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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 2020, we received 57 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/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  • is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading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 2019–20, 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, in Part II of the FOI Act, replaces 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 keeping with the Information Publication Scheme requirements.

Members of the public may access 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

CSIRO’s archives collection 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 follow 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 (the Privacy Act) and have various measures in place to manage compliance with the Privacy Act including the mandatory data breach requirements. During 2019–20, we notified the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) of one data breach. During 2019–20, OAIC undertook one investigation under section 40 of the Privacy Act 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 2019–20, we received no challenges or requests for statements of reasons under the Act.

Contact

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

FOI Officer/Privacy Officer
CSIRO
GPO Box 1700
Canberra ACT 2601
02 6276 6431

FOI [at] csiro.au

Public Interest Disclosure

Internal procedures have been implemented to comply with the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (PID Act) through a Public Interest Disclosure Scheme (the 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 2019–20, we received one public interest disclosures pursuant to s26 of the PID Act.