You can formally request access to documents we hold under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). We can also give you information about some AAT cases without a formal request under the FOI Act.

Access to documents outside the FOI Act

Check Access to information and documents in AAT cases to find out if you can access information without making a formal FOI request.

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.

Your FOI rights

The FOI Act gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents we hold, except exempt documents
  • ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • 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:

  • relate to national security
  • contain material obtained in confidence
  • be subject to other types of exemptions set out in the FOI Act.

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 documents you wish to access so that we can process your request
  • give us an address so we can reply to you.

To make a request, you can use:

If the FOI request is on behalf of another person or you are requesting access to information about other people, please complete our written form.

Where to send an FOI request

If you do not use the online form and the FOI request is about a migration or refugee decision, email mrdivision@aat.gov.au, or check our contact details to send the request to one of our registries.

Other FOI requests can be sent via:

Post

GPO Box 9955
SYDNEY NSW 2001

Email

foi@aat.gov.au

Fax

02 9267 5599

If you need help with your request, please call 02 9276 5000 or email 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. Check our Privacy Policy for more information.

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. $4.40 per page of 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 might ask you to pay a $20 deposit. Where the estimated charge exceeds $100 we might 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 might need to provide evidence.

Processing FOI requests

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request and give you our decision within 30 days, unless that time has been extended.

If a document contains information about a third party, we might need to consult with them and extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days.

If your request is complex we might seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days or apply to the Australian Information Commissioner for an extension of time.

Appeal or review rights

You can ask for a review of our decisions where we:

  • refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or defer giving you access
  • impose a charge
  • 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.

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 the request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original FOI 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).

Complaints

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