Right to Information

Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 NSW (GIPA Act)

The GIPA Act establishes a proactive, open approach to gaining access to government information in New South Wales (NSW). The objects of the GIPA Act are to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic Government that is open, accountable, fair, and effective.

The GIPA Act:

  • authorises and encourages the proactive release of information by NSW public sector agencies
  • gives members of the public a legally enforceable right to access government information
  • ensures that access to government information is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against releasing that information.

The GIPA Act applies to all NSW government agencies, and also extends to Ministers and their staff, local councils, state-owned corporations, courts in their non-judicial functions, and certain public authorities, such as universities.

The guiding principle of the GIPA Act is public interest. It is generally presumed that all government agencies will disclose or release information unless there is an overriding public interest against doing so. Under the GIPA Act, it is compulsory for agencies to provide information about their structure, functions and policies, and agencies are encouraged to release as much other information proactively and informally as possible.

Charles Sturt University manages Right to Information requests by following the Records Management Procedure – Access to University Records.

How to access Charles Sturt University information

Firstly, check if the information is publicly available:

Informal release

Wherever possible, the University provides requested information informally, without the need for a formal application form. ‘Informal release’ occurs when the University gives out information in response to a request, without requiring the person requesting it to lodge a formal access application under Part 4 of the GIPA Act. The University can decide how information is released: by phone, email, letter, fax, or in person. Information can also be released in an audio-visual format, or by providing view-only access.

The University can impose reasonable conditions prior to release of the information. The University may facilitate the release of information informally by deleting any part of the information that would otherwise result in an overriding public interest consideration against disclosure. Informal requests for information must be dealt with by universities to facilitate and encourage promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, access to government information. Requests for informal release of information can be made directly to the Right to Information Officer.

GIPA Application for Formal Release

Formal requests for release of information under the GIPA Act must be made in writing using the Formal Access Application form.

How to make an access application

An application or other request for government information is not a valid access application unless it complies with the following requirements (the formal requirements) for access applications—

  1. it must be in writing sent by post to or lodged at an office of the agency concerned or made in the manner approved by the agency under subsection (2),
  2. it must clearly indicate that it is an access application made under this Act,
  3. it must be accompanied by a fee of $30,
  4. it must state the name of the applicant and a postal or email address as the address for correspondence in connection with the application,
  5. it must include such information as is reasonably necessary to enable the government information applied for to be identified.

Access to Personal and Health Information

You have a right under the Privacy legislations to request access to, and correction of, your personal and health information held by Charles Sturt. Requests are considered in accordance with the access principles set out in the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW) (PPIPA) along with the University’s Privacy Management Plan. If you are seeking access to your personal records please refer to the universities Privacy website or contact the Privacy Officer for guidance. For information about accessing or amending your personal information please email the University’s Privacy Officer at mrumball@csu.edu.au.

General Enquiries

For information about obtaining access to documents held by the University please contact the Right to Information Officer.