Freedom of Information

By law, you have the right to apply for access to documents held by the Western Australian State Government. These documents can be of a personal or non-personal nature. Find out more about your rights and how to apply for information.

Freedom of Information Act 1992

The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 (FOI Act) gives you the right to apply for access to documents held by State Public Sector agencies, including government departments, local authorities and ministers. These documents can contain personal or non-personal information.

To assist you in your application a brief overview(PDF, 170KB) is available that describes some parts of the Freedom of Information Act 1992.

To assist potential applicants an Information Statement(PDF, 1MB) has also been published in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1992.  It details information made available to the public outside of the FOI process.

Personal information is information about yourself and non-personal information is information about other people.

Any member of the general public has the right to apply for access to these documents, no matter what their reasons. In addition, you're not required to demonstrate or explain your reasons for wanting access to the documents.

Agencies are required to assist you to gain access to documents at the lowest reasonable cost and to ensure that the personal information held is accurate, complete, current and not misleading.

The kinds of documents you can request access to include paper files, computer records, maps, plans, photographs, tape recordings, films, video tapes and electronically stored information.

How to apply

There are four steps you need to follow to apply for access to information:

  1. Your application(PDF, 137KB)  must be in writing and addressed to the agency concerned. Most agencies have a person nominated as the FOI Coordinator who can assist you. For convenience, you can email, post or fax your application.
  2. You must identify or describe the documents concerned. Alternatively, if you're applying for an amendment of personal information about yourself, you must provide details to show how or why the agency's records are inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.
  3. You must give an address in Australia where notices can be sent. If possible, include your contact details (e.g. telephone number or email address), so the agency can contact you if necessary.
  4. You must pay an application fee of $30 if the documents contain non-personal information. Access to personal information about yourself is free.

If you're financially disadvantaged or have a current pensioner concession card, you may be entitled to a 25% reduction in the total cost. However, this reduction doesn't apply to the $30 application fee.

Under s17 of the FOI Act 1992, the City of Swan must give an applicant an estimated cost if the cost for managing the application exceeds $25. An advance deposit of 25% of the estimated cost may be required as a sign of good faith that full payment will be provided once the Notice of Decision is issued.

A Notice of Decision will include details such as the date the decision was made, the name of the officer who made the decision, the reason why a document is considered exempt or the fact that access is given to an edited document and information on rights of review of a decision and procedures to exercise those rights.

Access to documents is either by inspection of the documents or the supply of a copy of the document(s), audio or video tape, computer disk or a transcript of a recording or shorthand or encoded document form which words can be produced.

More information

If you need more information about the FOI Act, please contact:

Office of the Information Commissioner
Albert Facey House
469 Wellington Street
PERTH  WA  6000

Telephone: (618) 6551-7888

Facsimile: (618) 6551-7889

email: info@foi.wa.gov.au