Application of section 85 RTI Act

Relevant considerations

1. Who can apply to have a decision reviewed by the Information Commissioner?

Section 85 of the RTI Act provides that ‘a person affected by a reviewable decision’ can apply for external review.  This will usually be the access applicant, however, any person affected by a reviewable decision can apply for review. This includes a third party, for example, where that party objects to information being disclosed in response to an access application.

2.   What is a ‘reviewable decision’?

A ‘reviewable decision’ is a decision1 in relation to the applicant’s access application that can be reviewed by the Information Commissioner.

Schedule 6 of the RTI Act provides an exhaustive list of ‘reviewable decisions’

Section 86 of the RTI Act specifically disallows external review of a ‘decision about the amount of a charge stated in a charges estimate notice’.

Where the applicant has narrowed the access application, the reviewable decision will relate to that narrowed application and the original application cannot be used to broaden the scope.2   This is the case even where the access application has been revised at the suggestion of the agency or Minister.3 

  • 1 That is, a deemed, considered or internal review decision made by an agency or Minister—see sections 45, 46 and 83 of the RTI Act.
  • 2 Simpson MP and Department of Transport and Main Roads (Unreported, Queensland Information Commissioner, 29 July 2011) (Simpson) at paragraph 12. 
  • 3 Simpson at paragraph 13.

Last updated: May 20, 2013