Applying for financial hardship as an individual

Overview

When you make an application to access information under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act) or the Information Privacy Act 2009(Qld) (IP Act) you may request that the processing and/or access charges be waived if you are the holder of certain concession cards.1

Which concession cards are accepted?

In order for an agency2 to waive charges under the RTI Act and IP Act, you must hold one of the following concession cards issued by Centrelink, the Department of Human Services or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs:3

  • Department of Human Services Health Care Card
  • Department of Human Services Pensioner Concession Card
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card

The card must be current. Please see the attachment Which concession cards are accepted? (PDF, 184.74 KB)for images of these valid concession cards.

How do I apply for charges to be waived?

You must make the request in writing to the agency. It can be done at any stage throughout the application; however it will generally save time if you include the request when you lodge your application form.

Hint

  1. Photocopy your valid concession card.
  2. On that page make a written request for the waiver (eg "I am requesting a waiver of all processing and access charges for my application").
  3. Send the request to the agency you are applying to (include it with the application form if possible).

Can the application fee be waived too?

No – the application fee for an RTI Act application can never be waived. You can only apply to have the processing and/or access charges waived.

What are processing and access charges?

Processing charges are the fees related to the cost of the time taken by the agency to process the application if it is made under the RTI Act.

Processing charges are calculated on a per 15 minutes basis (or part thereof) spent processing the application. If the time taken is less than 5 hours there is no processing charge.

There are no processing charges for applications under the IP Act.

Access charges are the fees related to the cost the agency incurs to produce copies of the document(s). For example, access charges include standard black-and-white photocopy costs (25 cents per page).

It is free to access the documents via email or on disc.

Can I make the application for someone else so that they don't have to pay the charges?

No. If the agency considers that you are making the application for someone else so that they can avoid the payment of a charge then the agency may refuse to waive the processing and/or access charges.

Can I apply for a waiver of the fees and charges if I am making an application for my child?

If you are making the application for your child then the child is considered to be the applicant. This means that your child would have to be named (even if it is as a dependent) on one of the three concession cards in order to qualify for financial hardship. You cannot apply for financial hardship for your child with your own concession card if your child is not also named on the card.

How do I know if the charges have been waived?

The agency must advise you in writing before the end of the processing period4 whether your application for waiver has been granted.

If the agency decides to refuse your application for waiver then you may seek a review of that decision – either an internal review to the agency or an external review to the Office of the Information Commissioner. If you first seek an internal review and remain dissatisfied with the outcome, you can then apply for an external review.

  • [1] A 'holder' of a concession card is someone who is named on the concession card and is qualified to be named on the concession card at the time it is being relied on (including as a dependent). [up]
    [2] In this information sheet, references to an ‘agency’ include Ministers, unless otherwise specified. [up]
    [3] Section 66 of the RTI Act. [up]
    [4]The processing period is the time that the agency has to process your application. It is usually 25 business days, but can be extended in some circumstances. [up]

Current as at: July 1, 2014