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Right to Information

Overview

Right to Information

The Right to Information Act 2009 (the Act) provides members of the public with the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers.

The Department of Justice is a public authority under the Act.

The Act aims to improve democratic government by:

  • increasing the accountability of government;
  • increasing the ability of the public to participate in government decision making processes; and
  • acknowledging that public authorities collect information for and on behalf of members of the public

The Act:

  • authorises and encourages routine disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications;
  • authorises and encourages active disclosure of information held by public authorities in response to informal requests without the need for applications;
  • gives members of the public an enforceable right to information held by public authorities; and
  • provides that access to information held by government bodies is restricted in only limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.

The Act provides that information may be released to the public through the following methods:

Required disclosure

Required disclosure is disclosure required by law, including under an enforceable agreement. Examples include the requirement to publish an annual report or a decision made under legislation.

The Department of Justice, as well as a number of statutory bodies for which the Department is responsible, must publish annual reports. These can be accessed through the Department's Publications webpage.

Routine disclosure

Routine disclosure is the disclosure of information which a public authority decides may be of interest to the public. Examples include discussion papers in relation to proposals for law reform, statistical information, information about the programs, policies and services the Department delivers or the Department's Gifts and Benefits Register. This information can be accessed through the Department's Routine Release of Information webpage.

Active disclosure

Active disclosure is the disclosure of information in response to a request made other than by way of a Right to Information application. An example is the provision of information to a member of the public in response to a letter.

Assessed disclosure

Assessed disclosure takes place as a result of a formal request through a right to information application. Assessed disclosure of information is a last resort as the Act requires the Department to put processes in place to make information freely available through required, routine or active disclosures.

Information sought though a right to information application might already be public or the Department may release information without proceeding to a formal assessment under the Act.

All information must be disclosed, unless it is exempt information as defined by the Act. Further information on exemptions is contained in the Ombudsman’s Manual.

Information released in response to a right to information application deemed to be in the broader public interest will be published on the Department's Disclosure Register.

For further information on making a formal request, visit the Department's webpage on how to make a right to information application.

Personal Information Protection Act 2004

In certain circumstances, it may be possible to seek access to personal information which the Department holds about you through the Personal Information Protection Act 2004.

It is recommended that you contact the Department to discuss whether the application should be made under the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 or as an application for assessed disclosure under the Right to Information Act 2009.

How to make a Right to Information application

How to make a Right to Information application

Prior to making a right to information application, you should -

  • Check to see if the information is already publicly available, e.g. it may be published on the Department’s website. Applicants should always have looked for the information before making a formal application. If the information is otherwise available, your application may be refused without the return of your application fee.
  • Check to make sure that application should be made to this Department and not another public authority. For example, applications for information relating to criminal or traffic matters may need to be made to the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management and applications for youth justice records should be made to the Department of Communities Tasmania.

Publicly available material can be found across the Department’s website and from our:

Applications

If you have not been able to locate the information you are looking for, you may lodge a right to information application.

Right to information applications to the Department of Justice should be made on the following form:

To lodge an application, email your completed form to rti@justice.tas.gov.au or post it to:

Right to Information Officer
Department of Justice
GPO Box 825
Hobart   TAS   7001

Fees

Applications must be accompanied by the application fee. This fee is 25 fee units, which is $42.50 as at 1 July 2022 and is indexed annually.

You can apply to have the application fee waived if one of the following applies:

  • you are in financial hardship, e.g. unemployed or currently in prison – the Department will need evidence such as a Centrelink Health Care Card
  • you are a Member of Parliament acting in connection with your official duty
  • you are a journalist acting in connection with your professional duties
  • you are able to show that you intend to use the information for a purpose that is of general public interest or benefit.

Applicants should note that if seeking a waiver of the application fee on the basis of general public interest, and it is determined that the information is in the broader public interest, publication of the released information is likely. Applicants’ names will not be published but a category of applicant will be published, i.e. Member of Parliament, media representative, private individual.

After you lodge an application

After the Department receives your application:

  • you may be contacted to confirm the exact nature of the information being sought
  • searches will be undertaken to identify what information relating to the application is held by the Department
  • the information will be assessed to see whether it can be disclosed or whether it is subject to any exemptions to disclosure under the Right to Information Act 2009
  • you will be advised of the outcome, normally within 20 days, but this may be extended in the event that the Department has to consult with third parties

You will receive a written response to your application. If some or all of the information being requested is not released, you will be given written reasons for not disclosing the information to you.

If you disagree with the Department’s decision, you may request the Department to conduct an internal review of the decision. Such a request must be made within 20 working days after notice of the decision is given to you.

If you are still dissatisfied with the Department’s decision, you may request the Ombudsman to conduct an external review of the decision. Such a request must be made within 20 working days after notice of the decision on the internal review is given to you.

Details of how to request a review are provided to applicants in written decisions.

Resources

Resources

Right to Information Annual Report

Section 53 of the Right to Information Act 2009 requires the Department of Justice to prepare a report for each financial year on the administration of the Act.

The report contains statistical information on right to information requests for all public authorities.

The annual report can be downloaded from the links below:

Legislation

Right to Information Act 2009

Right to Information Regulations 2021

Office of the Ombudsman

Right to Information Manual

Right to Information Guidelines

Right to Information Decisions

Delegations

The information provided in this section is designed to help public authorities in the administration of Right to Information.

Principal Officers of public authorities or Ministers may delegate some or all of their functions powers under section 24 of the Act to another person, where the Principal Officer or Minister is satisfied that the person has the skills and knowledge necessary to perform those functions or exercise those powers. Sample delegations are included below:

Delegation of power to make original decision on application for assessed disclosure under section 21

Delegation of power to conduct internal review under section 43

Delegation of powers to both make decisions and conduct internal reviews

Disclosure register

Disclosure register

Certain information released in response to Right to Information requests is published online within 48 hours of being released to the applicant. This only applies to applications received after 9 June 2015.

The new approach makes information released to an applicant available to a wider audience and increases Government transparency and accountability.

Information is published if it is determined that the information is in the broader public interest.

No personal information or information of a commercial or confidential nature will be published.

Date Released to Applicant Category of Applicant Summary of Request Information Released
 Member of publicExemptions under section 14 of the Personal Information Protection Act 2004PIP Act exemptions
 Member of ParliamentWorkSafe Tasmania notifiable incident data - 1 January 2014 to 4 May 2020WorkSafe notifiable incident data
 MediaDetails of minors subject to personal searches in the Tasmania Prison Service in 2019

Personal Searches of Minors - 2019 statistics

Personal Searches of Minors - Background

 MediaDetails of offences that have attracted home detention orders and the special/individual conditions attached to home detention ordersHome Detention Order information
 MediaStatistic regarding the strip search of minors in the custody of the Tasmania Prison Service in the 2018 calendar yearStrip search of minors - statistics 2018
  Media Information regarding leave taken by prisoners in the last financial year Leave taken by prisoners in the last financial year 
  Media Information regarding site options for proposed Northern Prison Site Suitability Requirements - Northern Prison
  Media 2015 and 2016 People Matter Survey results People Matter Survey results 2015
People Matter Survey results 2016
  Member of Parliament A copy of information regarding asbestos management at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Right to Information - asbestos management at the Royal Hobart Hospital
  Media Details about incorrectly released prisoners over the last two years. Details about incorrectly released prisoners
  Member of Parliament A copy of information regarding mould issues at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Right to Information - mould issues at the Royal Hobart Hospital
  Media

A copy of the Department’s gifts and benefits register for financial year 2014-15.

Department of Justice Gifts & Benefits Register 2014-15 
  Media Information about drug use at Risdon Prison. Statistical information about the number of seizures and types of drugs seized over a period of years.
  Member of Parliament Information for each successful bidder and any other bidders that were awarded contracts that were deemed exempt from the Treasurer’s Instructions, including the name of the successful bidder, the product or service provided, and the cost of the contract since 1 January 2015. Exemption requests approved and contracts executed from 1 January 2015
  Member of Parliament

A copy of all information relating to external consultants engaged by the department from 1 August 2014 to current. A copy of all information relating to the name of the consultant or firm, the dates of the engagement period, the reason for their engagement, and the total cost of each consultant, including any travel and accommodation paid.

External consultants engaged by the Department from 1 August 2014 to 18 November 2015.
  Member of Parliament A list of all organisations incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1964 as of 10 February 2016 List of incorporated associations
 Member of Parliament Information related to:
1. Overtime
2. Staff leave
3. Workers compensation
at the Tasmania Prison Service
Tasmania Prison Service information
 MediaStatistics related to parole applications for the period 2013/14 to 2018/19.Parole Statistics
5 July 2021Member of Parliament2021 Incoming Government Briefs.2021 Incoming Government Briefs
7 July 2021Non-Government OrganisationStatistics regarding the personal searches of women prisoners in the Tasmania Prison Service from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021.Personal searches of women prisoners - Statistics 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2021
24 September 2021Non-Government OrganisationThe total number of active bonds held by the Rental Deposit Authority on the 30th June of the years 2019 to  2021.Active bonds held by the Rental Deposit Authority - Statistics on 30th June 2019, 2020 and 2021
14 October 2021Member of ParliamentCorrespondence in relation to draft Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Amendment Bill from industry representations and/or lobbyists.Correspondence regarding draft Workplace (Protection from Protestors) Amendment Bill
23 November 2021Non-Government OrganisationInformation concerning enforcement of and orders made under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 for the financial year 2020-21.Enforcement and Order under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 for the financial year 2020-21
23 March 2022Non-Government OrganisationStatistical data relating to the number of individuals refused Working with Vulnerable People clearance in Tasmania for the financial years 2015-16 to  2020-21.Individuals refused Working with Vulnerable People clearance statistics
1 April 2022Member of ParliamentThe number of adjudications (broken down by year) by Consumer, Building and Occupational Services (CBOS) under the Residential Building Work Contract and Dispute Resolution Act 2016.Applications for adjudication received from 1 January 2017 to 1 April 2022
26 April 2022Non-Government OrganisationInformation concerning the details of security disputes under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997 for the financial years 2017-18 to 2020-21.Security disputes under the Residential Tenancy Act 1997

Routine release of information

Routine release of information

The Department of Justice, along with other government agencies, is committed to increasing the amount of information routinely disclosed to the public.

Regular updates are released on a range of topics outlined below.

News and Events

Organisational Structure

Annual Report and Publications

Departmental policies

The Department has released a number of its Department Policies.

Community Consultation

The Department  undertakes community consultations on Government projects, law reform initiatives and services. Members of the public can have their say on issues and provide feedback to influence government decisions.

Policy and Program initiatives

Information on major policy and program initiatives and statistical information relating to the Department is routinely released, including:

Employment and Workforce Statistics

Information about the Tasmanian State Service workforce is published twice a year by the State Service Management Office.

Department of Justice workforce statistics as of 30 June each year can be found in our Annual report.

Senior Executive Service Information

Please refer to the State Service Management Office.

Gifts and benefits register

The Department of Justice Gifts and Benefits register is updated each quarter and includes information for previous financial years.

Telecommunications expenditure

The Department of Justice releases its telecommunications expenditure costs on or around the end of January and July each year.

Contracts and Consultancies

Please refer to the Tasmanian Government Tenders website.

Sentencing Statistics

The Sentencing Advisory Council releases sentencing statistics covering both the Magistrates Court and Supreme Court.

Additional Categories of Data

The Department releases a number of other datasets relating to the following -