GIPA Act Overview
The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) came into effect on 1 July 2010. It replaced the previous Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. The right to information laws promote openness, accountability and transparency and will make government agencies more proactive in providing information to the public.
The GIPA Act applies to personal and non-personal information. Personal information is information/documents about a particular individual. Non-personal information covers all other information/documents and publications, eg policies, planning documents, strategic plans.
In addition, the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment Regulation 2010 under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 was made on 18 June 2010.
What is government information?
Government information is any record held by an agency, a private sector entity or the State Records Authority to which the agency has an immediate right of access, or a record that is in the possession or under the control of a person in his or her capacity as an officer of the agency. A record means any document or other source of information compiled, recorded or stored in written form or by electronic process, or in any other manner or by any other means.
The GIPA Act requires government agencies to proactively release information to improve openness, transparency and accountability in government including information held by providers of goods and services contracted by government agencies.
The GIPA Act establishes a model of openness under which formal applications for access to information should be a last resort. It authorises and encourages the release of information proactively, limited only by legitimate public interest considerations.