Your rights

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
  • ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading, and
  • seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.

You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents, that are exempt. Exempt documents may include documents relating to national security, containing material obtained in confidence or subject to other types of exemptions set out in the FOI Act.

Documents available outside the FOI Act

You can get information about some AAT cases without following a formal process under the FOI Act. For more information, see our Access to information and documents in AAT cases page.

You should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI disclosure log to see if what you are seeking is already available.

How to make an FOI request

Your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • give us information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request
  • give us an address so we can reply to you.

If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, you need to give us a specific, written authority from that person to send copies of documents to you, or to allow you to inspect copies of documents containing information about the other person.

To make a request, you can use:

Where to send your FOI request

If your FOI request relates to a case in the Migration & Refugee Division, send your request to one of the addresses set out on the Migration & Refugee Division’s Freedom of Information page.

You can send any other FOI request to the AAT's FOI Contact Officer as follows:

By post GPO Box 9955
SYDNEY NSW 2001
By email foi@aat.gov.au
By fax 02 9276 5599

If you need help with your request, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 02 9276 5000 or by email at foi@aat.gov.au.

We collect and use your personal information to respond to your request under the FOI Act. We will only use or disclose your personal information for another purpose if it is permitted under the Privacy Act 1988. For more information, see our Privacy Policy which includes information about how you can access and seek correction of personal information we hold about you, make a complaint about the way we have handled your personal information and how we will deal with such a complaint.

Fees and charges

There is no application fee for an FOI request.

We do not charge you for processing requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you.

We may charge you processing fees for other requests. The most common charges are:

Activity item Charge
Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document $15 per hour
Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions First five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium

Note: transcripts are not available for Migration Division cases.

see Requesting a transcript’
Photocopy $0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer when you inspect documents, listen to or view an audio or visual recording at our premises $6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)
Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request Cost of postage or delivery

If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate that includes how it was calculated. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100 we may ask you to pay a $20 deposit, and where the estimated charge exceeds $100 we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.

You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you make such a request, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.

What you can expect from us

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request, if applicable. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining the decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or defer giving you access
  • we impose a charge
  • we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents containing information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider the decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another AAT officer. We will advise you of the new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The 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 from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner.  More information is available from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).