The GIPA Public Access Act 2009 (NSW)
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act or GIPAA) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW) from 1 July 2010, introducing new right to information reforms that focus on making government information more readily available. This means that all government agencies, including WSLHD, must release information unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
In addition, the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment Regulation 2010 under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 was made on 18 June 2010.
How do I get Western Sydney Local Health District information?
There are four ways in which information held by Western Sydney Local Health District is available under these new reforms:
Much of the information held by WSLHD is already publicly available. The following are resources you may wish to review, which are regularly updated:
1. Mandatory Release of Open Access Information
- The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) internet website. Here you will find information about WSLHD – our goals, purpose and values, Hospitals and Health Services information, employment opportunities, as well as our contact details.
- Publication Guide - Contains information on the structure and functions of WSLHD, arrangements for community participation in policy development and the exercise of WSLHD functions, the various kinds of information held by WSLHD and how to access this information.
- Policy Documents - A list of WSLHD policy documents is available.
- Disclosure Log - The Disclosure Log is also available on the WSLHD website, which lists all formal determinations made by WSLHD under the GIPA Act, along with the document released.
- Information tabled in Parliament - Information about WSLHD contained in any document tabled in Parliament by or on behalf of WSLHD (other than any document tabled by order of either House of Parliament).
- Government Contracts - WSLHD contracts continue to be made publicly available on the Government Tenders website https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/nsw/ .
- Record of information not made publicly available - WSLHD’s record of the open access information that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure. This record indicates the general nature of the information concerned.
2. Proactive Release
You can ask WSLHD what information it will make available to the public, in addition to the information contained on its website. Under the GIPA Act, WSLHD is encouraged to release as much information as possible, in an appropriate way and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost). The Media and Communications Unit can be contacted on (02) 8890 8258 during business hours.
3. Informal Request
You can request specific information from WSLHD. WSLHD will release information without the need for a formal application, unless there are good reasons to require one. Your first point of contact should be the Media and Communications Unit on (02) 8890 8258 during business hours.
4. Formal Access Application
This is the last resort, if you haven't been able to get the information you need in any other way. You can formally request specific information from WSLHD. In limited circumstances, access to information will require a formal access application.
Note that the mechanisms for accessing personal information under the GIPA Act are additional to other arrangements that WSLHD has in place for the provision of this type of information. WSLHD provides other avenues/administrative processes for access to personal/health information.
What do I need to know about making a formal access application?
An application must be in writing, clearly indicate that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act, be accompanied by a fee of $30.00, state a postal address in Australia as the address for correspondence in connection with the application, and must include enough information to enable the information requested to be identified. Note that you may apply to have these fees and charges reduced by 50% in cases of financial hardship. Processing charges may also apply.
WSLHD has a GIPA Act Access Application Form [PDF] that you may use to request information held by the WSLHD.
You can post this form or lodge it at:
Right to Information Coordinator
Western Sydney Local Health District
Building 60, Pine Cottage
Locked Bag 7118
Parramatta CBD 2124
If there will be considerable additional costs incurred with your formal access application under GIPA, you will be advised of the estimated costs before the work starts. Consultation with third parties may also be required depending on the nature of the information requested.
WSLHD may ask for an advance deposit from you (maximum 50%) if the cost estimates for work to be undertaken is for a sum exceeding the application fee. If you do not pay this deposit WSLHD may not proceed with the request.
Once a WSLHD officer has made a decision on your access application you will be notified of the outcome of your request. If access is not provided, either in whole or in part because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure, you will be advised of the reasons for this decision.
What if I disagree with a decision regarding my formal access application?
You have a right to request a review of a decision regarding the release of information if you disagree with any of the specified agency decisions as set out under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), s.80.
For further information on all 13 agency decisions that are subject to review refer to the Office of Information Commissioner (OIC) Fact Sheet on Your Review Rights under the GIPA Act.
You generally have three options to have a decision reviewed:
- Internal review – you can apply to WSLHD for an internal review. This review is by someone more senior than the original decision maker and there is a $40 fee (except if the decision is a ‘deemed refusal’ because WSLHD did not process your application in time). You have 20 working days from receiving notice of a decision to ask for an internal review. A request for an internal review should be made using the WSLHD GIPA Internal Review form or in a letter.
- External review by the Information Commissioner - If you are not satisfied with the internal review, or do not want one conducted by WSLHD, you can ask for a review by the Information Commissioner. You have eight weeks from being notified of the decision to ask for this review.
- External review at the Administrative Decisions Tribunal - If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Information Commissioner or the WSLHD internal reviewer or you do not want to take these options you can apply to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal (ADT). If you have already had a review by the Information Commissioner, you have four weeks from notification of the decision to make this application. If you have not had a review by the Information Commissioner you have eight weeks from notification of the decision to make this application.
For further information please contact the WSLHD Right to Information Coordinator on (02) 8860 2550 or via email WSLHD-GIPA@health.nsw.gov.au
GIPA Annual Reports
WSLHD GIPA Annual Report 2014-15 [PDF]