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What is Right to Information?

The NSW Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) came into effect on 1 July 2010. The new right to information legislation replaces the NSW Freedom of Information Act 1989 (FOI Act).  The aim of the new law is to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.

The object of the GIPA Act is to open government information to the public by:

  • authorising and encouraging the proactive public release of government information by agencies, and
  • giving member of the public an enforceable right to access government information, and
  • providing that access to government information is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. 

Office of the information commissioner

The right to information system is overseen by the Office of the Information Commissioner. The roles of the Information Commissioner include:

  • To promote public awareness and understanding of the new right to information law.
  • To provide information, advice, assistance and training to agencies and the public.
  • To issue guidelines and other publications for the assistance of agencies and the public.
  • To review decisions of agencies.
  • To monitor, audit and report on agencies compliance with the GIPA Act.
  • To make reports and provide recommendations to the Minister responsible.

Further information about the Office of the Information Commissioner is available on its website.
View the Office of the Information Commissioner website.

Other regimes

The GIPA Act compliments other regimes by which the public can access information held by government. It does not detract from any other rights of access to information that exist under other legislation or policies. For example:

  • The Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 allows individuals to obtain access to, and to apply for amendment of, personal information held about them by NSW government agencies. For more details view the website of the Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner.

View the Office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner.