(1) If an application for access to a document is made to an agency or Minister under this Act, the agency or Minister must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the applicant is notified that the application has been received as soon as practicable, but in any case not later than 14 days, after the application is received.
(2) After considering the application, the agency or Minister must decide—
(a) whether access is to be given to the document; and
(b) if access is to be given—any charge that must be paid before access is granted; and
(c) any charge payable for dealing with the application.
(3) If giving access to a document will disclose to the applicant matter the agency or Minister reasonably considers is not relevant to the application, the agency or Minister may delete the irrelevant matter from a copy of the document before giving access to the document.
(4) The agency or Minister may give access to a document by giving access to a copy of the document with the irrelevant matter deleted only if the agency or Minister considers, from the application or after consultation with the applicant—
(a) the applicant would accept the copy; and
(b) it is reasonably practicable to give access to the copy.
(5) If the agency or Minister fails to decide an application and notify the applicant under section 34 within—
(a) the appropriate period; or
(b) if action is required under section 51 in relation to the application—a period equal to the appropriate period plus 15 days;
the agency's principal officer or the Minister is taken to have refused access to the document to which the application relates at the end of the period.
(5A) As soon as practicable after a decision the agency's principal officer or the Minister is taken to have made under subsection (5), the principal officer or the Minister must give written notice to the applicant—
(a) stating the decision taken to have been made; and
(i) the day on which the decision is taken to have been made; and
(ii) the right of review conferred by part 5 in relation to the decision; and
(iii) the procedures to be followed for exercising the right; and
(iv) the time within which an application for review must be made.
(6) This section does not require an agency to determine an application that has been transferred to another agency under section 26.
(7) In this section—
appropriate period means—
(a) in relation to an application to an agency or Minister for a document that—
(i) came into existence more than 5 years before the commencement of this part; and
(ii) does not concern the personal affairs of the applicant;
60 days after the application is received by the agency or Minister; or
(b) in relation to any other application—45 days after the application is received by the agency or Minister.