Freedom of Information (FOI) requests is a formal process governed by the Northern Territory's Information Act.
This process may be utilised where the applicant requires a large amount of information; if the information is sensitive; if the information is not personal information (information that is not about you); or if the information is not accessible via any other means.
The Information Act
- To provide the Territory community with access to government information by:
- Making available to the public information about the operations of public sector organisations and, in particular, ensuring that rules and practices affecting members of the public in their dealings with public sector organisations are readily available to persons affected by those rules and practices; and
- creating a general right of access to information held by public sector organisations limited only in those circumstances where the disclosure of particular information would be contrary to the public interest because its disclosure would have a prejudicial effect on essential public interests or on the private and business interests of persons in respect of whom information is held by public sector organisations.
- To protect the privacy of personal information held by public sector organisations by:
- Providing individuals with a right of access to, and a right to request correction of, their personal information held by public sector organisations; and
- establishing a regime for the responsible collection and handling of personal information by public sector organisations; and
- providing remedies for interference with the privacy of an individual's personal information.
- To establish an independent officeholder, the Information Commissioner, to oversee the freedom of information and privacy provisions of this Act:
- To promote efficient and accountable government through appropriate records and archives management by public sector organisations.
The Information Act is intended to strike a balance between competing interests by giving members of the Territory community a right of access to government information with limited exceptions and exemptions for the purpose of preventing a prejudicial effect on the public interest.
The Information Act does not replace other procedures for accessing government information, or does not limit in any way access to government information (other than personal information) that is publicly available.
- How to apply
If your application is for personal information only, no fees are applicable. However if your application is for non personal government information or a combination of both personal and non personal government information, an application fee of $30.00 is applicable as well as processing fees.
The fees and charges for requests processed under the Information Act are set out in the Information Regulations.
Payment options are outlined below and on the Freedom of Information application form. Take your completed application form and photographic identification (photo ID) to your nearest Police Station. Your photo ID must clearly show your name, address and date of birth. A driver's licence, passport or similar are acceptable forms of photo ID. You can then lodge the form with the Officer handling your application who will forward it to the Information Access Team. Alternatively, you can send your photocopied ID, payment of the application fee or proof of payment of the application fee (if applicable) and completed application form to the NTPFES IAT.
- Application to reduce or waive fees for applications
In accordance with the Northern Territory Information Act this agency may waive or reduce a fee payable upon request after careful consideration of the circumstances of the application, including any impecuniosity or indigence of the applicant and the objects the Information Act.
All requests to have fees waived and/or reduced must be submitted with the FOI application form and must stipulate which fee the applicant is wishing to have waived and/or reduced (application fee, processing fee or both).
- Correction of information
In accordance with the Northern Territory Information Act every person has the right to correct his or her personal information if they believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date. If the person and the public sector organisation holding the information disagree on the correction to be made, the person may request that the public sector organisation take reasonable steps to associate with the information, a statement by the person to the effect that, in the person's opinion, the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date. There is no fee associated with this process.
Take your completed application form and photographic identification (photo ID) to your nearest Police Station. Your photo ID must clearly show your name, address and date of birth. A driver's licence, passport or similar are acceptable forms of photo ID. You can then lodge the form with the Officer handling your application who will forward it to the Information Access Team. Alternatively, you can send your photocopied ID and completed application form to the NTPFES IAT.
- Your right to have a decision reviewed
If you are dissatisfied or aggrieved by a decision of the NTPFES regarding your access to non personal government information or personal information, including our dealings with information under the Information Privacy Principles, you can apply to the NTPFES for an internal review of the initial decision.
Your ability to appeal is time limited. You must apply within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Decision regarding your original application. To apply for an internal review you must lodge a written request for an internal review of the relevant decision. There is no fee associated with this process.
- Privacy complaints
If you think that a member of NT Police, Fire and Emergency Services has collected or handled your personal information in a manner that contravenes a provision under the Information Act or our organisation has interfered with your privacy, you can apply to the Assistant Director Information Management to resolve or rectify the matter complained of. Your complaint must be made in writing and detail why you believe that your personal information has been collected or handled in contravention of the Act or how our organisation has interfered with your privacy. Your complaint can be sent to the Assistant Director Information Management via the Information Access Team by email, fax or post. There is no fee associated with this process.