Freedom of Information

What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

The Victorian Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 1982, gives you the right to request access to documents held by Edenhope and District Memorial Hospital. The Act also gives you the right to request amendment of information about you that you believe is incorrect or misleading.

The Victorian Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to request information held by:

  • Ministers
  • State government departments
  • Local councils
  • Most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities
  • Public hospitals
  • Universities, TAFE colleges and schools

The Act gives you:

  • The right to access documents about your personal affairs and the activities  government agencies;
  • The right to request that incorrect or misleading information held by an agency about you be amended or removed.
  • The Act does not apply to privately owned businesses.
What Information is available?

You have a right to apply for access to documents that are held by an agency which is covered by the Freedom of Information Act.  This includes:

  • Documents created by the agency.
  • Documents supplied to the agency by an external organization or individual. 

It is not only documents in paper form that are accessible. The word “documents” covers a broad range of media including maps, films, microfiche, photographs, computer printouts, emails, computer discs, tape recordings and videotapes. 

What Information cannot be accessed?

Not all information is automatically available.

The Freedom of Information Act allows an agency to refuse access to certain documents or information.  These documents or information are often called “exempt” documents. 

In some cases you may be refused access to an entire document.  Alternatively, you may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted. 

How do I apply?

Applications must be on the relevant form or in writing addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer by the applicant themselves. 

Other individuals, for example solicitors, can apply on the applicant’s behalf as long as an authorisation from the applicant is contained in the application.  Such authorisation should contain the applicant’s name, who they are authorising, make reference to the Freedom of Information Act, signature of applicant and date.  Applicants may be asked to provide evidence of their identity such as photocopy of drivers license.

All such applications should be forwarded to the Freedom of Information Officer, located at the Edenhope & District Memorial Hospital.

Applications will then be registered and attended to within 45 days of the date of receipt, unless the request needs further clarification.

Is there a cost involved when accessing documents?

There are two costs associated with making a FOI request - an application fee and access charges.

These charges are set by government regulations.

Application fee

There is a standard non-refundable application fee of $28.40 (effective from July 2017).

Access charges

An access charge is applied under the Act for processing your request. Access charges are applied according to the nature of the request and could include:

  • search fees - $20 per hour
  • photocopying - 20 cents per page
  • providing written transcripts of a recorded document - $20 per hour
  • supervising an inspection of documents - $5 per quarter hour
Can an application fee be waived? 

The application fee can be waived if payment is likely to cause you hardship. If you wish to make a claim to have the fee waived you must provide evidence that you receive social security benefits eg: a current social security benefits or health benefits card.

Complaints

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your FOI application;

  • You may contact the FOI Officer on 55859806 to seek further explanation
  • You may seek a review of the decision by the FOI Commissioner.

 

Contact details for FOI Commissioner:

http://www.foicommissioner.vic.gov.au/utility/home/enquiries@foicommissioner.vic.gov.au.

1300 VIC FOI (1300 842 364)

Freedom of Information Commissioner - Reviews
Office of the Freedom of Information Commissioner
PO Box 24274
Melbourne Victoria 3001
DX 210287