Administrative law

The 2013 - 2014 Annual Report - Appendix 2: Freedom of information.

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provides the public with a general right of access to documents held by Australian Government agencies including CSIRO. The general right is limited by exceptions to protect essential public interests or the privacy or business affairs of those who give information to the agency. In the reporting year to 30 June 2014, CSIRO received 14 requests for information under the FOI Act.

The following information is provided in compliance with Section 8 of the FOI Act:

  • the functions and powers of CSIRO are set out [in Part 3: Management and accountability]
  • information about CSIRO's procedures for external consultation can be found at www.csiro.au/SAC
  • CSIRO holds the following categories of documents:
    • corporate records including documents relating to government, policy, finance, personnel, business development, commercialisation, communication, real property, intellectual property and education
    • business unit records including documents relating to scientific research and technology transfer
  • members of the public may obtain access to scientific and technical publications from CSIRO Publishing and the ePublish repository. CSIRO administrative manuals are available from the FOI Officer.

Part V of the FOI Act confers a right to request CSIRO to amend a document to which lawful access has been granted, where the applicant claims that information in the document:

  • relates to his or her personal affairs
  • is incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading
  • has been used, is being used, or is available for use by the agency or Minister for an administrative purpose.

In the reporting year to 30 June 2014, CSIRO received no requests for amendments of personal information under the FOI Act.

Information Publication Scheme

CSIRO is required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme (IPS). This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a Section 8 statement in an annual report. CSIRO displays on its website a plan showing what information it publishes in accordance with the IPS requirements.

Archives, privacy and administrative decisions

CSIRO maintains an archives collection which includes records dating from the establishment in 1926 of the Council for Science and Industrial Research, the predecessor of CSIRO. Certain CSIRO records are held by Australian Archives. Disposal arrangements for CSIRO records are made in accordance with the provisions of the Archives Act 1983. Access to records over 20 years old is provided in accordance with that Act.

The Privacy Act 1988 provides for Information Privacy Principles and National Privacy Principles. During 2013-2014, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner did not undertake any investigations under Section 36 of the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to CSIRO.

The Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 (ADJR Act) enables a person aggrieved by certain classes of administrative decisions made by Australian Government agencies, including CSIRO, to obtain reasons for or to challenge those decisions. During 2013–14, CSIRO received no challenges or requests for statements of reasons under the ADJR Act.

Contact

All enquiries under the above legislation (including FOI requests) should be directed to:

FOI and Privacy Officer
CSIRO, PO Box 225
Campbell ACT 2602

t +61 2 6276 6123
f +61 2 6276 6437
e rosemary.caldwell@csiro.au

Public Interest Disclosure

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) came into effect on 15 January 2014, internal procedures have been developed and implemented to enable compliance through a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Scheme. The PID Scheme promotes integrity and accountability by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and ensuring CSIRO takes appropriate action. CSIRO has contributed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Annual Report on the PID, as required in Section 76(3) of the PID Act, in 2014 CSIRO reported three disclosures.

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