Making an RTI or IP application
Before we can process your Right to Information (RTI) or Information Privacy (IP) request you must make sure you give us enough information to identify the documents you are seeking access to and complete the application correctly.
Use the approved application form
You will need to complete the approved Right to Information and Information Privacy Access Application form. You can:
- apply online
- download the application form
- ask us to send a paper copy of the application form which you can return to us once you have completed it.
Credit card details will not be accepted for payment of the application fee via email, facsimile or telephone. Credit card payments will only be accepted in hard copy via post or as part of an online application process.
Right to Information and Privacy Unit
Department of Justice and Attorney-General
GPO Box 149
Brisbane QLD 4001
Fax: (07) 3006 5929
Making a valid application
- pay the $49.70 RTI application fee with your RTI access application, which cannot be waived (note: there is no application fee for IP applications)
- provide an address where we can send written correspondence. This can either be a postal address or an email address.
- if the application is for information that contains your personal information, provide us with an original certified copy of your identification (either when making your application or within 10 business days after submitting your application).
- An original certified copy is considered valid if it is witnessed by a lawyer or notary public, a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations. Examples of ID are – birth certificate, driver’s licence, identifying page of current passport, 18+ card, photographic student identification card from a recognised educational institution, birth extract, marriage certificate, naturalisation certificate or citizenship certificate, immigration papers or other documents issued by the Commonwealth Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
- if the applicant is in prison, the applicant, or their agent if applicable, may provide a certified copy of their correctional centre ID card as certified by a correctional services officer.
- if someone is acting as your agent or on your behalf, they must also provide evidence that they have authority to act on your behalf and a certified copy of their identification.
- certified identification documents cannot be emailed. They must be posted or hand delivered to us.
Information needed to be able to search for documents
You must give us enough information about the documents you are requesting to help us identify them.
The table below shows you what you need to provide the agency to ensure that your application is valid. If you don’t give the agency enough information it may delay the processing of your application.
Type of information
Sufficient information criteria
Director of Public Prosecutions - prosecution files
Ethical Standards Unit
Liquor, Gaming and Fair Trading
Strategic Policy and Legal Services
Apply to the correct agency
You will need to apply to the agency which has the documents you want to access. If more than one agency has documents you are interested in, you will need to complete an application form and submit to each agency.
Be aware that the Minister and the department are separate entities under the RTI and IP Acts. Therefore, if you are interested in documents held by the department and by the department’s Minister, you will need to make two applications.
If you apply only to the department for access to documents, we cannot include the Minister’s Office in the search for documents. Similarly, if you apply to the Minister’s Office, the searches will be confined to that office only.
What happens after you apply to access documents
Once we receive your application we will review it to make sure it contains everything that we need to process it. If we need more information then we will contact you within 15 working days of receiving your application. Once we officially accept your application we will send you a written acknowledgement that your application has been received.
If you don’t provide us with the requested information within the allocated timeframe, we may refuse to process your application due to it being noncompliant.
Notice of decision
Once we have processed your request, we will send a letter setting out the decision and the reasons for the decision explaining what documents were located and why you may have been refused access to documents (or parts of documents).
Time required to make decision
We generally have to make a decision on your application within 25 business days from the date of receiving a valid application. This period may be extended by 10 business days if another person or agency needs to be consulted. We also may negotiate an extension with applicants due to delays in locating documents, staff availability or workload.
Failure to make a decision in time
If a decision on your application is not made within the legislative timeframe, the RTI and IP Acts ‘deems’ us to have made a decision refusing you access to requested documents. At this stage you may apply to the Information Commissioner for external review.
Application fee only applies to RTI applications
A $49.70 application fee is payable for RTI applications that include documents that do not contain your own personal information. This fee is mandatory for all applications.
As noted above, your application fee must accompany your application.
There is no application fee for applications made under the IP Act. However, you may be required to pay access charges before you are given access to any documents.
Processing charges are $7.70 per 15 minutes (or part of 15 minutes). You do not have to pay processing charges for documents that contain your personal information.
We will send you a Charges Estimates Notice that will state how many hours it is likely to take to process the application and how much it is likely to cost. If it is likely that the processing time will be five hours or less, there will be no charge. The Charges Estimates Notice will also give you some information about the documents that have been located that fall within the terms of your request as stated on your access application form.
Contact us if you would like to discuss ways to reduce the charges by, for example, reducing the number or types of documents you are requesting. If you narrow the terms of the application another Charges Estimates Notice will be issued to confirm the new charges. At this stage of the application you may withdraw without having to pay processing charges.
You have 20 business days in which to reply to the Charges Estimates Notice. If you do not reply within this period then we will consider your application to be withdrawn and the file will be closed. It is important that you take note of this date.
If you miss the due date you will need to lodge a fresh application and meet all the compliance requirements again including paying another $49.70 application fee.
There are no processing charges for applications under the IP Act.
In addition to processing charges, you may also have to pay access charges. These are set at:
- black and white copies - $0.25 per A4 page
- colour copies - actual cost
- CD - no cost
- actual costs for copies of documents, for example, audio or video reproduction
We will advise how much you have to pay in your notice of decision. Please note that the final amount payable will not be more than the amount in your Charges Estimate Notice (RTI applications only).
The sole ground for waiving charges is financial hardship. For individuals, financial hardship is simply assessed by whether or not you hold a:
- health care card
- pensioner concession card from Centrelink
- pensioner concession card from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
You must provide a certified copy of your concession card (both sides) when you apply in writing for the charges to be waived.
If you lodge your application in person, bring along your original concession card and we will sight it and return to you. If you post your application, you will need to have a copy of your original concession card certified by a Commissioner for Declarations, Justice of the Peace or solicitor.
We can only waive processing charges and access charges. The RTI application fee cannot be waived.
If it is uneconomical for us to recoup the costs of the access charges we may also waive them.
Charges may be waived if a non-profit organisation can show financial hardship. Non-profit organisations are organisations that are not carried on for the profit or gain of their individual members (for example charities, churches and clubs).
Non-profit organisations may apply to the Information Commissioner for financial hardship status by making a written application by post, fax, email or counter. You can apply:
PO Box 10143
Brisbane QLD 4000
(07) 3405 1122
133 Mary Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
(07) 3234 7373
Making a financial hardship application
If you wish to make an access application but think your organisation is in financial hardship and cannot afford to do so, you can apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision about your financial hardship status before you make an access application. You must apply for financial hardship status before applying for access to documents.
Making a financial hardship status application before making an access application ensures that:
- the Information Commissioner has enough time to assess the application and make a decision on financial hardship status before we prepare a Charges Estimates Notice (which may end up being unnecessary if we waive charges).
- you can make an access application and be certain that your organisation will not have to pay any processing or access charges for the application.
- if an application is not granted by the Information Commissioner, you can decide not to proceed with making an access application because your organisation cannot afford to pay the processing and access charges.
Accessing the documents
You must pay any applicable processing and access charges before you can access the documents. You have 40 business days after the date of the decision to access any released documents.
Any applicable processing charges must also be paid even if access to the documents is refused.
Disputing a decision
You can dispute our decision if:
- we decide your application is outside the scope of the Act
- we decide your application does not comply with the application requirements
- we decide to release documents contrary to your views (if you are a consulted party)
- you believe we should have taken steps to consult you about the release of documents
- we refuse to deal with the application
- we decide charges are payable (but not the amount of the charge)
- we don’t grant access to the documents either in full or part
- the documents don’t exist or can’t be found
- we don’t waive processing or access charges
- we provide you advice about a deemed decision
- apply for an internal review of the decision, by another departmental officer no less senior than the original decision-maker
- apply directly to the Information Commissioner for an external review of the decision.
You must apply for a review in writing within 20 business days.