How to access information

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), there are four ways that the department can make information available to the public:

  • open access of information via the internet
  • proactive push of information into the public domain via other channels (ie print)
  • release as a result of an informal request for information not already available
  • a formal application process for information not publicly available.

Open access information available on this website includes:

The information you are looking for may already be available at the above links.

Information that is not available online
In addition to the open access information, the department also proactively releases a large volume of other information. Our information guide provides an overview of the other kinds of information the department holds and releases publicly.

General information about the GIPA Act is available from the NSW Information and Privacy Commission.

If the information you are after has not already been published by the department, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of public interest, then the department may be able to release it to you on request without a formal application. To find out if the information you require is suitable for informal release, please Contact us at the business unit most likely to hold the information.

Otherwise, if you cannot find the information you are looking for on this website, email us at the Information Access Unit to find out if the information you require has been released by the department in another format (ie in print).

Making a formal access application
Generally, the department tries to release information without the need for a formal access application. However, under the GIPA Act, the department may require a formal access application for certain information, particularly if:

  • there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released
  • you request a large volume of information
  • it would take the department a significant amount of time to consider your request.

If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise provided by the department in other formats on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information. You can make a formal application by downloading and completing the Access application form (PDF 0.23MB) and sending it to:

Manager, Information Access Unit, NSW Department of Education and Communities, Level 7, 35 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW  2000

According to the Act, the department can only accept applications that:

  • are in writing and sent to the address above
  • clearly state you are requesting information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
  • enclose the $30 application fee
  • have a return postal address as the address for correspondence
  • include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are asking for.

Processing your application
If your application does not include these five things, the department will not be able to process your application. However, if that happens the department will let you know the reasons for your invalid application.

If your application meets the above criteria and is considered to be valid, the department will write to acknowledge receipt of a valid access application within five (5) working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extension allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, the department will contact you in writing.

Application fees and processing charges
The application fee for making an access application is $30. Processing charges can also be imposed at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances an advance deposit can be required. We will let you know in writing if that applies to your application. Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds - for more details see the NSW Information and Privacy Commission website.

Information access application form
Although there is no legal requirement for you to use any particular form to make an access application (beyond satisfying the five requirements set out above), the department has created an Access information form (PDF 0.23MB) that you may wish to use.

Implementing the changes across the department
Staff guidelines outlines the procedures and expectations for department staff in implementing the information access changes across the department.

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Contact us

For enquiries about education and the school system, location of policy documents:
Call schools and community senior information officer
T 02 9561 8999
E DECinfo@det.nsw.edu.au

Applications under the GIPA Act enquiries:
Information Access Unit
NSW Department of Education
Level 7, 35 Bridge St
SYDNEY  NSW  2000
T 02 9561 8100
F 02 9561 1157
E iaunit@det.nsw.edu.au

Media enquiries:
NSW Department of Education media unit:
T:  02 9561 8501
E mediaunit@det.nsw.edu.au