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Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives you the right to access information held by us. It is a legally enforceable right of access to government documents. The FOI Act applies to Australian Government ministers and most agencies, although the obligations of agencies and ministers are different.

Most freedom of information (FOI) requests involve people seeking access to documents containing their personal information. Individuals can also request access to documents containing other information, such as information about government policies, programs and decision-making processes.  Bodies corporate (such as companies) and state governments can also make FOI requests.

The FOI Act only applies to information held in the form of a document. Certain documents may be exempt from production under the provisions of the FOI Act. The definition of a 'document' in the FOI Act includes:

  • any paper or other material on which there is writing or a mark, figure or symbol, perforations that can be interpreted
  • electronically-stored information
  • maps, plans, drawings and photographs
  • any article from which sounds, images or writing are capable of being produced.

Ministers and agencies are not required to create a new document containing the information that is sought.


Please contact the FOI Coordinator for more information on making an FOI request or the process involved.


Making a freedom of information (FOI) request

Before making an FOI request, you should check with us if it may be possible to provide the information that you want, outside of the FOI Act. This will often be faster, involve no cost and easier than making a formal FOI request. It also does not affect your ability to later make a formal FOI request for documents.

To make a request for documents under the FOI Act, you must:

  • put your request in writing (an email counts as writing)
  • state that it is an application under the FOI Act
  • describe the document or documents sought in as much detail as possible
  • provide a return address (email address is fine, or postal)
  • send the request by post, personal delivery or email

You do not need to use your real name to make an FOI request but it may be necessary to establish your identity in some circumstances. This is particularly important if you are requesting access to documents containing your personal information.

We may need to discuss your request with you and your phone number would assist. FSANZ may not hold any of the documents you seek and it may be necessary to transfer your request to another department. We will tell you if this is the case.

FOI requests should be emailed to:  

You may post your request to:

FOI Coordinator
Food Standards Australia New Zealand
PO Box 5423

You may call the FOI Coordinator on: +61 2 62712222 

Time for processing a request to the department

We will tell you within 14 calendar days that we have received your request. We may also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 calendar days unless that time has been extended.  It may be necessary to extend the 30 days if your request is complex or voluminous. We may need to contact you about your request and discuss it with you.  

Charges for your application

There is no fee for making an FOI request. However, the FOI Act does provide for charges to be imposed for staff time, identifying and retrieving the documents, processing your request and providing the documents to you. Charges are set and controlled by the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 1982.

There are no processing charges for requests for access, correction or amendment to documents containing your personal information only.

Where charges are applicable, we will notify you of the estimated charge, how it is calculated and options for payment or for you to contend charges should be waived or reduced.   

If you contend that charges should be waived or reduced, we will consider your comments and provide you with a decision on the application of charges.

Payment of charges can be made through direct deposit (preferred) or by cheque. These payment details will be provided to you with your charges notice. All charges must be paid before we provide any documents to you and processing of your request will be put on hold until you respond to the charges notice.

The most common charges are listed in the table below.

Activity item


Search and retrieval”time we spend searching for or retrieving a document

$15.00 per hour

Decision-making”time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, redacting (if applicable) and preparing the document for release

First five hours: Nil

Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Transcript”preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar medium

$4.40 per page of transcript


$0.10 per page

Inspection at our office”supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises

$6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)

Delivery”posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request.

Cost of postage or delivery

Freedom of Information Disclosure Log

You can view details of documents released in response to FOI requests in our FOI Disclosure Log. This disclosure log provides everyone with access to documents which have been released following a FOI request.  While most documents can be downloaded directly from the Disclosure Log, some may be too large and you should contact the FOI Coordinator for assistance: or +61 2 62712222.

Documents available outside the FOI Act

Some documents will be available to you outside the FOI Act, without following the formal application process, for example personal information about you.

If you are looking for specific documents, you should check our website in the first instance. The information and documents may have been published under the Information Publication Scheme or our FOI Disclosure Log. Information on applications may be available publically also.

Page last updated 6 December 2023