Accessing government information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA)

The GIPA Act applies to all NSW government agencies, including State Government departments, Ministers and their staff, local councils and State-owned corporations. This Act replaced the NSW Freedom of Information Act (FOI) of 1989.

The object of the GIPA Act is to make more information publicly available, provide equal access to information across all sectors of the community, and provide appropriate protection for an individual's privacy.

The GIPA Act makes it easier for applicants to access information from state and local agencies by placing less emphasis on formal applications. The central premise of this Act is that government information should be disclosed, and only withheld if it is necessary to do so in the public interest.

The Right to Information system in New South Wales aims to foster responsible and representative government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.

How do I access government information?

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Undertake a search of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) website to see if it is already available.

Click here to ask for the information you require. ISLHD will decide whether the information you want:

  • Is open access, or mandatory release information that is readily available. If it is, they will tell you where and how you can get the information.
  • Should be made available as part of a proactive release of information.
  • Can be disclosed to you through informal release
  • Requires a formal access application

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) there are four ways that government information will be released:

Mandatory release

State and local government agencies are required to publish specific open access information on their website, free of charge.

  • The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) website provides information and links to and about ISLHD’s Board, Our Hospitals, Our Services, Capital Works and contacts.
  • ISLHD publishes Policies and Procedures, Board minutes, the Service Agreement between Secretary NSW Health and ISLHD and our Annual Reports.
  • Links are provided on the internet to access this information.
  • ISLHD contracts are made publicly available on the government tenders website,  please click here.   
  • Information Tabled in Parliament – ISLHD information is not directly tabled in parliament, but must follow the Ministry of Health’s processes.

Proactive Release

State and local government agencies are encouraged to make as much other information as possible publicly available in an appropriate manner, including on the internet. The information should be available free of charge or at the lowest reasonable cost. For example, frequently requested information or information of public interest may be readily available.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) internet website provides information for patients and consumers, how consumers can get involved in the Local Health District, latest news and media, health plans and other information. 

Informal Release

State and local government agencies are authorised to release other information in response to an informal request, subject to any reasonable conditions an agency imposes. ISLHD will release information without the need for a formal application unless there are good reasons to require one. Please contact the GIPA Officer for further information. 

Formal Release

State and local government agencies may release information in response to a formal access application. This is the last resort, if the information is not available in any other way.

Contact Information for GIPA

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Right to Information Officer

Mail: Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
PO Box 239


What do I need to know about making a formal access application under GIPA?

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An application must be in writing, clearly indicating it is an access application made under the GIPA Act, be accompanied by the application fee of $30, state a postal address in Australia as the address for correspondence in connection to the application, and must include enough information to enable the information requested to be identified. Additional processing charges may also apply.

Under Section 55 (5) of the GIPA Act, ISLHD will require the applicant to provide evidence of identity, where the application is for personal information. A certified copy of one of the items listed below is required to be included with the application:

  • A passport
  • A copy of a certificate or extract from a register of births
  • A driver's licence

ISLHD has a GIPA Act Access Application form you may use to request information. 

GIPA review process

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Reviews of GIPA decisions regarding the release of information can be made by the applicant and other third parties. There are three options to have a decision reviewed:

  1. Internal Review by ISLHD
  2. External Review by the Information Commissioner
  3. External Review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal

For more information please click here.