Freedom of information, open government and privacy

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The South Australian Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the Act) promotes openness and accountability in the South Australian Government. The Act gives you a legal right of access to information held by most government agencies, subject to certain privacy and other specific exemptions. You can also ask to have personal records amended if the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

Making a Freedom of Information request

If you want to access documents held by the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion (DCSI), including documents relating to your personal affairs, you must apply in writing (using a Request for Access Form, a letter or by email) and submit your request, together with the application fee where applicable:

The Senior FOI Officer
Department for Communities and Social Inclusion
GPO Box 292
Adelaide South Australia 5001
Telephone: +61 8 8413 9094

Your request must specify that it is made under the Act and you must provide sufficient detail to enable the document(s) requested to be identified. You must also provide an address (in Australia) to which notification of the determination of your application can be sent. Please note that a charge may be made for Freedom of Information requests.

Freedom of Information – Application for Access to Documents form

Freedom of Information - Request for Amendment form

Your rights to review and appeal

The Act provides you with a range of review and appeal options, which are outlined below.

Internal Review

If you are dissatisfied with a determination by DCSI in respect of an application for access to documents, or a request to amend your personal records, you are entitled to apply for an Internal Review. To make an application for an Internal Review you must write a letter or submit an application form to DCSI's Chief Executive, together with the applicable application fee (if required). You will be advised of the outcome of your application within 14 calendar days of it being received by DCSI – if this does not occur, DCSI is taken to have confirmed the original determination and you are entitled seek an External Review by the State Ombudsman.

Please note that if the original determination that you are dissatisfied with was made by the Chief Executive (rather than another officer), you cannot apply for an Internal Review. In this case you may apply for an External Review by the State Ombudsman or the District Court.

Freedom of Information – Internal Review request form

External Review

If, following the completion of an Internal Review, you are dissatisfied with the determination, or where you were not able to apply for an Internal Review, you may apply to the State Ombudsman for an External Review. Your must do this within 30 calendar days of being notified of DCSI's determination, although the Ombudsman has discretion to extend this time. There is no fee for an External Review.

You can contact the State Ombudsman by telephoning 8226 8699 (or toll free within SA on 1800 182 150) or you can send an email to ombudsman@ombudsman.sa.gov.au.

Appeal to the District Court

You have the right to appeal to the District Court of South Australia if you are dissatisfied with:

  • the determination of your initial FOI application, if that was made by DCSI's Chief Executive (as these are not subject to an Internal Review); or
  • a determination by DCSI's Chief Executive on Internal Review; or
  • the outcome of an External Review by the State Ombudsman.

An appeal to the District Court must be lodged with the Court's Civil Registry within 30 calendar days of being advised of the determination or the outcome of the review. Any costs associated with an appeal are determined by the District Court.

For more information contact the District Court's Civil Registry on 8204 0289 or email on district.civil@courts.sa.gov.au.

Useful Links

You may find the following web site links helpful if you are seeking assistance with Freedom of Information matters:

State Records of South Australia: www.archives.sa.gov.au.

Ombudsman SA: www.ombudsman.sa.gov.au.

District Court of South Australia: www.courts.sa.gov.au.

Open Government

The South Australian Government makes information that is regularly requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1991 pro-actively available to all members of the community. See Open Government for further information.

The Government acknowledges the information it holds is a valuable public resource and is committed to being open and accountable, engaging with the community, and public participation in the making of decisions, policies, and laws.

SA Cabinet approved the online publication of information regularly requested under FOI in April 2013 and a policy to assist with its implementation was approved by Cabinet in August 2013. Information related to the Department for Communities and Social Inclusion will be published to this website.