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Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations

Authoritative Version
  • - F2004C00145
  • In force - Superseded Version
  • View Series
SR 1982 No. 197 Regulations as amended, taking into account amendments up to SR 1991 No. 320
Administered by: Prime Minister and Cabinet
Start Date 25 Oct 1991
End Date 31 Oct 2010

Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations

Statutory Rules 1982 No. 197 as amended

made under the

This compilation was prepared on 29 May 2003
taking into account amendments up to SR 1991 No. 320

Prepared by the Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing,
Attorney‑General’s Department, Canberra


Contents

                        1     Citation [see Note 1]                                                        3

                        2     Interpretation                                                                   3

                        3     Liability to pay charges                                                    4

                        4     Charges applicable generally                                            5

                        5     Application fees                                                               5

                        6     Charges and fees not applicable in relation to certain documents         5

                        8     Liability for charges where access may be provided in more than one form       7

                        9     Charges based on estimates of time etc may be fixed in certain cases            7

                       10     Readjustment of liability for charges in cases where regulation 9 applies          9

                       11     Charges to be paid before access is granted                    10

                       12     Deposits                                                                       11

                       13     Applicant to be notified of liability to pay deposit               11

                       14     Deposit not to be refunded                                              12

Schedule                                                                                                    13

Part I                       Charges applicable in respect of a request for access to a document   13

Part II                      Charges applicable in respect of the provision of access to a document to which a request relates                                                                                    15

Notes                                                                                                          19

 

 


  

  

1              Citation [see Note 1]

                These Regulations may be cited as the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations.

2              Interpretation

         (1)   In these Regulations, unless the contrary intention appears:

relevant agency, in relation to a request, means the agency to which the request has been made or is to be deemed, by virtue of section 16 of the Act, to have been made.

relevant Minister, in relation to a request, means the Minister to whom the request has been made or is to be deemed, by virtue of section 16 of the Act, to have been made.

the Act means the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

written document, in relation to a request, means a document other than:

                (a)    a document produced for the purposes of the request by an agency by:

                          (i)    the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored information; or

                         (ii)    the making of a transcript from a document held in the agency, being a document by which words are recorded in a manner in which they are capable of being reproduced in the form of sound or in which words are contained in the form of shorthand writing or in codified form; or

               (b)    a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being produced.

         (2)   In these Regulations, unless the contrary intention appears, a reference to the time spent by an agency or a Minister in searching for or retrieving a document does not include:

                (a)    where the document is not found in the place in which, according to the filing system of the agency or of the office of the Minister, as the case may be, (in this subregulation referred to as the ‘relevant filing system’) it ought to be located — any time other than such time as would have been spent by the agency or Minister in searching for or retrieving the document if the document had been found in that place; or

               (b)    where the relevant filing system ought reasonably to have indicated, but does not indicate, the place in which the document is located — any time other than such time as would have been spent by the agency or Minister in searching for or retrieving the document if the relevant filing system had indicated the place in which the document is located and the document had been found in that place.

         (3)   For the purposes of these Regulations, time spent by a person in searching for or retrieving an official document of a Minister shall be taken to be time spent by the Minister in searching for or retrieving the document.

3              Liability to pay charges

         (1)   Where an applicant has made a request for access to a document of an agency or an official document of a Minister, the agency or Minister may make a decision whether the applicant is liable to pay, in respect of the request or in respect of the provision to the applicant of access to the document, any of the charges applicable under these Regulations, other than an application fee.

         (2)   Where an agency or a Minister has, under subregulation (1), made a decision that an applicant is liable to pay a charge, then, except where regulation 8, 9 or 10 applies, the charge is payable by the applicant in the amount or at the rate fixed by, or in accordance with, the Schedule.

         (3)   A reference in items 2A and 6 of Part I of the Schedule to a maximum charge in respect of a request for access does not apply to an applicant:

                (a)    who is not an Australian citizen; or

               (b)    whose continued presence in Australia is subject to a limitation as to time that is imposed by law.

4              Charges applicable generally

                Subject to these Regulations:

                (a)    the charges set out in Part I of the Schedule are applicable in respect of a request for access to a document; and

               (b)    the charges set out in Part II of the Schedule are applicable in respect of the provision of access to a document to which a request relates.

5              Application fees

                For the purposes of subsection 4 (8) of the Act:

                (a)    an application fee of $30 is, subject to regulation 6, applicable in respect of an application under subsection 15 (1) of the Act; and

               (b)    an application fee of $40 is, subject to regulation 6, applicable in respect of an application under subsection 54 (1) of the Act.

6              Charges and fees not applicable in relation to certain documents

         (1)   In this regulation, prescribed benefit means a pension, allowance or benefit payable under:

                (a)    the Seamen’s War Pensions and Allowances Act 1940;

               (b)    the Social Security Act 1991;

                (c)    the Student Assistance Act 1973; or

               (d)    the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986;

and any payment of a like nature the purpose of which is to provide income support to persons of inadequate means.

         (2)   Regulation 4 does not apply in relation to a request for, or the provision of, access to a document:

                (a)    that contains information (in this subregulation referred to as ‘relevant information’) relating to a claim for, or a decision in relation to, the payment to the applicant of a prescribed benefit; and

               (b)    to which the applicant:

                          (i)    has not, pursuant to a request, had access during the period of 3 months immediately preceding the day on which the first‑mentioned request was made; or

                         (ii)    has, pursuant to a request, had access during the period referred to in subparagraph (i) but the contents of which, in so far as they relate to relevant information, have (whether by way of addition, omission or alteration) been modified in a material particular after the day on which the applicant last had, pursuant to a request, access to the document.

         (3)   Regulation 5 does not apply in relation to:

                (a)    an application under subsection 15 (1) of the Act requesting access to a document; or

               (b)    an application under subsection 54 (1) of the Act requesting the review of a decision relating to a request for access to a document;

being a document:

                (c)    that contains information (in this subregulation referred to as ‘relevant information’) relating to a claim for, or a decision in relation to, the payment to the applicant of a prescribed benefit; and

               (d)    to which the applicant:

                          (i)    has not, pursuant to a request, had access during the period of 3 months immediately preceding the day on which the application referred to in paragraph (a) or the request for access referred to in paragraph (b), as the case may be, was made; or

                         (ii)    has, pursuant to a request, had access during the period referred to in subparagraph (i) but the contents of which, in so far as they relate to relevant information, have (whether by way of addition, omission or alteration) been modified in a material particular after the day on which the applicant last had, pursuant to a request, access to the document.

8              Liability for charges where access may be provided in more than one form

                Where:

                (a)    access to a document to which a request relates may be provided in any of 2 or more forms;

               (b)    the applicant has not requested access to the document in a particular form; and

                (c)    the amount of the charge or charges that, but for this regulation, the applicant would be liable to pay in respect of the request and the provision of access, in the form selected by the relevant agency or the relevant Minister, to the document exceeds the lowest amount (in this regulation referred to as the ‘prescribed amount’) of the charge or charges that the applicant would have been liable to pay in respect of the request and the provision of access to the document if access had been given in some other form;

the amount of the charge or charges that the applicant is liable to pay shall not exceed the prescribed amount.

9              Charges based on estimates of time etc may be fixed in certain cases

         (1)   Where, at the time (in this subregulation referred to as the ‘relevant time’) that an agency or a Minister proposes to notify an applicant under section 29 of the Act that he is liable to pay a charge in respect of the request that he has made for access to a document, the agency or Minister has not taken any or all of the steps necessary to enable the agency or Minister to make a decision on the request, the agency or Minister may fix, as the amount of the charge, such amount as would be the amount ascertained in accordance with the Schedule in respect of the charge if, at the relevant time, all steps that would, in the opinion of the agency or Minister, be necessary to enable a decision to be made on the request had been taken by the agency or Minister.

         (2)   Where, at the time (in this subregulation referred to as the ‘relevant time’) that an agency or a Minister proposes to notify an applicant under section 29 of the Act that he is liable to pay a charge (other than a charge in relation to which subregulation (3) applies) in respect of the provision of access to a document, the agency or Minister has not taken any or all of the steps necessary to enable the applicant to be given access to the document, the agency or Minister may fix, as the amount of the charge, such amount as would be the amount ascertained in accordance with the Schedule in respect of the charge if, at the relevant time, all steps that are, or would, in the opinion of the agency or Minister, be, necessary to enable the applicant to be given access to the document had been taken by the agency or Minister.

         (3)   Where:

                (a)    access to a document is to be given to an applicant in the form of an opportunity to inspect the document under the supervision of an officer; and

               (b)    the relevant agency or the relevant Minister makes a decision that the applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect of the period during which the officer is to supervise the inspection;

the relevant agency or the relevant Minister may fix, as the amount of the charge, such amount as would be the amount ascertained in accordance with the Schedule in respect of the charge if:

                (c)    at the time that the decision is made, the applicant had availed himself of the opportunity so to inspect the document; and

               (d)    the period during which the officer supervised the inspection was such period as is determined by the agency or Minister to be the period reasonably required for the inspection.

         (4)   Where an agency or a Minister has, in accordance with subregulation (1), (2) or (3), fixed an amount in respect of a charge that an applicant is liable to pay, the applicant is, subject to regulation 10, liable to pay the charge in the amount so fixed.

         (5)   In subregulation (3), a reference, in relation to a document, to an opportunity to inspect the document shall, in relation to a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being produced, be read as a reference to the arrangements made for the applicant to hear or view those sounds or images and ‘inspection’ shall, in relation to such a document, be construed accordingly.

10            Readjustment of liability for charges in cases where regulation 9 applies

         (1)   Where:

                (a)    an agency or a Minister has, in accordance with subregulation 9 (1), (2) or (3), fixed an amount in respect of a charge that an applicant is liable to pay; and

               (b)    after:

                          (i)    in the case of a charge in respect of a request for access to a document — the agency or Minister has made a decision on the request;

                         (ii)    in the case of a charge (other than a charge in respect of which an amount has been fixed in accordance with subregulation 9 (3)) in respect of the provision of access to a document — the agency or Minister has taken all steps necessary to enable the applicant to be given access to the document; or

                         (iii)    in the case of a charge in respect of the provision of access to a document, being a charge in respect of which an amount has been fixed in accordance with subregulation 9 (3) — the applicant has had access to the document;

                        it is ascertained that the amount so fixed in respect of the charge does not equal the amount (in this regulation referred to as the ‘prescribed amount’) that, but for regulation 9, the applicant would, under these Regulations, be liable to pay in respect of the charge;

the agency or Minister shall, subject to subregulation (2), fix, as the amount of the charge, an amount equal to the prescribed amount.

         (2)   Where an agency or a Minister makes a decision not to grant a request for access to a document, the agency or Minister shall not fix, under subregulation (1), an amount in respect of a charge unless the prescribed amount in relation to the charge is less than the amount fixed in respect of the charge in accordance with subregulation 9 (1), (2) or (3), as the case may be.

         (3)   Where an agency or a Minister has, in accordance with subregulation (1), fixed an amount in respect of a charge that an applicant is liable to pay, the applicant is liable to pay that amount in respect of the charge in lieu of the amount fixed in respect of the charge in accordance with subregulation 9 (1), (2) or (3), as the case may be.

         (4)   Where an applicant is, under subregulation (3), liable to pay to an agency or Minister in respect of a charge an amount fixed in accordance with subregulation (1), then:

                (a)    if the applicant has, under subregulation 9 (4), paid to the agency or Minister in respect of the charge an amount that exceeds the first‑mentioned amount — the applicant is entitled to a refund in an amount equal to the amount of the excess; or

               (b)    if the applicant has, under subregulation 9 (4), paid to the agency or Minister in respect of the charge an amount that is less than the first‑mentioned amount — the amount so paid by him shall be deemed to have been paid as a deposit on account of the charge.

11            Charges to be paid before access is granted

         (1)   Subject to subregulation (2), where an applicant is liable to pay a charge in respect of a request for access to a document or in respect of the provision of access to the document, the charge shall be paid to the relevant agency or the relevant Minister before access is granted to the document.

         (2)   Subregulation (1) does not apply to or in relation to a charge of a kind referred to in Item 1 of Part II of the Schedule except where the charge is payable in an amount fixed in accordance with subregulation 9 (3).

         (3)   In this regulation, ‘charge’ does not include a charge or any part of a charge that has been remitted.

12            Deposits

         (1)   Where:

                (a)    an agency or a Minister has made a decision that an applicant is liable to pay, in respect of a request or in respect of the provision of access to the document to which the request relates, a charge or charges other than a charge or charges applicable by virtue of regulation 6 or 7; and

               (b)    the amount, or the estimated amount, of that charge or of those charges exceeds $25;

the agency or Minister may make a decision whether the applicant is required to pay a deposit on account of the charge or charges that the applicant is liable to pay under these Regulations.

         (2)   Where an agency or a Minister has made a decision that an applicant is required to pay a deposit on account of the charge or charges that the applicant is liable to pay under these Regulations, the amount of the deposit is such amount not exceeding:

                (a)    where the amount, or the estimated amount, of the charge or charges exceeds $25 but does not exceed $100 — $20; or

               (b)    where that amount or estimated amount exceeds $100 — 25 per centum of that amount or estimated amount;

as is determined by the agency or Minister.

13            Applicant to be notified of liability to pay deposit

         (1)   Where, by virtue of a decision of an agency or a Minister, an applicant is required to pay a deposit on account of a charge or charges, the agency or Minister shall notify the applicant, in writing, accordingly and shall specify in the notification the amount of the deposit.

         (2)   A notification under subregulation (1) in respect of a deposit on account of a charge or charges shall be given to the applicant at the same time as the notification under section 29 of the Act in relation to the charge or charges is given to him.

14            Deposit not to be refunded

                A deposit paid by an applicant on account of a charge or charges, or any part of such a deposit, shall not be refunded to the applicant otherwise than in compliance with a decision to remit in whole or in part the charge or charges.


Schedule              

Part I           Charges applicable in respect of a request for access to a document

(regulation 4)

 

Item No

Charge

Amount or Rate of Charge

2

Where the request relates to a document other than a document in relation to which a charge is applicable under item 2A or 3 — a charge in respect of the time spent by the relevant agency or the relevant Minister in searching for or retrieving the document

$15.00 per hour

2A

If the request relates to a document that contains personal information about the applicant — a charge for the time spent by the agency or the Minister in searching for or retrieving the document

$15 for each hour, to a maximum charge of $30

3

Where the request, being a request made to an agency, is in respect of information that is not available in discrete form in documents of the agency — a charge in respect of the production of a document containing the information in discrete form by the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored information

an amount not exceeding the actual cost incurred by the agency in producing the document

4

Where

   (a)  the request relates to a document by which words are recorded in a manner in which they are capable of being reproduced in the form of sound or in which words are contained in the form of shorthand writing or in codified form; and

$4.40 per page of transcript

 

   (b)  for the purpose of making a decision on the request, a written transcript of the words recorded or contained in the document is produced, a charge in respect of the production of such a written transcript

 

5

A charge in respect of the time that is spent (other than on an application under section 54 of the Act for the review of a decision) by an agency or Minister in deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to the document or to grant access to a copy of the document with deletions, including time spent

   (a)  in examining the document;

   (b)  in consultation with any person or body;

   (c)  in making a copy with deletions; or

   (d)  in notifying any interim or final decision on the request

$20.00 per hour

6

If the document referred to in item 5 contains personal information about the applicant — a charge for the time that is spent in deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to the document or to grant access to a copy of the document with deletions

$20 for each hour, to a maximum charge of $40

Part II          Charges applicable in respect of the provision of access to a document to which a request relates

(regulation 4)

 

Item No

Charge

Amount or Rate of Charge

1

Where access to the document to which the request relates is given

   (a)  in the form of an opportunity to inspect the document under the supervision of an officer; or

   (b)  in the case of a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being produced — in the form of arrangements for the applicant to hear or view those sounds or visual images under the supervision of an officer,

a charge in respect of the period during which the officer supervises the inspection, hearing or viewing, as the case may be

if the period does not exceed half an hour — $6.25

if the period exceeds half an hour, for each half‑hour, and any period not exceeding half an hour, included in the period — $6.25

2

Where the request relates to a written document and access to the document is given in the form of the provision of a photocopy of the document — a charge in respect of the number of pages of photocopy provided to the applicant

10 cents per page

3

Where the request relates to a written document and access to the document is given in the form of the provision of a copy (other than a photocopy) of the document — a charge in respect of the number of pages of copy provided to the applicant

$4.40 per page

4

Where

   (a)  the request, being a request made to an agency, is in respect of information (in this item referred to as the ‘relevant information’) that is available in discrete form in a document produced (whether for the purposes of the request or not) by the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the agency for retrieving or collating stored information;

(b) deletions are made from the document before access to it is given to the applicant; and

   (c)  it is not reasonably practicable to make these deletions otherwise than by the use of a computer or other equipment referred to in paragraph (a), a charge in respect of the production by the computer or other equipment of a copy of the document with those deletions

an amount not exceeding the actual costs incurred by the agency in producing such a copy of the document

4A

A charge for the production by an agency of a copy of a document in the form of a computer tape or a computer disk

an amount that does not exceed the actual costs incurred by the agency in producing the copy of the document

5

Where

   (a)  the request relates to a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being produced; and

an amount not exceeding the actual costs incurred by the relevant agency or Minister in respect of those arrangements

 

   (b)  access to the document is given in the form of arrangements for the applicant to hear or view those sounds or visual images, a charge in respect of the arrangements so made other than any arrangements in respect of which a charge is applicable under Item 1

 

6

Where

   (a)  the request relates to a document that is an article or thing from which sounds or visual images are capable of being produced; and

   (b)  access is given in the form of the provision of a copy of the document, a charge in respect of the production of the copy so provided

an amount not exceeding the actual costs (including, where applicable, the cost of any tape, film or other article or thing provided) incurred by the relevant agency or Minister in producing the copy

7

Where

   (a)  the request relates to a document by which words are recorded in a manner in which they are capable of being reproduced in the form of sound or in which words are contained in the form of shorthand writing or in codified form;

   (b)  access is given in the form of the provision of a written transcript (with or without deletions) of the words recorded or contained in the document; and

   (c)  the applicant has not paid, or is not liable to pay, as a charge in respect of the request for access to the document, a charge in respect of the production of such a written transcript, a charge in respect of the production of that written transcript

$4.40 per page of transcript

8

Where

   (a)  access to the document to which the request relates is to be given in the form of the provision of a copy of the document; and

   (b)  the copy so provided is, at the request of the applicant, to be sent by post or delivered to him at a place other than an Information Access Office,

a charge in respect of the posting or delivery of the copy

an amount not exceeding the cost of postage or delivery

 


Notes to the Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations

Note 1

The Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations (in force under the Freedom of Information Act 1982) as shown in this compilation comprise Statutory Rules 1982 No. 197 amended as indicated in the Tables below.

The Freedom of Information (Fees and Charges) Regulations were amended by the Freedom of Information Laws Amendment Act 1986. The amendments are incorporated in this compilation.

For application, saving or transitional provisions relating to the amendments see sections 27 and 28 of the abovementioned Act.

Table of Statutory Rules

Year and
number

Date of notification
in Gazette

Date of
commencement

Application, saving or
transitional provisions

1982 No. 197

20 Aug 1982

1 Dec 1982
(see Gazette 1982, No. G48)

 

1985 No. 113 (a)

20 June 1985

20 June 1985

R. 8

1991 No. 320

24 Oct 1991

25 Oct 1991 (see r. 1)

(a)    Statutory Rules 1985 No. 113 was disallowed by the Senate on
13 November 1985.

Table of Amendments

ad. = added or inserted      am. = amended      rep. = repealed      rs. = repealed and substituted

Provision affected

How affected

R. 1.........................................

am. Act No. 111, 1986

R. 3.........................................

am. Act No. 111, 1986; 1991 No. 320

R. 5.........................................

rs. Act No. 111, 1986

R. 6.........................................

rs. Act No. 111, 1986

 

am. 1991 No. 320

R. 7.........................................

rep. Act No. 111, 1986

R. 11.......................................

am. Act No. 111, 1986; 1991 No. 320

R. 14.......................................

am. 1991 No. 320

Schedule

 

Schedule...............................

am. Act No. 111, 1986; 1991 No. 320