About making applications under the Government Information (Public Access) Act
What sort of information can I ask for?
You can ask for any kind of personal or non-personal information. Personal information includes your academic records, health, welfare and superannuation records, and examination and training records. Non-personal information includes material about the University's functions and activities, management and administrative records. Information can be in the form of certificates, files, computer printouts, maps, films, photographs, tape recordings and video recordings.
The University makes a great deal of non-personal information public through its websites and other publications. Staff and students can access their routine staff or student file without a formal application. It is always wise to speak to the Right to Information Officers before making an application.
Making a formal request:
An application form is available here. It must be accompanied by the correct fee. (see below)
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 alowed by the 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);
- 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 15 working days where consultation with a third party is necessary.
How will I receive the information that I have requested?
If the information you request is in hard copy format, we will either let you know when and where you can see the document or provide you with a copy, either hardcopy or electronic. 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 or for you to hear or view the material.
How much will it cost me to make a request for Information?
The application fee is fixed under the Act at $30. 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 as set out in the application form.
How do I pay?
The preferred way 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 us know when you have made the transfer.
Cheques or money orders should be made out to the University of Sydney and sent to our postal address: Archives A14, University of Sydney, 2006.
Can the University refuse to give me the Information I request?
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (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 Act. This means, it must weigh the factors in favour of disclosure against the public interest factors against disclosure. Unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, the University must provide the information.
There are some limited exceptions to this general rule, for example where dealing with an application would constitute a significant and unreasonable diversion of the University's resources.
If the University were to decide that there was an overriding public interest against disclosure it would tell you the reasons for its decision, findings on material questions of fact underlying the decision with references to sources for the finding and the general nature and format of the records held by the agency that contained the information.
What if I want to correct the University's records about me?
Applications to amend University records about you which you consider are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading must be made under the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act. This will take you to the application form.