The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cwlth) (FOI Act) gives you the right to:

  • access copies of documents we hold (except exempt documents which may relate to national security and Cabinet documents)
  • ask that information we hold about you be changed or annotated if incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • ask for a review if we decide you cannot access a document or amend your personal record.

More information:

Making a freedom of information request

How to make a request

Your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state you are applying under the FOI Act.
  • provide information about the documents to help us process your request
  • provide an address for reply.

Before you make a request, check our Information Publication Scheme and disclosure log to see if the information is already available.

For a third party to make an FOI request on your behalf, you need to provide us with written authority to:

  • send copies of documents to you care of that person or
  • allow that person to inspect copies of documents containing information about you.

If you need help, email our FOI Contact Officer.

How to send a request

If you have any questions or queries regarding FOI, you can email us at [email protected] or by addressing your correspondence to:

FOI Officer
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
GPO Box 570
Canberra ACT 2601

Fees and charges

It does not cost anything to apply for an FOI request.

We do not charge for our time in processing your request to access documents containing only personal information about you. However, we may charge for other FOI requests.

We may charge for copying, reproducing or sending information to you. You will be notified about charges before we provide the information you have requested.

We try to meet all reasonable requests for alternative formats in a timely manner and at the lowest reasonable cost.

Time AIHW fees and charges

Searching for or retrieving a document

$15 per hour

Researching whether to grant or refuse a request, which includes:

  • examining documents
  • consulting with other parties
  • making deletions.

First 5 hours: no charge

Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Preparing a transcript from a sound recording, in shorthand or similar medium

$4.40 per page


$0.10 per page

Supervision by one of our officers at our premises of your:

  • inspection of documents
  • hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording.

$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

Postage or delivery (at your request)

Cost of postage or delivery

Written estimates

If we decide to charge, we will give you a detailed written estimate. If our estimate:

  • is between $20 and $100, we may ask for a $20 deposit before processing your request
  • exceeds $100, we may ask you for a 25% deposit.

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

What you can expect from us

Time for processing

We will send you an email or letter within 14 days that we have received your request.

We will give our decision in writing within 30 days unless we notify you that we need an extension. We may need:

  1. an additional 30 days or so if a document contains information about a third party, which requires us to consult with that party
  2. up to an additional 30 days to process complex requests.

Disagreeing with our decision

We will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for our decision to be reviewed if we:

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

A third party acting on your behalf can disagree with our decision and ask for it to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can write and ask that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. You must explain why you feel a review is needed.

This 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.

Australian Information Commissioner review

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

The Australian Information Commissioner:

  • can affirm or vary our decision
  • can substitute a new decision
  • decided not to conduct the review.


If you are unhappy with how we handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid investigating the same matter twice.

More information: FOI Contact Officer