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Accessing University information

How you can access University information
Read about accessing University information, including how to make a right to information (GIPA) application or other statutory request, and the open-access information available on our website.

There are several ways that you can access University information depending on the type of information that you are seeking. This page provides information regarding the University's processes under NSW's right-to-information and privacy laws, as well as court processes such as subpoenas and warrants.

Right to information at the University

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act) 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 (also known as a GIPA application). The University makes a great deal of information public, including our policiesannual reports and open-access information

If you would like to make an application for access to information, please contact one of our right-to-information officers, who can provide information on the operation of the GIPA Act in the University.

Applications must:

  • be made in writing – GIPA application form (pdf, 68KB)
  • include a postal or email address for correspondence
  • include enough detail to help us identify the information requested
  • enclose the application fee of $30.

Email the completed form to gipa.enquiries@sydney.edu.au or post it to:

Right to Information
Archives and Records Management Services
The Quadrangle (A14)
Camperdown Campus
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

The GIPA application fee is $30. An application is not considered to have been received by the University until the application fee has been received.

The preferred way of payment is by electronic fund transfer:

  • 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 are to be made out to the University of Sydney and sent to:

Right to Information
Archives and Records Management Services
The Quadrangle (A14)
Camperdown Campus
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

The application fee includes 20 hours of processing time for personal information or two hours processing time for non-personal information. After that, there may be an hourly processing charge of $30 per hour.

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

The GIPA application form (pdf, 68KB) includes further information about charges.

The University has a responsibility to deal with your request as soon as possible. Within five days we will decide if your application is valid and you will be sent an acknowledgement of receipt. If we decide 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 we consider 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 up to 15 working days where consultation with a third party is necessary.

How information is provided

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 videotapes, 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.

Where the University refuses to provide requested information

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, we must apply the public interest test contained in the GIPA Act. This means we 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 our resources, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, we must provide the information.

If we decide that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, we will tell you:

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

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

Internal review

If you would like to request an internal review, you must make this request within 20 days of being told our decision. Requests for an internal review must be in writing. See the GIPA internal review application form (pdf, 59KB).

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. If the internal review is of a decision which was not decided in time, there is no fee payable.

Review by the NSW Information and Privacy Commissioner

Applications for review by the NSW Information and 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 NSW 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 an internal review of the decision before going to the Information Commissioner.

Review by NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)

Applications for review by NCAT must be made within 40 working days of the decision by the University, or 20 working days after a review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Please note that you do not need to request a review by the Information and Privacy Commissioner prior to making an application to the NCAT.

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

Other information requests

Under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) you have the right to access your personal information held by the University. If you believe that the information is inaccurate, not relevant to the purpose for which is was collected, not up to date or incomplete or misleading you have the right to apply to have it amended.

There is no fee for requests to access or amend records.

Court orders

Court orders (such as subpoenas) to produce documents on the University should be addressed to:

The Proper Officer
Archives and Records Management Services
Office of General Counsel
Level 1, Quadrangle (A14)
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

The Proper Officer does not accept service of subpoenas to attend to give evidence as such subpoenas must be served directly on the individual called upon to give evidence.

If a subpoena to give evidence is served on an individual within the University, and is relevant to the University, the individual should immediately contact OGC for advice and assistance in relation to the subpoena.

Release of third party information with consent

Requests for the release of personal information to a third party must be made in writing to the Proper Officer and enclose the consent of the subject of the information. Requests can be emailed to records.online@sydney.edu.au or sent by post to the above address.

The University may not provide the information where consent was given more than 12 months ago.

Statutory release of personal information to government agencies

Personal information may be disclosed to an Australian Commonwealth or state government agency following the receipt of a notice or request under the agency’s legislation. Such notices or requests should be addressed to the Proper Officer and specify the section of the act under which it is issued and clearly identify the information required to be produced. Notices or requests can be emailed to records.online@sydney.edu.au or sent by post to the above address.

Inquiries regarding access to University information under Part 6 of the State Records Act 1998 (NSW) are to be directed to the University’s senior archivist on university.archives@sydney.edu.au.

Open-access information at the University

Under the GIPA Act, the University is required to publish open-access information on our website unless to do so would impose unreasonable costs. The following open-access information is available free of charge.

The University is required to produce an Information Guide (pdf, 143KB) every 12 months that:

  • describes the structure and functions of the University and how its functions affect members of the public
  • specifies arrangements that enable members of the public to participate in the formulation of University policy and the exercise of its functions
  • identifies the various types of information held by the University and the kinds of information the University makes, or will make, publicly available
  • identifies the kinds of information that are, or will be, made publicly available free of charge and those kinds of information for which a charge is, or will be, imposed.

We review the Information Guide at the end of each year.

The contract register contains details of contracts between the University and private sector entities that have a value of $150,000 or more.

The register is divided into three classes of contracts: class 1 contracts (pdf, 243KB), class 2 contracts (pdf, 550KB), and class 3 contracts (pdf, 913KB). The level of detail to be reported varies with each class of contract and is governed by the GIPA Act. For more information regarding the contract classes and reporting requirements, see "Division 5" of the GIPA Act.

Examples of the contracted activities included in the register are:

  • projects such as construction, infrastructure or property development
  • the provision of goods or services such as information technology services
  • the transfer of real property
  • the lease of real property.

Some confidential information is not required to be included in the register, as set out in "Section 32" of the GIPA Act. Contracts of employment are not required to be reported.

Where the University considers that information released to an applicant following a formal access application under the GIPA Act would be of interest to other members of the public, we must provide the following details about the application in its disclosure log:

  • the date the access application was decided
  • a description of the information released
  • whether any of the information is available to other members of the public and if so, how this information can be accessed.

Records of disclosure logs are only retained for a five year period as required by the State Records Act 1998 (NSW).

Current disclosure logs available

The University's policy documents are available in our policy register.

Information about the University contained in any document tabled in the NSW Parliament on, or on behalf of, the University, can be found by searching the NSW Parliamentary website

In the last three years, the only documents tabled in the NSW Parliament have been the University's Annual Report.

The University is required to keep a record of any open-access information that is not publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure.

We have not made a decision that there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of any of our open-access information. Should such a decision be made it will be recorded here.