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Freedom of Information Act continues to work well.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.law.gov.au/ag

7 December 2005 228/2005

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT CONTINUES TO WORK WELL

Australian Government agencies received 39,265 freedom of information (FOI) access requests in the 2004-05 financial year - of which 94 per cent were granted in full or in part.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock tabled in Parliament today the 2004-05 annual report on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

“It is pleasing to see the wide use of the FOI Act in the community and the high number of people whose requests for information are being satisfied demonstrates the Act is working well,” Mr Ruddock said.

“The statistics in the report demonstrate the Government’s commitment to openness and accountability and the provision of access to information in accordance with the FOI Act.”

Mr Ruddock said most FOI requests were directed to Centrelink (13,079 requests), the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (11,363) and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (9,743).

The most common FOI requests to these agencies were from clients seeking documents relating to themselves.

“Ninety-one per cent of all FOI access requests were for personal information,” Mr Ruddock said.

“Agencies granted 72.4 per cent of all FOI access requests in full and another 21.2 per cent of access requests were granted in part.”

The Australian Government spent almost $23 million in the past financial year to process FOI requests. The average cost to government agencies of processing a single FOI request was $582.

Agencies collected $358, 941 in FOI fees and charges from FOI applicants, representing 1.6 per cent of the total cost of processing requests under the FOI Act.

The annual report is available at: www.ag.gov.au/foi

The website contains a range of FOI reference material to help people who want to make an FOI request.

Media Contact: Charlie McKillop (02) 6277 7300/0419 278 715