26 September 2023

Information Commissioner to test PS information

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The NSW Information Commissioner is looking to maximise public access to Government information with research into how Agencies provide informal access to information.

The announcement of Commissioner Elizabeth Tydd’s research project follows a spike in the number of formal applications that Agencies have received for information.

“In 2021/22, the number of formal applications for information received by Agencies increased by a staggering 30 per cent, representing the largest increase in over a decade of reporting,” Commissioner Tydd (pictured) said.

“Considering this rapid growth in formal information access requests, the research will contribute to the right to access information by promoting administrative arrangements to facilitate informal, rather than formal, access and proactive release programs by NSW Agencies,” she said.

“The research may also contribute to a stabilisation of the number of formal access applications.”

Commissioner Tydd said she would examine the use of the Informal Release pathway under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA Act).

She said that in NSW, Agencies could release Government information informally, unless there was an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.

“Informal release under the GIPA Act is a quicker and cheaper access option for both the applicant and the Agency,” the Commissioner said.

“Agencies also have flexibility in deciding the means by which information is to be informally released.”

She said her research would seek to provide greater insight into this pathway and make recommendations to Agencies to better support informal release and improve the outcomes of applications.

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