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To lodge a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, visit the Victorian Government's FOI website. It outlines the steps for making an FOI request from preparing an application to identifying where the request should be sent.
The site also defines what type of document is covered by the Act, answers commonly asked questions, suggests links to relevant legislative websites, and provides contact details for relevant government agencies.
If you wish to access documents in Business Victoria, under the FOI Act, contact the Freedom of Information Team at the Department of Business and Innovation (DBI). They will provide information about:
- completing and lodging a request under the FOI Act
- unpublished material listed in the Department's annual report
- Part II of the FOI Act
Freedom of Information Officer
Level 31,121 Exhibition St, Melbourne
VIC, 3000, AUS
Tel: (+61 3) 9651 9749
- What is the aim of the FOI Act?
- What does the FOI Act cover?
- Are documents requested under FOI automatically released?
- Who are the decision makers under the FOI Act?
- How do I lodge an FOI request?
- Where can I find out more about FOI?
- Where can I access information about specific areas of responsibility of the Department?
Victoria's Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives members of the public the right to apply for access to information held by Ministers, State Government departments, local councils, public hospitals, most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities.
The FOI Act allows people to apply for access to all documents held by an agency, irrespective of how the documentation is stored. This includes, but is not limited to, paper and electronic documents. Assistance in determining documents relevant to a request can be provided by the Department's FOI Unit.
In assessing whether it is suitable to release documents, the FOI Officer considers whether any material requested is exempt from release under the FOI Act. The FOI Act outlines general categories of information that are exempt. These include information relating to the personal affairs of third parties, information provided in confidence, information which if released might endanger the lives or physical safety of individuals, cabinet documents, commercial-in-confidence information, internal working documents which if released would be contrary to the public interest, and so on.
Decisions are made under the FOI Act by the Secretary of the Department, or in line with arrangements made by the Secretary as required under Sections 26 and 51 of the FOI Act.
Decision-making powers and other powers affecting members of the public are found in the legislation administered by the portfolio Ministers. Acts administered by the portfolio Ministers are listed in the Department's annual report.
- A request must be made in writing and should be addressed to the DBI Principal Officer FOI Act at the Contact details provide above. Alternatively, requests can be lodged online at the FOI website.
- All FOI requests are subject to a $20.50 application fee. This fee may be waived in cases where payment would cause an applicant financial hardship. Where an applicant seeks a waiver of this fee, the request should indicate the grounds on which a waiver is being sought (for example, low income or holder of Commonwealth Health Care Card). Access charges may also apply once documents have been processed and a decision on access made; for example, 20c per A4 page photocopying charge and a $20 per hour search and retrieval charge. It should be noted that, under certain circumstances, some of these charges can be waived.
- A FOI request must be specific enough to allow an agency to identify documents considered relevant to a request. Where the terms of a request are vague, assistance will be provided to applicants to help determine the type of documentation being sought.
General information about making FOI requests is available at the FOI website.
This website and the annual report provide information about all areas of the Department.
The Department's Business Information and Resource Unit, and Business Centre, maintain a comprehensive collection of publications and other materials about government business programs and policy statements.
Information relating to business services offered by the Department is also available at several metropolitan, regional, interstate and overseas offices and through the Business Information Line. Contact details can be found on the Department's website and the annual report.
Members of the general public can also ring or write directly to the Department seeking information on any aspect of its operations, including unpublished material listed in the Department's annual report. The correspondence can be addressed to either the Secretary of the Department or the director of the relevant business unit. Guidance on the relevant business unit can be taken from the Department's organisation chart contained in the annual report.