGD consists of a number of business units. This includes independent statutory offices and statutory bodies. For more information see:
- The most recent annual report - contains a comprehensive description of the structure and functions of AGD.
- AGD Directories - information about individual business units and offices.
The following business units of the AGD are exempt from FOI under Schedule 2 of the Act:
- The Attorney-General (for matters related to enforcement of criminal law).
- The Solicitor-General, Crown Solicitor, Director of Public Prosecutions and Commissioner for Victim’s Rights.
- The Ombudsman and Police Complaints Authority.
- The Public Trustee when undertaking functions as executor, administrator or trustee.
Documents held within the AGD
Documents held by the AGD fall broadly into the categories described below. While most are available in hard copy, it should be noted that some are only available electronically. The listing of these categories does not necessarily mean all documents are accessible in full or in part under the Act.
The categories include:
- Corporate files containing correspondence, memoranda and minutes on all aspects of the department's operations.
- Policies, procedures and guidelines prescribing the way various activities and programs are to be performed.
- Personnel files relating to the department's employees.
- Accounting and financial reports relating to the running of the department.
- Departmental annual reports, strategic plans and policy reports.
- Minutes of meetings and terms of reference.
- Documents relating to the functions of the department's divisions and statutory authorities.
Documents available from the agency
The following types of documents are made available free of charge and are available by contacting the individual groups:
- information packs
- applications forms for services
- discussion papers
- strategic plans
- fact sheets
- crime statistics
- media releases.
Some AGD business units have documents available for purchase. As a general rule, contacting business units (as listed in the Adelaide and various country White Pages) direct or searching their websites can assist with information regarding applying for documents.
Making an application
In accordance with the Act, applications for access to documents held by an agency must:
- Be made in writing (you may chose to write a letter or use the application form - freedom of information request for access.
- Specify that the application is made under the Freedom of Information Act 1991.
- Be accompanied by the application fee (exemptions apply for Members of Parliament and pensioners or health care card holders).
- Specify an address in Australia to which information can be sent.
- Clearly identify the documents being sought or the matter to which they pertain.
- Specify whether the documents contain information of a personal nature.
- Specify the desired type of access to the document, such as inspection of the document at an arranged location or having a copy made.
Where to send applications
Forward applications under the Act to:
The Accredited FOI Officer
GPO Box 464
South Australia 5001
For more information phone the Accredited FOI Officer on (08) 8207 1972.