'Personal information' in the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) is information or opinion about a person who can be identified from that information or opinion.
Information held by government agencies, such as Sydney Local Health District (SLHD), may identify you. If this is the case, the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act protects your personal information. The Health Records Information and Privacy Act protects a specific type of personal information, including information about your physical or mental health, disability, provision of health services or genetic information.
More information on the privacy principles and protections is available on the Information and Privacy Commission NSW website.
Alternatively, Sydney Local Health District's Privacy Officer can be contacted on (02) 9787 0262.
You can access your personal information held by Sydney Local Health District in several ways.
Sydney Local Health District's Privacy Officer can be contacted on (02) 9787 0262.
*If you would like to access your own Medical or Health Information please click on to the link: "Accessing your Medical Records and Health Information". This page contains detailed contact information for each of the Medical Records departments within Sydney Local Health District, and how to make an application.
If you think that your personal or health information held by an agency is incorrect, you can ask the agency to correct it under:
For further information on your rights under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act and Health Records Information and Privacy Act, please visit the Information and Privacy Commission NSW website.
Alternatively, you may contact Sydney Local Health District's Privacy Officer on (02) 9787 0262.
Government information sometimes identifies people. Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) a record that would reveal an individual's personal information would not generally be disclosed unless there are strong public interest considerations in favour of disclosure.
Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW), personal information does not include the individual's name and non-personal contact details that shows the person was exercising public functions.
In deciding whether to disclose personal information about you to a person applying for access to information, the Sydney Local Health District must consider whether you are likely to be concerned about the release of the information and whether those concerns are relevant to the public interest. If so, Sydney Local Health District must:
If Sydney Local Health District consults you and decides to release the information anyway, it:
You may also wish to contact Information and Privacy Commission NSW (the office of the NSW Privacy Commissioner), which publishes factsheets about the handling of personal information and health information.?
Any person can make a formal application for access to information held by an agency. This should be the last resort, after the informal avenues have been tried.
A valid formal application for access to government information must:
You may wish to use SLHD's application form when writing your application for information under GIPAA.
Please note that it is best to include information that you think should be taken into account when a decision is made on the application, such as why you are asking for the information or why you feel it should be released - this will help to keep the cost of your application down and help us to identify the information.
When seeking access to personal information, an applicant must provide proof of identity in the form of certified copies of two of the following documents (one preferably containing a photo and one with a signature).
If you have difficulty providing two of these documents, or if you would like further information about what documents are accepted, please contact the Right to Information Coordinator on (02) 9515 9095.
*If you are requesting documents relating to the personal affairs of another person, on their behalf, they must give consent. An original signed authority by the applicant is required, plus certified proof of their identity.
We will advise you within five (5) working days of receiving your application if it is valid under the GIPA Act. If it is not valid, we will tell you why and help you to make it valid.
We will then process your application by searching for the information or let you know if it is more appropriate for your application to be dealt with by another agency.
In processing your application, we may have to consult other people, businesses or government agencies on the release of information that relates to them. A decision is then made:
We will provide you with reasons for making any of the above decisions.
If we decide to defer access, we will give you reasons for deferral and when you will be given access.
If your access application is valid, we will take steps to see if SLHD has the information you are seeking. We will try to deal with your request as soon as possible and within 20 working days of receiving your application. If we need to consult a third party or we need to retrieve archived records, the 20-day period will be extended by 10-15 days. We may not always be able to meet these timeframes, for example, if there is a large amount of information or many people to consult. We will let you know if this is the case and negotiate a longer timeframe with you. If your request will involve an unreasonable amount of processing work and time, we will ask you to revise your request. The time to revise the request will not be counted in calculating the deadline.
If we do not decide your access application within the deadline, it is deemed to be refused. We will continue to process your application, but your application fee will be refunded and you may seek a review of this deemed refusal. This will not apply if an extension of time has been arranged or payment of an advance deposit is pending. You will be advised of any changes to the timeframe in writing.
The GIPA formal access application fee is $30, and it covers the first hour of processing time or the first two hours if a 50% reduction of charges has been granted.
In addition to the $30 application fee, we may charge $30 per hour after the first hour to search for the information; consult third parties and make a decision about access (unless you have asked for your personal information, in which case the first 20 processing hours are free).
You will be given a 50% reduction in processing fees if you can show you would suffer financial hardship, or if you can show that the information is of special benefit to the public generally. You will need to apply/request for this and provide supporting evidence.
We may ask for an advance deposit to cover the estimated processing charges. You will be given four weeks to pay the deposit. The time allowed to finalise your application does not include the time waiting for an advance deposit to be paid. Any deposit paid will be refunded if we do not decide your application in time.
You can ask to be given access to photocopies of the information or for it to be provided electronically on CD, DVD or by email to minimise the impact on the environment.
We try to make information available wherever possible. However, you may not be able to obtain information if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. For example, this can apply to information such as:
In addition, Schedule 1 of the GIPA Act has a list of information for which there is a conclusive presumption of overriding public interest against disclosure. For information about the excluded information included in this list, please refer to Schedule 1 of the GIPA Act.
We can only refuse access to information if the public interests against disclosure outweigh the general public interests in favour of disclosure.
There is no limit to the matters we can take into account in favour of releasing information. We will let you know the reasons if we decide not to release information or parts of information.
We can also refuse an application if:
You have three options if you have been refused access to information:
You can ask for a decision to be reviewed if you are the access applicant or if a decision has been made to give an applicant access to information that relates to your business, commercial, professional, financial, or personal interests or research contrary to your objections.
For more information on what to do if you do not agree with a formal GIPA decision, please refer to the GIPA review process.
If you receive information after making a formal application and we think other people will be interested in it, we will record it on our disclosure log which describes the information that was provided, the date the application was decided, and how other members of the public can access it.
If you are the access applicant or you have been consulted or should have been consulted on the release of information, you can object to information being included in the disclosure log if it includes personal information about you or about a deceased person that you represent or if the information concerns your business, commercial, professional, or financial interests or research.
An agency may release information about your business in response to an access application; however, the decision will be subject to the public interest test.
If an access application covers your business information, an agency must consult you to see whether or not you object to the information being released. Your objection must relate to one or more of the five public interest considerations against disclosure set out in the Act.
If the agency decides that, on balance, the public interests against disclosure outweigh those for disclosure, then they will not release the information.
If an agency decides to release your business information, despite your objection, you have a right have this decision reviewed under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (see FAQ Can an agency refuse my request for information? What are my review rights).
There are a range of penalties that can be applied under the GIPA Act for the following conduct:
These offences attract a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units.
There are a range of protections under the GIPA Act.
If a person has made at least three access applications within two years that lack merit, the Administrative and Equal Opportunity division (A&EO Division) of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), may order that the person must get the A&EO Division's approval before making another access application.
If a person is subject to such a restraint order, they cannot apply to NCAT for approval to make an access application without first serving notice on the agency concerned and the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
You can complain to the Information and Privacy Commission. The Commissioner may undertake formal or informal investigations and actions to assist in resolving the complaint.
If you would like more information, please contact the Sydney Local Health District Right to Information Coordinator on (02) 9515 9095. Alternatively, contact the Information and Privacy Commission on 1800 472 679 or visit their website at http://www.ipc.nsw.gov.au/ .