Right to request
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives you the right seek access to documents about your personal affairs and the activities of the Government of Victoria and of Government Agencies, including the Commission.
This means you have the right to:
- request access to documents about your personal affairs and the activities of the Commission, where those documents are held by the Commission
- request that the Commission amend or remove incorrect or misleading information we hold about you.
The Commission can refuse a request where:
- the documents are covered by an exemption under the FOI Act
- the documents or information is publicly available
- the documents requested are not held by the Commission but may be held by another agency
- either the document/s cannot be found after a thorough search, or the documents do not exist.
Where the information or documents you want to access relates to your own personal information, you may not need to make a formal FOI request in order to access the document. If you are unsure whether you need to make a formal FOI request, please contact the Commission on 1300 891 848 or TTY 1300 289 621.
Making a request
If you wish to make a FOI request to the Commission, you must:
- Make your request in writing.
- Provide a clear and detailed description of the particular document/s or types of documents you want to access.
- Pay an application fee.
A FOI request cannot be processed unless all three criteria are met.
Don't forget to provide us with your contact phone number or email, in case we need to clarify your request.
The Freedom of Information Officer
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street
If you have difficulty writing or would like assistance making your request, please contact the Commission on 1300 891 848 or TTY 1300 289 621. An interpreter service is also available on 1300 1252 494.
Proof of identity
Where your request relates to documents containing personal information about yourself, the Commission may request that you provide proof of your identity. This could be in the form of a driver's license, passport, or other photo ID.
If you have a representative or advocate making the request, we will also need to see a written and signed statement from you stating that you give permission for that person to communicate with us on your behalf and access the documents.
Seeking proof of your identity is to ensure that private and confidential records are not improperly disclosed.
The Commission's FOI Officer will assess your request to ensure it is a valid request under the FOI Act, and to see whether it has enough information to search for and identify the document/s. If we need more information or clarification about your request, we will contact you.
We will then undertake a search for the requested documents, and will write to you with a decision about whether your request is granted in full or in part, or if it is refused. We will also tell you the reason/s for our decision. The Commission has up to 45 days to process and respond to your request.
If you are granted access to requested documents, the Commission will discuss with you how access will be provided. You may be required to pay access charges depending on the nature of the request.
The Commission is bound by a "secrecy" provision in the Equal Opportunity Act. This means that, unless we have the consent of the parties involved, the Commission is legally not allowed to disclose documents or information which has been collected by the Commission in the course of performing its functions under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (such as documents obtained during dispute resolution). This secrecy provision is an exemption under the FOI Act.
Challenging a decision
If you are unhappy with a FOI decision made by the Commission, you have the right under the FOI Act to ask the FOI Commissioner to review any decision refusing access to documents.
You also have the right to complain to the Freedom of Information Commissioner about a FOI process or if you have been told the documents requested cannot be found or do not exist.
To contact the FOI Commissioner, call 1300 842 364 or visit www.foicommissioner.vic.gov.au.
The FOI Online website contains further information to help you access government documents. On the site you can download a request form and find out more information about the FOI request process.
You can also download a copy of the Commission's "Part II Statement" under the FOI Act below.