Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), anyone can seek access to documents held by the OTA.
The broad objective of the FOI Act is to give the Australian community access to information held by the Government of the Commonwealth.
How to make a request for access to documents under the FOI Act
Requests made under the FOI Act must be in writing and:
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
- provide such information concerning the document that will allow the department to identify it
- provide detail of how notices provided by the department in relation to the FOI request can be sent to the applicant.
FOI requests to the department should be sent to:
The Freedom of Information Coordinator
Organ and Tissue Authority
PO Box 802
CANBERRA ACT 2601
FOI requests may also be lodged by email to email@example.com.
Processing FOI requests
Upon receipt of your FOI request, the OTA will provide you with an acknowledgement of receipt within 14 days. In accordance with the FOI Act, a decision must be notified to the FOI applicant within 30 days of receipt. However, as some documents may be subject to a third-party consultation process, the FOI Act provides agencies with the right to extend the applicable timeframe by an additional 30 days. If consultation is required, you will be informed accordingly.
Fees and charges
FOI requests do not require an application fee.
The FOI Act provides that additional charges may be imposed for processing requests (except where you are seeking documents containing your own personal information). Should your FOI request incur charges, you will be provided with an estimate of the applicable costs. Your request will not proceed until a response to the estimate is received by the agency.
OTA may decide to remit, reduce or not impose processing charges under certain circumstances.
Following the receipt of the decision on access, you are entitled to seek an internal review of the decision. If you wish to utilise this option, you are required to write to the FOI coordinator within 30 days of being notified of the decision.
Alternatively, you may write to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) seeking a review of the agency’s decision. This can be done as a result of either the initial decision or the internal review decision.
Subsequent review of the options after internal review and OAIC review are also available. The complete process for seeking a review on access is provided in the decision letter sent to you at the completion of your request.
If you require more information, please contact the Freedom of Information Contact Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the OTA on (02) 5156 6662.
Information Publication Scheme and Agency Plan
Information Publication Scheme
Reforms to the FOI Act in 2010 promote a pro-disclosure culture across government and build a stronger foundation for greater openness and transparency in government.
The reforms introduced a new information publication scheme for Australian Government agencies. The scheme aims to transform the freedom of information framework from one that responds to individual requests for access to documents to one that requires agencies to take a proactive approach to publishing information.
Information Publication Scheme Plan
The OTA has prepared this agency plan in accordance with section 8(1) of the FOI Act.
Part II of the Act, which deals with the Information Publication Scheme (the scheme), came into effect on 1 May 2011.
All references to sections in this plan are to sections of the FOI Act.
The primary purpose of this plan is to comply with section 8(1).
Under section 8(1), the plan must show:
- what information the OTA proposes to publish for the purposes of Part II of the Act
- how, and to whom, the OTA proposes to publish information for the purposes of Part II; and
- how the OTA otherwise proposes to comply with Part II.
The plan will help the OTA to put appropriate procedures in place to proactively disclose its information holdings, in accordance with the objects of the Act.
The OTA's objectives in relation to this plan are to outline appropriate mechanisms and procedures to:
- manage the OTA's information holdings relevant to the scheme
- proactively identify and publish all information required to be published, including this plan (in accordance with section 8(2))
- review and ensure on a regular basis that information published by the OTA under the scheme is accurate, up-to-date and complete (in accordance with section 8B)
- ensure that information published under the scheme is able to be discovered by the general public, is understandable and re-useable and is accessible to a wide range of people, including people with disabilities; and
- assess the effectiveness of the OTA's implementation of the scheme.
Establishing and administering the scheme
The Chief Operating Officer is responsible for leading the OTA’s work on implementing freedom of information (FOI) reforms generally. This includes establishing, developing and maintaining the scheme within the OTA in accordance with any assistance or guidelines provided by the Information Commissioner, and ensuring that all requests for access to documents are processed in accordance with the Act.
The Chief Operating Officer is supported by the Director, Governance and Parliamentary for overall management and governance of FOI matters.
As new processes are developed for managing information and internet material, the Director will work with relevant line areas to integrate the IPS management into the management frameworks and will update the Plan accordingly.
To ensure ongoing satisfaction with the scheme's requirements, the OTA will regularly:
- review existing information held by the OTA to determine whether further material should be made publicly available as part of the scheme
- review existing information held by the OTA that is routinely provided to Parliament in response to requests and orders
- determine what additional information should be published to satisfy the requirements of section 8(2).
Any information that is identified by the OTA as part of this exercise will be published in accordance with the requirements of the scheme.
The OTA will develop and maintain a disclosure log of information released in response to FOI requests in accordance with the requirements of section 11C of the Act.
The OTA will publish on its website information for the Scheme that is available to members of the public generally in accordance with sections 8D(2) and 8D(3).
In accordance with section 8D(3), the OTA will publish information on the website by:
- making the information available for downloading from the website
- for those documents that are not currently available on the website, by publishing on the website details of how the information may be obtained.
The OTA will publish the information in PDF format and in English.
Information to be published
The OTA will publish the following information in accordance with section 8(2):
- this Plan (as required under section 8(2)(a))
- information about the OTA, and links to existing publicly available information where appropriate (as required under sections 8(2)(b) and (8(2)(d))
- the OTA's organisational chart
- details of appointments of officers that are made under Acts (other than the Public Service Act 1999)
- information about what the OTA does, including details of the functions of the OTA, its decision-making powers, other powers affecting members of the public, and operational information (as required under sections 8(2)(c) and 8(2)(j))
- a list of matters dealt with by the OTA, including providing a link to the Administrative Arrangements Orders
- information to assist members of the public to comply with statutory requirements
- reports and responses to Parliament (as required under sections 8(2)(e) and 8(2)(h))
- the OTA’s Annual Report
- file lists prepared in response to Senate Order No 8: Production of departmental file lists
- contract lists prepared in response to Senate Order No 9: List of departmental contracts ($100,000 or more)
- information in documents to which the OTA routinely gives access in response to requests for access to documents (as required under section 8(2)(g)) and information published under section 11C
- contact details for an officer (or officers) of the OTA who can be contacted about access to the OTA's information or documents under the Act (as required under section 8(2)(i)), including the telephone number and email address of the FOI Contact Officer.
Other information to be published
The OTA will publish on its website other information that it holds (in addition to the information published under section 8(2), taking into account the objects of the Act (section 8(4)).
The OTA will undertake, in conjunction with the Information Commissioner, a first review of the operation of the Information Publication Scheme within the timeframes set out in section 9(2) of the Act.
Following this first review, the OTA will undertake, in conjunction with the Information Commissioner, a review of the operation of the scheme:
- as appropriate from time to time
- in any case – within 5 years after the last time a review was completed.
Freedom of Information disclosure log
The OTA is required by section 11C of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (link) to publish a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log lists information that has been released in response to an FOI access request.
The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:
- personal information about any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.
Information attached to, or referred to, in the OTA disclosure log will generally be removed after 12 months, unless the information has enduring public value.
FOI reference number
Date of access
Summary of FOI request