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Administrative Law

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) provides the public with a general right of access to documents held by Australian Government agencies, including CSIRO. The general right is limited by exceptions to protect essential public interests and the privacy or business affairs of those who give information to the agency. In the reporting year to 30 June 2019, we received 66 requests for, or consultations on, documents under the FOI Act.

General information about our FOI procedures, including how to make an FOI request, is available at www.csiro.au/en/About/Access-to-information/Freedom-of-Information.

Part V of the FOI Act confers a right to request CSIRO to amend a document to which lawful access has been granted, where the applicant claims that information in the document:

  • relates to his or her personal affairs
  • is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading
  • has been used, is being used or is available for use by the agency or Minister for an administrative purpose.

During 2018–19, we received no requests for amendments of personal information under the FOI Act.

Information Publication Scheme

We are required to publish information to the public as part of the Information Publication Scheme. This requirement is in Part II of the FOI Act and has replaced the former requirement to publish a section 8 statement in an annual report. We provide a plan on our website showing what information we publish in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme requirements.

Members of the public may obtain access to scientific and technical publications from CSIRO Publishing (www.publish.csiro.au) and the ePublish Repository (publications.csiro.au). Research data used by CSIRO is routinely published on the CSIRO Data Access Portal (data.csiro.au/dap/browse).

Archives, privacy and administrative decisions

We maintain an archives collection that includes material from the Council for Science and Industrial Research, the predecessor of CSIRO, dating from 1926. Certain CSIRO records are held by the National Archives of Australia. Disposal arrangements for CSIRO records are made in accordance with the Archives Act 1983. Access to records over 20 years old is provided in accordance with that Act.

We are bound by the Australian Privacy Principles under the Privacy Act 1988. We have various measures in place to manage compliance with the Privacy Act, including the mandatory data breach requirements that came into effect in February 2018. During 2018–19, we notified the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) of one data breach. During 2018–19, OAIC undertook two investigations under section 36 of the Privacy Act 1988 in relation to CSIRO.

The Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 enables a person aggrieved by certain classes of administrative decisions made by Australian Government agencies, including CSIRO, to obtain reasons for or to challenge those decisions. During 2018–19, we received no challenges or requests for statements of reasons under the Act.


All enquiries under the above legislation (including FOI requests) should be directed to:

FOI and Privacy Officer, CSIRO
GPO Box 1700
Canberra ACT 2601
02 6276 6431
FOI [at] csiro.au

Public Interest Disclosure

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) came into effect on 15 January 2014. Internal procedures have been implemented to meet compliance through a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Scheme. The PID Scheme promotes integrity and accountability by encouraging the disclosure of information about suspected wrongdoing, protecting people who make disclosures and ensuring we take appropriate action. We have contributed to the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s annual report on the PID, as required in section 76(3) of the Act. In 2018–19, we received no public interest disclosures pursuant to s26 of the PID Act.