Freedom of Information

The objective of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) is to give the Australian community access to information held by the Australian Government.

The FOI Act aims to achieve this objective by:

  • requiring that agencies publish certain information on their websites
  • providing for a right of access to documents

Information Publication Scheme

Part 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) establishes an Information Publication Scheme (IPS) for Australian Government agencies that are subject to the FOI Act.  The IPS commenced on 1 May 2011 and requires the Australian War Memorial to publish a broad range of information on our website, and to make it available for downloading where possible.

The Memorial is also required to publish an Agency Plan that explains how we intend to implement the IPS.

Key parts of the IPS are:

Agency plan

Who we are

What we do

Routinely requested information and disclosure log

The Memorial’s policy is to publish information routinely requested by FOI applicants (excluding personal and business information) or routinely provided to Parliament on this website. If not published elsewhere on the website, such information may be available at the following link.

The Memorial is required to make some documents released in response to an FOI request available through its website. Information about the publication requirements and exceptions, and about how to obtain copies of any such documents, is available on the Memorial’s Disclosure log (160Kb PDF file)

Operational information

Contact us:

For information about access to the Memorial's information, please contact:

Executive Officer
Corporate Services
Australian War Memorial
executive@awm.gov.au
ph. +61 (02) 6243 4211

Right of access under the FOI Act

The FOI Act gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) that the Memorial holds
  • ask for information the Memorial holds about them to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • seek a review of a decision not to allow access to a document or not to amend their personal record.

The Memorial can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents, that are exempt from release.

How to make an FOI application

Applications for access to documents must:

  • be in writing (including email)
  • state that the application is made under the FOI Act
  • provide enough information concerning the documents sought as is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer of the department to identify them; and
  • give details of how notices may be sent to the applicant (for example, a postal or email address).

You can make an FOI application by email or pre-paid post:

Email: foi@awm.gov.au

Post:

Executive Officer
Corporate Services
Australian War Memorial
GPO Box 345
Canberra ACT 2601

The Memorial will assist you with your FOI request

If you require assistance with your FOI request, please contact the Executive Officer, Corporate Services. Under the FOI Act, the Memorial has an obligation to take reasonable steps to assist you to make a valid FOI request. If the Memorial believes your request should have been directed to another agency or Minister, the Memorial will take reasonable steps to assist you to direct your FOI request appropriately. 

What to expect from the Memorial once we receive your FOI request

The Memorial will deal with applications in accordance with the requirements of the FOI Act. The Memorial manages requests consistent with the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of the FOI Act.

When will the Memorial acknowledge a request?

The Memorial will acknowledge receipt of your FOI request within 14 days.

When will a decision be made?

The Memorial may be required to make a decision in relation to your FOI request and notify you of its decision within 30 days of receiving your FOI request.

However, there are various reasons why this time frame could be extended. These include:

  • Where consultation with a third party is required under the FOI Act, the Memorial will have an additional 30 days to make a decision
  • The Memorial may seek your written consent to extend the time for making a decision by up to 30 days
  • If your FOI request is complex or voluminous, the Memorial may apply to the Information Commissioner for an extension of time of 30 days or more to process your FOI request
  • If the Memorial makes a decision to impose a charge, the period for processing your FOI request may be extended.

Once a decision on your FOI request has been made, the Memorial will notify you in writing, if the Memorial decides not to grant you access in full to all documents that you have sought, will give you reasons for its decision and notify you of your review rights.

Which third parties might need to be consulted?

Sometimes the Memorial may need to consult a third party before making a decision in response to your request, such as:

  • A person whose personal information is contained in a document.
  • A person or business whose professional, business, commercial or financial affairs information is contained in a document
  • A State or Territory whose information is contained in a document.

If the Memorial consults a third party pursuant to the FOI Act, it is required to have regard to any submissions made by the third party.

Are there any charges?

There are no application fees for FOI requests, and no charges for requests to access an individual’s own personal information. In other cases it is possible the Memorial may charge. If so, the Memorial will write to you first and give you information about your rights to seek to have the charge reduced or not imposed.

Further information about FOI charges is available at www.oaic.gov.au.

What FOI Act exemptions might apply?

The Memorial is not required to provide you with access to:

The exemptions and conditional exemptions are set out in the FOI Act, which is available at www.comlaw.gov.au.  The |Australian Information Commissioner has issued Guidelines concerning the application of the FOI Act exemptions and conditional exemptions, available at www.oaic.gov.au.

When and how will any documents be provided?

Ordinarily the Memorial will provide you with copies of any documents released in response to your FOI request, once applicable charges (if any) are paid and provided there is no outstanding objection to release by a third party. If the Memorial decides that part of a document you seek is exempt or irrelevant, it may provide you with an edited copy. Sometimes the Memorial may also publish documents released in response to an FOI application on its disclosure log , but documents containing personal or business information will not be published.

What if you are not satisfied with a decision?

An applicant can ask for decisions refusing or deferring access to all or part of a document and to impose a charge to be reviewed. (A third party who disagrees with the Memorial's decision to provide access to documents that contain information about them can also ask for the decision to be reviewed.)

Internal review

Applicants can request in writing that the Memorial reconsider its decision through an internal review. You should request internal review within 30 days of being notified of an FOI decision, although the Memorial has a discretion to extend this time. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in the agency. The Memorial will advise of its new decision within 30 days of receiving a request.

Information Commissioner review

An applicant can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of receiving notice of the decision. (A third party who disagrees with the decision can also ask for a review within 30 days of being notified.)

The Australian Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision, or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at www.oaic.gov.au.

Review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If you do not agree with a decision of the Information Commissioner, you can request that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal review the decision.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way the Memorial has handled your FOI request, you may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner, who may investigate the Memorial's actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at www.oaic.gov.au.

Need more information?

For more information contact the Executive Officer, Corporate Services by email executive@awm.gov.au or by telephone on ph. +61 (02) 6243 4211.  

For more information about FOI generally, please refer to the FOI Guidelines and other information available from the Information Commissioner at www.oaic.gov.au.