Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation has become part of the political fabric in Australia since its introduction in the early 1980s.
The Commonwealth and all states have their own FOI Acts. Local councils in Victoria have only been subject to FOI legislation since 1 January 1994.
FOI is associated with open government and the democratic process. It is seen as a crucial part of the ability of citizens to participate in how they are governed that they have access to government information.
The FOI Act has four main functions, which are to:
- provide a general right of access to documents
- enable individuals to amend incorrect information about them held by government
- provide rights of appeal in relation to the previous two functions
- require agencies to publish certain details about themselves and their functions.
Details can be found in the: