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The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) 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.
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:
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) 9845 8258 during business hours.
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) 9845 8258 during business hours.
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.
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.
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.
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:
For further information please contact the WSLHD Right to Information Coordinator on (02) 4734 3361.