Submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) access application

Freedom of Information gives the public a right to access government documents, subject to some limitations.

Freedom of Information Act 1992 

Under the Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act) you have a right to be given access to documents held by Western Australian State and local Government agencies subject to some limitations.

The FOI Act applies to Western Australian government agencies:

  • government departments
  • Ministers
  • local councils
  • public hospitals
  • public schools, universities and TAFEs
  • statutory authorities

Applications for documents under the FOI Act should be made directly to the agency you believe holds the documents.

Under the FOI Act, applications can also be made for amendment of an applicant's personal information, if that information is inaccurate, incomplete, out-of-date or misleading.  For information about making an amendment application see Amendment of personal information.

Making an FOI access application

Under section 12 of the FOI Act, your application has to:

  • be in writing;
  • give enough information to enable the requested documents to be identified;
  • give an Australian address for notices to be sent (an email address alone is not sufficient); and
  • be lodged at the agency with the appropriate fee ($30 if you are seeking information that is not just about you - no application fee is payable for access to personal information that is just about you).

For certain agencies, you can use the online form below to make an FOI access application.  If the agency is not included on the list below, the form includes information about where you can send your written FOI access application.

You are not required to use this form - your application just has to meet the requirements described above.  However, using the form may assist you to make a valid application to the relevant agency and to provide additional information that may assist the agency to better understand what you are seeking and to deal with you application more effectively and efficiently.

Before you make a formal FOI access application  - contact the agency that you believe holds the document(s) you want to access. 

The agency may be able to tell you how to obtain the document(s) without having to make a formal FOI access application, or whether another agency holds the document(s).

Although you are not required to do so, you may consider telling the agency why you seek access to the document(s) or information, or if you plan to use the document(s) or information for a specific purpose.  This may assist the agency to clarify which document(s) you are seeking and help you focus your request.  It may also enable the agency to consider whether it can informally release the document(s) or information to you without the need for a formal FOI access application.

For your information, FOI is not:

  • to ask questions. The FOI Act requires agencies to provide access to documents (subject to the limitations). If you are seeking answers to questions, you should consider contacting the agency outside the FOI process. Under FOI, your best approach is to request documents that you think may help answer your questions.
  • for documents that are already publicly available for downloading, inspection or purchase, including on a government agency’s website. Contact the relevant agency and ask if the documents you are seeking are already available to the public.
  • for documents held by individuals or private organisations. The WA FOI Act applies to documents held by WA State government agencies (including certain documents held by Ministers) and local governments (but not the Commonwealth).

You cannot apply to 'exempt agencies'

You cannot make an FOI access application to an 'exempt agency' as listed in Schedule 2 to the FOI Act.

 

Page reviewed 11 August 2020