Access Arrangements, Procedures and Points of Contact

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 there are four ways to obtain access to information.

Open access information

Agencies must disclose certain information, known as open access information, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.  Generally, open access information must be available on an agency's website, and at least one method of access must be free of charge.  Open access information includes, among other things:

  • A publication guide with information about an agency's structure and functions;
  • An agency's policy documents;
  • A disclosure log of information of general interest to the public that has been released under formal access applications;
  • A register of contracts with a value of more than $150,000 that an agency has entered into with private sector entities;
  • Information in documents tabled in Parliament by, or on behalf of, an agency;
  • A record of information that an agency will not make public because of an overriding public interest against disclosure;
  • A list of an agency's major assets, other than land holdings, highlighting major acquisitions during the previous financial year;
  • The total number and total value of properties disposed of by an agency during the previous financial year;
  • An agency's guarantee of service; and
  • An agency's code of conduct.

Proactive release

Apart from open access information, agencies are authorised to release as much other information as possible free of charge or at the lowest possible cost. Agencies must review the information they release proactively at least every 12 months.

Informal release of information

Members of the public may contact an agency and ask for information. This is known as an informal request. Agencies may release information informally, subject to any reasonable conditions.

Formal access application for release of information

If information cannot be accessed through any of the above ways, a formal access application may be necessary. A formal access application will be necessary if you are asking for a large volume of information; if providing access would involve an extensive search; or if the information you seek involves personal or business information about third parties. This is not an all-inclusive list of reasons. Applications must be in writing, and accompanied by a $20.00 fee. Processing charges of $30.00 per hour may also be levied, depending on the type and amount of information sought.

Other ways to access information

Personal information

It is a longstanding practice in Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) that some information may be available for access outside of legislative processes. Therefore, offenders wishing to obtain access to their personal information should initially direct their request to a staff member. It may be possible to provide access outside of the GIPA Act. For example, inmates may be able to read their case management file with the permission of the relevant officer in their correctional centre. Nevertheless, offenders who want to gain access to their personal information may need to make an application under the GIPA Act.

Generally, former inmates will be required to make an application under the GIPA Act unless they simply require a copy of their sentence details. Sentence details can be obtained outside of the GIPA Act from CSNSW's Sentence Administration Branch. The branch can be contacted on (02) 8346 1119.

Current and former staff members wishing to obtain access to their personal file must do so by contacting the relevant Human Resources Unit of CSNSW (access is granted according to the provisions of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Personnel Handbook).

In general, others seeking access to their personal information should make an application under the GIPA Act. The document, Public Access to Records, Information, Personal Information and Health Information, provides further information.

Information held in the Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy Library

The Brush Farm Corrective Services Academy Library (BFCSA) is open to members of the public who may view and photocopy records, within copyright guidelines. CSNSW records held by the Library include annual reports, research reports, issues of the Corrective Services NSW Bulletin and videos. Reference use of the library can be made available to bona-fide researchers, including students and members of the public when appropriate. External clients may be charged for some services. Enquiries to BFCSA can be made on (02) 9804 5459 or by email.

Access to all other CSNSW records

In some circumstances, a member of the public may need to make a formal access application under the GIPA Act to gain access to records held by CSNSW.

In some circumstances, an informal request for information, pursuant to section 8 of the GIPA Act may be made.

For both formal and informal requests for information, refer to the document Public Access to Records, Information, Personal Information and Health Information, which explains how a member of the public may obtain access to records, information, personal information and health information held by CSNSW or held on behalf of CSNSW by the State Records Authority of New South Wales.

On the home page for Open Access Information, there are links to information that is available free of charge. In addition, throughout this Internet site, there is information available free of charge to the public.

Procedures for lodging an access application under the GIPA Act

An access application under the GIPA Act for access to records held by CSNSW, must:

  • be in writing;
  • specify that it is made under the GIPA Act;
  • be accompanied by the appropriate application fee;
  • contain information necessary to identify the records of interest;
  • specify an address in Australia to which notices under the GIPA Act may be sent;
  • be lodged at the office of the Manager, Information Access and Privacy Unit.

An applicatio​n form may be used or an application may be in the form of a letter that meets the above criteria.

GIPA Act applicants seeking records containing their personal information, who are not currently NSW offenders or who are not represented by a solicitor, are required to provide proof of identity. Details can be obtained by contacting the Manager, Information Access and Privacy Unit or reading the document, Information Access and Privacy Unit Proof of Identity Policy available on this website.

Application fees and processing charges are as follows:

Personal Applications: $20.00* application fee + $30.00* per hour processing charge after the first 21 or 22 hours;

Non-Personal Applications: $20.00* application fee + $30.00* per hour processing charge after the first 1 or 2 hours;

Internal Review: $20.00* application fee

* 50 percent reduction in cases of financial hardship and public interest requests.

To make an appointment in order to provide proof of identity documents or to lodge an application, call the Information Access and Privacy Unit between 8.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday on:

  • (02) 8346 1067;
  • (02) 8346 1359;
  • (02) 8346 1329;
  • (02) 8346 1476.

The postal address for the Unit is GPO Box 31, Sydney 2001. The fax number is (02) 8346 1976.

You can find out more about your right to information and new ways to access NSW government information on the Office of the Information Commissioner (OIC) website at www.oaic.nsw.gov.au. 

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