The broad objective of the FOI Act is to give the public the right to access documents held by the Australian Government. As a prescribed authority under the FOI Act, NHFIC is required to comply with this Act.
The FOI Act gives members of the public the right to:
• access copies of documents (except exempt documents) held by NHFIC;
• ask NHFIC to change or annotate information if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading (where the information relates to the person making the request); and
• seek a review of a decision not to allow access to a document or not to amend their personal records.
While a member of the public can ask to access any document held by NHFIC, NHFIC can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Under Division 1, Part II of Schedule 2 of the FOI Act, exempt documents include documents in respect of NHFIC’s commercial activities. Exempt documents may also include documents relating to national security or documents containing material obtained in confidence.
Compliance with the FOI Act
As a corporate Commonwealth entity, NHFIC is a prescribed authority that is subject to the FOI Act.
NHFIC is also required to comply with the Information Publication Scheme (IPS) requirements of the FOI Act. In accordance with section 8(1) of the FOI Act, NHFIC’s IPS Plan describes how NHFIC complies with the IPS and how it will implement and administer the IPS.
This policy sets out the principles NHFIC will follow in order to make information accessible in accordance with the FOI Act.
NHFIC has appointed NHFIC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as the first point of contact for information access requests made to NHFIC. All information access related matters should be referred to NHFIC’s CEO.
In undertaking these functions, NHFIC’s CEO will follow NHFIC procedures for handling information requests and will be guided by the resources published by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
All NHFIC staff must follow NHFIC procedures when handling information requests.
NHFIC’s CEO can be contacted via an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or by a letter addressed to the CEO sent to Level 10, Export House, 22 Pitt Street, Sydney.
NHFIC Information Publication Scheme
As required by the FOI Act, NHFIC has an IPS Plan. NHFIC’s IPS Plan is set out at Annexure A and will be available on NHFIC’s website.
NHFIC Information Disclosure Log
In compliance with the FOI Act, NHFIC will make certain documents released in response to FOI requests available on its website.
Open access to information
While NHFIC will endeavour to be as open as possible, there are certain provisions in the FOI Act, the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act) and other legislation that may restrict the information NHFIC may be able to provide to applicants. For example, if a person seeks a document containing the personal information of another person, there are provisions in the FOI Act and the Privacy Act that apply to protect that information.
Relevantly, Division 1, Part II of Schedule 2 of the FOI Act, in conjunction with s 7(2) of the FOI Act, exempts NHFIC from the operation of the FOI Act in relation to documents in respect of its commercial activities.
Where NHFIC is unable to grant a request for access to information, NHFIC will always explain the reasons for the decision and provide information about review and appeal rights.
Information available outside of the FOI process
NHFIC is committed to keeping its IPS and Information Disclosure Log as up-to-date as possible and will, where it is possible and lawful to do so, provide information without requiring a formal FOI request.
Where it is necessary for an FOI request to be made, or where a member of the public refers to the process, NHFIC will explain its FOI process, provide a contact person for the information applicant, and respond within the timeframes required by the FOI Act.
An FOI request may be made to NHFIC via an email sent to email@example.com or by a letter addressed to the CEO, referring to the FOI Act, sent to Level 10, Export House, 22 Pitt Street, Sydney.
Simple and transparent process
NHFIC will ensure that its process for providing access to information is straightforward, timely and easy for people to understand.
NHFIC will always provide information applicants with details of their review options:
• with the NHFIC;
• to the OAIC; or
• to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.
Charges associated with access to information
NHFIC will make information available at the lowest reasonable cost and will reduce the cost of public access by publishing information on its website, especially information that is routinely sought by the public.