Right to Information at the University

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) facilitates access to information by public sector agencies in New South Wales, including the University of Sydney.

It may not be necessary for you to make an application for information under the GIPA Act. The University makes a great deal of information public, including its policies, annual reports and Open Access Information.

Staff and students can also access routine information like their staff record or student file without making an application under the GIPA Act. For more information about what students and staff can request outside of GIPA, click here.

If you would like to make an application for access to information (also known as a GIPA application) please first speak to one of the University's Right to Information Officers. RTIOs can provide information on the operation of the GIPA Act in the University.

How do I make a GIPA application?
Applications must be:

  • made in writing. This form is available;
  • include a postal address for correspondence;
  • include enough details to help the University identify the information requested; and
  • enclose the application fee of $30.

What fees are payable?
The GIPA application fee is $30. An application is not received by the University until the application fee has been received.

The preferred way of payment is by EFT:

Bank Account Name: THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
BSB: 082 372
Bank Account Number: 509 448 377
Name of Bank: NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK
Address of Bank: Wentworth Building G01, 174 City Road Darlington NSW 2006

Please describe the payment as “GIPA fee” and let a RTIO know when you have made the transfer.

Cheques or money orders should be made out to the University of Sydney and sent to: Archives A14, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006.

The application fee for personal affairs documents includes 20 hours processing time. Anything beyond this will be charged at $30 per hour if no reduction is applicable.

The application fee for non-personal information includes two hours processing time, after that there is an hourly processing charge of $30, assuming no reduction in fees.

Processing fees cover time for locating the information, decision-making, consultation where necessary and any copying.

Reductions of 50% in the processing charges are available in cases of financial hardship or special benefit to the public. The GIPA Application form includes further details about these reductions.

What will the University do when it receives my request?
We have a responsibility to deal with your request as soon as possible. Within 5 days the University will decide if your application is valid and you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt. If the University decides it is not valid you will be notified.

Our acknowledgement of a valid application will tell you:

  • the date by which the application will be decided (subject to any extension or suspension allowed by the GIPA Act);
  • that the application will be deemed to have been refused if not decided by that date;
  • a statement that information about your application may be made public in the University's disclosure log and that you may object to this. This statement is not required if the University considers it unlikely that information about the application will be included in the disclosure log; and
  • details of rights of review as directed by the NSW Information Commissioner.

The University must make a decision on your application within 20 working days. This time can be extended by up to 15 working days where consultation with a third party is necessary.

How will I receive the information that I have requested?
The University will either let you know when and where you can see the information or provide you with an electronic copy. If you have asked for access to information that is not in written form, such as video tapes, sound recordings or photographs, or computerised data, arrangements will be made for copies to be sent to you or for you to hear or view the material.

Can the University refuse to give me the information that I have requested?
Under the GIPA Act, the University must disclose or release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. When deciding whether to release information, the University must apply the public interest test contained in the GIPA Act. This means, it must weigh the factors in favour of disclosure against the public interest factors against disclosure. With the exception of applications where the processing would constitute a significant and unreasonable diversion of the University's resources, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, the University must provide the information.

If the University decides that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure it will tell you:

  • the reasons for its decision;
  • its findings on material questions of fact underlying the decision with references to sources for the finding; and
  • the format of the records held by the agency that contained the information.

Your right of Review
If you are unhappy with a decision of the University you may seek a review under Part 5 of the GIPA Act. There are three review options:

  • internal review by another officer of the University;
  • external review by the Information & Privacy Commissioner; or
  • external review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Internal Review
If you would like to request an internal review, you must make this request within 20 days of being told the University's decision. Requests for an internal review must be in writing. This form is available.

Internal reviews are conducted by an officer other than the one who made the initial decision. They will not report to the initial decision maker. The University must complete an internal review within 15 days of receiving it, which may be extended by up to 10 working days if further consultation is required.

There is an internal review application fee of $40. An application is not received by the University until the application fee has been received. There is no fee payable if the internal review is of a decision which was considered a deemed refusal, meaning the application was not decided in time.

Review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner
Applications for review by the Information & Privacy Commissioner must be made within 40 working days of receiving the University's decision.

The Commissioner can make recommendations, including that the University reconsider the matter. The University can reconsider an application regardless of whether or not it has conducted an internal review.

Further Information is available from the Information and Privacy Commission.

If you were consulted regarding the release of information and the University decided to release it contrary to your views you must seek internal review of the decision before going to the Information Commissioner.

Review by NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)
You must make an application for review by NCAT within 40 working days of the decision by the University, or 20 working days after a review by the Information & Privacy Commissioner. Please note that you do not need to request a review by the Information & Privacy Commissioner prior to making an application to the NCAT.

Further information is available on the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s website.