The Information Act 2002 combines laws related to privacy, freedom of information, and public records in one Act. This Act only applies to records created by the Northern Territory government and NT government agencies. Access to non-government and Commonwealth records is covered by other legislation. The Information Act is applied to, and supports, applications to access personal records related to time in care in the Northern Territory. The terms of the legislation mean that you may not be allowed access to every record you request. The Act also created the role of Information Commissioner. The Commissioner can assist with queries about accessing records.
The Information Act 2002 combined laws related to information privacy, freedom of information, and public records into a single Act. The Information Act only applies to records created by the Northern Territory government and Northern Territory government agencies.
Under the Information Act, you have the right to have access to any government information unless there is a good reason for refusing access. This includes records related to your time in care.
Sometimes when you apply for information, you may only be granted access to parts of what you asked for or you may be refused access completely. This can happen when the agency decides that allowing access to particular information would be 'contrary to the public interest'. The Act provides details about the criteria used to make these decisions.
In other cases you may not receive all the information, or parts of it may be exempted, because it may disclose private information about a third party, that is another person apart from you. This is because the Act also protects the privacy of personal information held by the government. The Act also gives individuals the right to correct their personal information.
The Information Act created the role of Information Commissioner. The Commissioner is an independent officer appointed to oversee the Freedom of Information and Privacy provisions of the Information Act.
The two main functions of the Information Commissioner are to:
If you are unhappy about the information you receive or want to learn more about the process of applying for information under the Information Act, the Office of the Information Commissioner can help you. The Office has a website which explains all the steps in applying for information and also includes forms for you to use and examples of how to describe what kind of information you are requesting.
Sources used to compile this entry: Office of the Information Commissioner, Northern Territory, Office of the Information Commissioner, Northern Territory, 2014, https://infocomm.nt.gov.au/about-us/overview; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Northern Territory Legislation', 1 February 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Karen George
Created: 3 April 2014, Last modified: 24 September 2014