The object of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) is to give the Australian community access to documents and other information held by the Government.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, you can:
- 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- ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading, and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. We can refuse access to some documents or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, material obtained in confidence, Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.
If you are looking for ...
- Personal information about yourself
To access personal information we may hold about you (including personnel / employment records), please contact the FOI Coordinator.
- Weather and Climate data
Climate Data Online provides online access to a range of statistics, historical weather observations, climatology maps and other Australian climate data. Other data can be requested - see How to get climate data from the Bureau.
- Water Information
For water data available online and by request from the Bureau, see Water Information.
- Meteorological publications and journals
The National Meteorological Library holds a specialised collection of books, reports and journals relating to meteorology and related sciences, and is open to the general public.
You can obtain these kinds of information without following a formal process under the FOI Act. A range of other information is also available under the Information Publication Scheme.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I make an FOI application?
- How will the Bureau process my request?
- How much does an FOI request cost?
- What if I disagree with the Bureau's decision?
How do I make an FOI application?
In order for the Bureau to process your request as quickly as possible, your request must:
- be made in writing
- state that you are seeking information in accordance with the FOI Act
- specify the information you are seeking
- provide contact details, including an email or physical address
FOI requests should be sent via post or email to the FOI Coordinator.
How will the Bureau process my request?
The Bureau will:
- acknowledge your request within 14 days of receiving it
- process your request as soon as possible
- provide an estimate of any charges (if applicable)
- give you a decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended
If the documents you seek relate to third parties, we may need to extend the time to give you a decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.
How much does an FOI request cost?
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 charges may apply to other requests, including search, retrieval and photocopying charges.
The most common charges are:
Search and retrieval: time we spend 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 deletions
First 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
$0.10 per page
Actual cost incurred
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 request
Cost of postage or delivery
If we decide to impose a charge, we will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation.
You can request any charges 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.
What if I disagree with the Bureau's decision?
When a decision has been made about your FOI request, the Bureau will send you a letter explaining its 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 indicate we intend to impose a charge
- if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you believe is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
The following review options are available:
- Internal review by the Bureau (contact the FOI Coordinator to discuss)
- Review by the Australian Information Commissioner
Further information about your review rights can be found in FOI Fact Sheet 12.
You may also lodge a complaint with the Australian Information Commissioner if you are unhappy with the handling of your request - see FOI Fact Sheet 13.