The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) gives a general right to the public and to staff to seek access to documents held by AIMS.
The FOI Act gives any person the right to:
- access copies of documents (except exempt documents) we hold
- ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
- seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record
You can ask to see any document that AIMS hold. AIMS can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those:
- containing material obtained in confidence
- disclosing trade secrets or commercially sensitive or valuable information
- containing information relating to research that is being undertaken by AIMS
- containing personal information
- relating to deliberative processes of AIMS
Documents available outside the FOI Act
You can get certain information, including personal information AIMS holds about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act.
You should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI disclosure log to see if what you are seeking is already available.
Your request must:
- be in writing
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
- provide information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request
- provide an address for reply
How to contact us
Phone: (07) 4753 4444 – please ask to speak to the AIMS FOI Contact Officer
Postal address: PMB No 3, Townsville MC, Qld 4810 AUSTRALIA
Fees and charges
There is no application fee for an FOI request.
There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests. The most common charges are:
Fees and charges for processing FOI requests
Search and retrieval: time we spend searching for or retrieving a document
$15.00 per hour
Decision making: time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions
First five hours: Nil
Subsequent hours: $20.00 per hour
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium
$4.40 per page of transcript
$0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an AIMS officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at AIMS’ premises
$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)
Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request
Cost of postage or delivery
If AIMS decide to impose a charge, AIMS will give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation. Where the estimated charge is between $25 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $25, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25% deposit before we process your request.
You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do so, you should explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.
What you can expect from us
AIMS will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request. AIMS will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.
If you disagree with our decision
When AIMS has made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.
You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:
- if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
- if we impose a charge
- if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
A third party who disagrees with AIMS’ decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.
Within 30 days of receipt of the decision (or such other time as advised in the decision you can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in AIMS. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner review
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances.
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions. More information is available from the OAIC. The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.
If you require assistance with your request, please contact AIMS’ FOI Contact Officer on (07) 4753 4444 or by email at FOI@aims.gov.au.
Certain documents that we have released under the FOI Act can be obtained at AIMS’ FOI disclosure log and information about AIMS’ Information Publication Scheme is also available.
AIMS is required by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act) to publish a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log lists information which has been released in response to an FOI access request. This requirement has applied since 1 May 2011.
The disclosure log does not apply to:
- personal information about any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be 'unreasonable'
- any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points
The information described in the disclosure log has been released by AIMS under the FOI Act and is available for public access.
Access to documents listed in the disclosure log is available by writing to:
FOI Contact Officer
Australian Institute of Marine Science
PMB No 3, Townsville MC
Townsville, Qld 4810
A charge may be imposed to reimburse AIMS for the cost incurred in copying or reproducing the information on the disclosure log or sending it to you. There will be no charge for the time spent by AIMS in processing the FOI request that led to this information being made available. You will be notified if any charge is payable and required to pay the charge before the information is provided.
If you are unable to read the format or access the documents in the disclosure log provided, please contact the FOI Contact Officer via email at FOI@aims.gov.au to discuss alternative access arrangements.