Government Information Public Access (GIPA)
What is the GIPA Act?
The GIPA Act sets out the rules about how members of the public can access government information held by public sector agencies in New South Wales, including the University of Newcastle (the University).
To access the information from the University, your first step should be to search the University's website. The University makes available to the public a range of information, including official policies and annual reports on its website.
Requests for personal information
You can ask for your personal information held by the University using either the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (PPIP Act) or the GIPA Act.
Access to your personal information under the PPIP Act is free of charge and the University will process your application under this Act unless you make your application under the GIPA Act. If you make an application under the GIPA Act for your personal information, it will process the request informally wherever possible. The University will ask you for a form of identification to prove that you have a right to access the information.
The University will not provide access to another person’s personal information without authorisation in writing from the other person that clearly states the name of the person who authorises the access and the person who is authorised to have access.
What is government information?
Government information means any information contained in a record held by a NSW government agency. Government information can include records and data about how a government agency works, or personal information that is held by a government agency. There is a presumption in favour of releasing government information.
Some government information cannot be accessed under the GIPA Act. Information that cannot be accessed is outlined in Schedules 1 and 2 of the GIPA Act, and includes:
- information that would identify or tend to identify a person who has made a public interest declaration under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994;
- complaint handling, investigative, audit and/or reporting information relating to the functions of certain bodies including the office of the Auditor General, ICAC, the Ombudsman, the Office of the Privacy and Information Commissioner and other prescribed bodies; and
- information that would be privileged from production in legal proceedings on the ground of client legal privilege, unless the client has waived the privilege and other excluded information of particular agencies.
Although there is a presumption in favour of releasing government information that is not listed in the Schedules 1 and 2 of the GIPA Act, an agency must consider whether this general presumption is in any way limited by any consideration against disclosure that is outlined in section 14 of the GIPA Act. This is known as applying the public interest test.
Some reasons why an agency may refuse to provide access to information is that to do so would:
- affect the effective exercise of the agency’s functions;
- affect how the agency conducts an investigation;
- expose a person to the risk of serious harm or intimidation;
- disclose personal information of others;
- disclose information that has been provided in confidence;
- if disclosed, result in an action against the University for breach of confidence.
How to request information