Freedom of Information

Your rights

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) held by Austrade
  • ask for information Austrade holds about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading
  • seek a review of an Austrade decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.

You can ask to see any document that Austrade holds. Access to some documents or parts of documents can be refused if they are determined to be exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.

Documents available outside the FOI Act

You can get certain information, including personal information we hold about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act. This includes categories of documents such as personnel files.

You should also check the information published by Austrade under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI Disclosure Log to see if what you are seeking is already available.

How to make a request

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) to assist us to process your request
  • provide an address for reply.

You can send your request:

By post

FOI Contact Officer
Legal Procurement and Fraud
GPO Box 2386
Canberra ACT 2601

By email:

If you ask a third party to make an FOI request on your behalf, you need to provide a specific, written authority to send copies of documents to you, care of that person, or to allow that person to inspect copies of documents containing information about you.

If you require assistance with your request, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on (02) 9392 2000 or by email at

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:

Activity item Charge
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 per hour
Transcript: preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium $4.40 per page of transcript
Photocopy $0.10 per page
Inspection: supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our 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 Austrade decides to impose a charge, a written estimate and the basis of our calculation will be provided. Where the estimated charge is between $20 and $100, you may be asked to pay a deposit of $20, or where the estimated charge exceeds $100, you may be asked you to pay a 25% deposit before request is processed.

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

You will be advised within 14 days that your request has been received. You will also be given an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. A decision will be provided within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, Austrade will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. Austrade 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 a decision is made about your FOI request, a letter explaining the decision and your review and appeal rights will be sent.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if Austrade refuses to give you access to all or part of a document or if Austrade defer giving you access
  • if Austrade impose a charge
  • if Austrade 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 a decision to give an applicant documents that contain information about them can also ask for that decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. 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 an original decision or a 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. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at


If you are unhappy with the way Austrade has handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate the handling of the request. More information is available on the OAIC’s website at The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about Austrade’s actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

More information

If you require more information, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on (02) 9392 2000 or by email at