Access to Information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA) (the GIPA Act) introduces a new ‘right to information’ system to New South Wales, replacing the existing Freedom of Information (FOI) system which has been operating since 1989. The new system is designed to meet community expectations for more open and transparent government.

The GIPA Act commenced on 1 July 2010 and applies to all NSW government agencies, including local councils and county councils. It requires proactive information disclosure through mandatory publication and authorised release of ‘open access information’. Open access information is information that agencies must publish, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. The Act also provides for disclosure in response to informal requests and a revised system of response to formal access applications.