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, and the privacy or business affairs of those who give information to the agency. In the reporting year to 30 June 2016, CSIRO received 42 requests for information under the FOI Act.
General information about CSIRO FOI procedures, including and how to make an FOI request, can be found at: Freedom of Information.
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- is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading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 2016, 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.
Members of the public may obtain access to scientific and technical publications from CSIRO Publishing and the ePublish Repository; research data used by CSIRO is routinely published on CSIRO data access portal.
Archives, privacy and administrative decisions
CSIRO maintains an archives collection which includes records dating from 1926, when the Council for Science and Industrial Research, the predecessor of CSIRO, was established. 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 Australian Privacy Principles. During 2015–16, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner undertook no 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 2015–16, CSIRO received no challenges or requests for statements of reasons under the ADJR Act.
All enquiries under the above legislation (including FOI requests) should be directed to:
FOI and Privacy Officer, CSIRO
GPO Box 1700
Canberra ACT 2601
t 02 6276 6431
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 2015–2016 CSIRO considered 10 matters under s26 of the PID Act to determine whether they met the criteria for a public interest disclosure. Four of these matters were assessed as meeting the criteria for an internal public interest disclosure.