How do I apply for government documents?

The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld)(RTI Act) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld)(IP Act) give you the right to apply for access to documents from Queensland government departments (including the Queensland Police Service and Queensland Treasury), Ministers, local councils, public universities and statutory bodies (including public hospitals).

This Information Sheet will help you find and complete the approved form to make an application under the RTI Act or IP Act.

Note

Although it’s not compulsory, it may be helpful to contact the RTI Unit at the agency that holds the documents you’re seeking before you make a formal application. They may be able to tell you if the documents are available through another process or give you information that will help to complete your application form.

Application form

You need to complete the approved application form to make an application under the RTI Act or IP Act. The application form can be downloaded from www.rti.qld.gov.au. The link to the form can be found on the right hand side, towards the bottom of the page.

Alternatively, you can contact the agency you are applying to or the OIC Enquiries Service1 to request that a copy of the application form be posted or emailed to you.

If the documents you are seeking are held by a Queensland government department, you can complete the application form online2. Please note the online form is only available for applications to departments3.

How to complete the application form

The same application form is used for both RTI Act and IP Act applications.

The application form has sections marked with black triangles which indicate the areas you must complete.

Contact details

This section is where you enter your personal details such as name, postal address and preferred method of contact.  If someone is acting on your behalf (they are called your agent) then the agent’s details should be entered here.

Question 1: Application type?

In this section you need to tick whichever box most closely describes the type of documents you are seeking.

picture of question 1 of the approved RTI and IP application form, showing options a, b, and c. Option a is for applications that will only include documents that contain your personal information,  Option c is for applications that will have no documents containing your personal information and Option b is for applications that will be a mix of personal and non-personal documents. Option a will be an IP applications; Options b and c must be made under the RTI Act.

If you are only applying for documents which contain your personal information (or the person’s on whose behalf the application is made) then select “a” under Question 1 on the application form.

If you are applying for some documents which do not contain your personal information (even if some others will) then the application must be dealt with under the RTI Act.   Select “b” under Question 1 on the application form.

If none of the documents you are applying for contain your personal information then the application must be dealt with under the RTI Act.  Select “c” under Question 1on the application form.

For more guidance see the Information Sheet: What is personal information?

Application fee

There is no application fee or processing charges for applications made under the IP Act.

If you are requesting access to any documents which do not contain your personal information then your application must be made under the RTI Act (see above).  There is an application fee of $48.00 for all RTI Act applications and possible processing charges. The application fee cannot be waived.

If you have any questions about how to pay the application fee, please contact the agency you are applying to. You can find a list of RTI and IP agency contacts on the RTI website4 or by contacting the OIC Enquiries Service.

See the Information Sheets: Fees and Charges and Applying for financial hardship as an individual for more information about fees and charges in relation to your application.

Question 2: On behalf of the applicant? If an agent is acting on your behalf you are still the applicant. Your name should be provided at question 2.

Note

If the documents will contain your personal information then there are additional evidence of identity and evidence of authority requirements for the agent.

Question 3-4: Benefit of another person?

If you are applying under the IP Act you can ignore these questions.

If you are applying under the RTI Act you must answer them, either yes or no. If you are seeking access for the use or benefit of another person, company or body then you must specify this at question 3-4.  For example, a parent applying for information about a school which they intend to provide to the Parents & Citizens Association.

Question 5: Agency?

Name the Queensland government agency or Minister you are applying to in this section (for example, Queensland Police Service, your local council, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital).

If you want to apply to more than one agency you must complete a separate application form for each agency.

Question 6: Which documents?

This section is where you describe the documents you want to access.  You need to make sure you provide enough detail about the documents for the agency to be able to identify them. It will help if you can be as specific as possible about what you are seeking and provide as much information as you can.

If you are able to provide the information that is requested in questions 6(b)-6(f) this will assist the agency in locating the documents.  If it is easier, you can attach a separate piece of paper explaining the documents you are seeking.  You can leave some or all of these sections blank if you do not have this information or if it's not relevant.

Evidence of identity

If you are applying for any documents which contain your personal information (for example, your name) then you must provide evidence of your identity with the application form.5

If you are providing a photocopy of the ID then it must be certified as a true copy of the original document by a Justice of the Peace (JP), Commissioner for Declarations, lawyer or Notary Public.

If an agent is acting for you, then the agent must also provide:

  • Evidence of their own identity (the same requirements as the applicant’s evidence of identity); and
  • Proof of authority to act as your agent.

Note

You cannot upload your certified ID if you complete the online application form.  You may be able to provide it electronically (for example, by fax or email) if the agency agrees to receive it that way.  Otherwise, you must post the copy of your certified ID to the agency.

For more information see the Evidence of authority and identity guideline.

Contact from the agency

If your application is not valid the agency will contact you to tell you what is wrong with your with your application and give you an opportunity to make it compliant.

If you are contacted, you need to provide the information requested (for example, pay the application fee or provide evidence of identity) within the timeframe given by the agency.  If you need extra time you must contact the agency.  If you don’t respond within the timeframe provided, the agency may make a formal decision that your application is noncompliant and refuse to process it.

  • 1 The OIC Enquiries Service can be contacted on 3234 7373 or by emailing enquiries@oic.qld.gov.au
  • 2 https://www.smartservice.qld.gov.au/services/information-requests/apply.action
  • 3 This Information Sheet will primarily assist people who are completing the paper form. If you need help with the online application form you can contact the OIC Enquiries Service for general assistance.
  • 4 http://www.rti.qld.gov.au/rti-ip-agency-contacts
  • 5 Or within 10 business days of making the application.

Current as at: April 13, 2017