Australian Law/Freedom of Information/Commonwealth/Process

This page sets out the distinct stages in the process of making and determining a request for access to documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth). Suppose you had a filing system for FOI requests with a 'status' field for each request; the value of that field would be something from the list below.

This page uses the term 'agency' to cover both 'agency' and 'Minister'. 'IC' is the Australian Information Commissioner. 'AAT' is the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Stage Legislation FOI Guidelines
Applicant makes application s 15 ...
Agency acknowledges receipt of request s 15(5)(a)
Request waits to be allocated to FOI officer N/A
Agency works on request N/A -
Applicant decides whether to grant extension of time s 15AA
IC decides whether to grant extension of time (complex/voluminous) s 15AB
Commonwealth consults a State s 26A
Agency consults person whose business information is in documents s 27
Agency consults person whose personal information is in documents s 27A
Agency makes preliminary assessment of charge s 29(1)
Applicant contests charge s 29(1)(f)
Agency decides charge s 29(4)-(8)
Applicant pays deposit s 31(2)
Applicant pays charge s 11A(1)(b)
Agency defers access s 21
Applicant decides whether to request internal review s 54B
Application for internal review waits for allocation s 54C(2)
Agency makes fresh decision on request s 54C
Applicant decides whether to request IC review s 54N
IC decides whether to conduct IC review s 54W
IC decides on IC review s 55K
Parties decide whether to appeal to Federal Court or request review by AAT ss 56, 57A
Federal Court appeal (and appeals therefrom, etc) s 56
AAT review (and appeals therefrom, etc) s 58
Agency provides access to documents s 20
Agency publishes information from documents on Disclosure Log (excluding any personal or business information of the applicant contained in the documents) s 11C
Applicant complains to IC, Ombudsman, the Senate and the United Nations Human Rights Committee TBC
Applicant blogs N/A
Application is done with N/A