Freedom of Information (FOI)

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Freedom of Information (FOI) at ANSTO.



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  • Ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading; and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. This general right is limited by exemptions to protect essential public and private interests. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt.


Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence, Cabinet documents, documents affecting the privacy of individuals, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.



Documents available outside the FOI Act   

You can get certain information, including any personal information we hold about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act. See below in relation to personal information. 

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


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How to make a request  

Your request must:


  • Be in writing;
  • State that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act;
  • Provide information about the document(s) to assist us to process your request; and
  • Provide an address for reply. 


You may download a Freedom of Information Request form. However, you are not restricted to using this form. A letter or email containing the same information will do.


Please send your request to:

Mailing address

FOI Coordinator
Locked Bag 2001
Kirrawee DC NSW 2232


Email address


If you are requesting documents relating to your personal affairs, to assist us to protect your privacy, please include a copy of photographic identification with your request.


If you are requesting documents on behalf of another person relating to their personal affairs, please provide specific written authority, by that person, for ANSTO to send copies of documents to you or to allow you to inspect copies of documents containing information about that third party.


Please also include a copy of photographic identification of the third party with the request.


If you require assistance with your request, please contact the FOI Coordinator on (02) 9717 3199 or by email at



Release of your own information    

If you want access to any of your own personal information, you should contact the relevant part of ANSTO first. ANSTO can provide copies of some documents without the need for you to make an FOI request.  For example, we can provide copies of letters already sent to you.



Fees and charges    

There is no application fee for an FOI request.


There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. All charges are set by FOI regulations. The most common charges are:


Search and retrieval: time spent searching for or retrieving a document$15.00 per hour          
Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletionsFirst five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20 per hour
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium$4.40 per page of transcript
Photocopying$0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing 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 requestCost of postage or delivery

If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charges is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.


ANSTO cannot impose a charge if we fail to make a decision on an FOI request within the statutory processing period, including any authorised extension of that period.


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 do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.


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What you can expect from us     

We will acknowledge your request within 14 days after we have received your request. We will also give you an estimate of any charges that apply to your request. 


We are usually required to inform you of 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.


If for any other reason we are likely to need more than 30 days to complete your request, we will contact you to arrange an extension of time for processing of your request in accordance with the requirements under the FOI Act.


ANSTO may also apply to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to apply for an extension of the processing time where exceptional circumstances would prevent us from processing your request in 30 days. You will be informed in writing if the processing time has been extended.


If we do not meet these 30 day time limits, you can apply to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to review our decision on the basis that we are deemed to have refused your request:


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If you disagree with our decision   

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.  You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:


  • If we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access;
  • If we impose a charge; or
  • If 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 that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.



Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our 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 at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at




If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can contact the Australian Information Commissioner, who may investigate our actions. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.



More information   

If you require more information, please contact the FOI Coordinator on (02) 9717 3199 or by email at


Details of certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act and the means of accessing such documents can be viewed on our FOI disclosure log page. Information can also be obtained about our Information Publication Scheme.


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