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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1991 aims to make the business of government open and accountable to the public. The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) fully supports the objectives and spirit of the Act, and is active in its endeavours to continually improve access to records of government.


General overview

The Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the Act) gives you a legal right to:

  • request access to documents held by state government agencies, government ministers, local councils or state universities
  • request the amendment of documents about you which are incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading
  • seek a review of a decision made by a state government  agency, government minister, local council or university.

State Records of South Australia assists the minister responsible for the Act administer the legislation and provides general advice to members of the public and to government agencies.

A comprehensive overview of how freedom of information operates in South Australia is available from State Records, including:


AGD information statement

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 9 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 1991, 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 Government of South Australia. 

An introduction to freedom of information (FOI) is provided by State Records.


AGD structure and functions

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 organisational structure (PDF 77KB) - information about individual business units and offices
  • for a description of the way in which the functions of AGD affect the public please refer to services and support which explains how the department interacts with the community
  • there are no formal arrangements which enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of the department’s policies and the exercises of the agency’s functions. From time to time consultation is undertaken when it is deemed appropriate to engage the public in the formulation of specific policy. For more information see AGD projects and consultations

Exempt agencies

The following business units of AGD are exempt from FOI under Schedule 2 of the Act:

  • the Attorney-General (for matters related to enforcement of criminal law)
  • the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption
  • the Office for Public Integrity
  • the Solicitor-General, Crown Solicitor, Director of Public Prosecutions and Commissioner for Victim’s Rights
  • the Ombudsman 
  • the Public Trustee when undertaking functions as executor, administrator or trustee.

Judical functions of courts and tribunals

 The Act does not apply to the judicial functions of courts and tribunals (s6).

 The following business units of AGD are subject to s6 of the Act:

  • South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT)
  • South Australian Employment Tribunal (SAET)
  • Workers Compensation Tribunal.

Documents held within AGD

Documents held by 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 (a list of AGD corporate policies can be accessed here:AGD corporate policies (Word 329 KB)
  • 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
  • investigation files for work health safety matters.

Documents available from the agency

Free of charge

The following types of documents are publicly available free of charge and/or are published on agency's websites and are available by contacting the individual agencies:

  • brochures
  • pamphlets
  • posters
  • information packs
  • applications forms for services
  • discussion papers
  • strategic plans
  • newsletters
  • fact sheets
  • crime statistics
  • media releases
  • annual reports
  • SA Legislation - www.legislation.sa.gov.au.

For purchase

Some AGD business units have documents available for purchase. A fact sheet containing a list of documents available for purchase and instructions on how to purchase (including contact details) can be downloaded here - Documents for purchase (Word 330KB)


Making an application for access to documents

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 - FOI application form - request for access to documents (PDF 211KB)
  • 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
  • you may be asked to provide evidence of your identity.

Making an application to amend a document

Applications can be made to amend a record held by the agency concerning personal affairs if they are incomplete, incorrect, misleading or out of date.

In accordance with the Act, applications for amendment of documents held by an agency must:


Application to review a determination under FOI

If you are refused access to all or part of a document that you requested access to, you will be informed of the reasons why and advised of your rights to seek a review or appeal.

You can also seek a review or appeal if you have applied for your personal records to be amended under FOI and amendment has been refused.

You can download the application for review of an FOI determination (decision) from the link below:

FOI - your rights to review and appeal (PDF 214 KB)

Contact details for Ombudsman SA

Phone: 8226 8699
Toll Free: 1800 182 150 (within SA)
Email: ombudsman [at] ombudsman.sa.gov.au

Contact details for South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT)

Phone: 1800 723 767
Email: sacat [at] sacat.sa.gov.au


Where to send applications

Forward applications under the Act to:

The Accredited FOI Officer
Attorney-General’s Department
GPO Box 464
South Australia 5001

DX336

Email:  freedomofinformation [at] sa.gov.au


Payment options

You can pay your application fee by:

  • cheque or money order (include with your application)
  • credit card
  • EFT.
IMPORTANT: Once your payment by EFT or credit card has been processed, you must notify AGD Finance by emailing bfs [at] sa.gov.au. Processing your application will not commence until confirmation of your payment has been received.

Credit card

Enter your payment and card details and confirm the correct amount is paid to ensure your application is processed promptly. 

EFT

Please include “FOI-your name” in the bank reference field.

Commonwealth Bank
AGD Corporate Account
BSB: 065-266
Account No: 10019434


Contact an accredited FOI officer

Phone: 08 8207 1555
Availability: 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday to Friday

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