- What is public access to government information?
- Proactive release of Information
- Informal Release of Information
- How to make a formal access application
- Application fees and processing charges
- The Information Privacy Commission (IPC)
In this section:
What is public access to government information?
The objective of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) is to make government information more accessible to the public by requiring government agencies to make certain sorts of information freely available, encouraging government agencies to release as much other information as possible, giving the public an enforceable right to make access applications for government information, and restricting access to information only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
The GIPA Act provides that certain prescribed information must be made available free of charge on the NSW State Archives website. This includes the following “open access information”:
- Policy documents
- NSW State Archives’ disclosure log of access applications
- Information Guide
- NSW State Archives Register of Government Contracts (via the NSW Tenders website)
- Documents that are tabled in Parliament concerning NSW State Archives
- Major assets and acquisitions
- Properties disposed of by NSW State Archives
- Guarantee of services
- Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Record of open access information that is not made available to the public on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure
- Media releases
- DPE Proactive Release
We will proactively release as much information as possible. Sometimes this may not be possible, for instance, if the information concerns another party's affairs. You can ask what further information we will make available, in addition to the information already publicly accessible.
Corporate reporting, planning and policy
- Current Annual Report (and Activity Report)
- Past Annual Reports
- Strategic plan 2016 - 2021
- Board of NSW State Archives – minutes/meeting papers (available in hardcopy)
- Privacy management plan
Corporate information and communications (including information management and technology)
- Acceptable Usage Policy - Including network, computer systems and communication devices (PDF, 147kb)
- Information Security policy (PDF, 347kb)
- Records management policy
NSW State Archives complies with Personnel Policies released by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE). Below are listed NSW State Archives and records specific policies.
- Disclosure of personal information
- Managing Sick Leave Policy (released by NSW Treasury - circular no. NSWTC 14/13)
- Work Health and Safety Policy Statement (NSW State Archives and Records complies with DPE Work Health and Safety Policies however we have our NSW State Archives and Records Work Health and Safety Policy Statement)
- Volunteers, Use of
- Working on weekends
Providing services to the community
- Disability and Inclusion Plan (NSW State Archives and Records complies with the DPE plan)
- Multicultural Plan (NSW State Archives and Records complies with the DPE plan)
List of Agency’s major assets and major acquisitions during previous financial year (excluding land value)
- Buildings $47,503,000
Total number and value of properties disposed of by the Agency during the previous financial year
Guarantee of Service
NSW State Archives is committed to providing a quality service to all its clients. Our guarantee of serivce for: reading room; enquiries; copying; extension activities; publications, and; the website.
Code of Ethics and Conduct
The work that we do carries with it an obligation to act in the public interest. It requires standards of professional behaviour and conduct from all DPE employees that promote and maintain public confidence and trust in our Agency's work. The DPECode of Ethics and Conduct establishes a common understanding of the obligations and standards of conduct and behaviour expected of each of us.
Code of Ethics and Conduct (on the DPE website)
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), agencies are required to keep a record (a Disclosure Log) of information about formal applications it received under the GIPA Act.
The Disclosure Log sets out information that is released under the GIPA Act that may be of interest to members of the public. The log has details of how you can access the information.
Applications received in:
Proactive release of Information
Certain information will be available on our website and we will proactively release as much information as possible. Contact the Right to Information Officer if you are unsure where the information may be held. Includes our:
- Release of Information Policy Release of Government Information under the GIPA Act 2009
- Annual Report
- Our Code of Ethics and Conduct
- Our Strategic Plan - 2016 - 2021
- Rights and permission for using State archives
- DPE Proactive Release
Proactive release - Archives - Providing public access to State records
- Access Directions - Register
- Guides for the public on:
- Guides to State archives
- Outreach activities
- Rights and permissions
- Readers' ticket applications
Providing Services to the community
- Lending policy and procedure for exhibition curators
- Online Publication Policy
- Social Media Engagement Policy (in review)
Improving government recordkeeping/managing the State's archives
- Recordkeeping in the NSW public sector webpages (this includes all NSW State Archives' published standards, guidelines and codes of best practice relating to recordkeeping and archival management).
- Retention and Disposal authorities for the records of public offices
- The Designing and Implementing Recordkeeping Systems Manual (DIRKS) Manual - Strategies for Documenting Government Business
- Building the archives: Policy on records appraisal and the identification of State archives
Providing records storage services (Government Records Repository - GRR)
Informal Release of Information
You can ask for specific information on an informal basis. Contact the Right to Information Officer you think is likely to hold the information or if you are unsure where the information may be held.
If the information you are after has not already been published by NSW State Archives, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of possible public interest reasons why it should be kept confidential, then we may be able to release it to you on request without the formalities of having to make a formal application.
If you think this applies to the information you are after you can contact us to make an informal request.
Generally, we try to release information we hold without the need for you to make a formal access application, unless there are good reasons to require one.
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, however, Government agencies are not required to release information without an access application. NSW State Archives reserves the right to require you to lodge an access application, particularly if there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released or if you request a large volume of information or if it would otherwise take NSW State Archives a significant amount of time to consider your request.
We will give you a decision as quickly as possible. If we can't provide a final decision within 20 working days, we will let you know when you can expect one.
There is no right of review if you are not happy with an informal decision. If you make a formal application for the information, you will then have review rights.
How to make a formal access application
If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by NSW State Archives on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information. It may not be necessary to make a formal application. Under its policies and through its web sites and numerous other publications, many NSW State Archives documents are publicly available.
This is a last resort. You should first see what information is publicly available or will be made available. However, there may be public interest reasons why the information may not be released informally, or a third party will need to be consulted in relation to the release of their business or personal information, in which case a formal application should be lodged.
Public Access to Information Unit
GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001
The GIPA Act states that we are only able to accept access applications that:
- Are in writing and sent to us at the address above;
- Clearly state you are requesting information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009;
- Enclose the $30 application fee;
- Have a return postal address as the address for correspondence; and
- Include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are asking for.
If your application does not meet these five requirements it will be considered an invalid application and will not be processed. If that happens, however, the Department will let you know and will help you, if possible, by explaining how to meet these requirements.
Otherwise the Department will write acknowledging receipt of your valid access application within 5 working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extensions allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, the Department will let you know in writing.
Additional information on GIPA applications may be found on the Department of Planning and Environments website.
Application fees and processing charges
The application fee for making an access application is $30. Processing charges can also be imposed at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances an advance fee may be required. The Department will let you know in writing if that applies to your application.
Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds – for more details see the Information and Privacy Commission's Fact Sheets
The Information Privacy Commission (IPC)
The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) is an independent statutory authority comprising two public offices: the Information Commissioner and the Privacy Commissioner. Information and Privacy Commission.