Freedom of Information

The purpose of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, (the FOI Act) is to give members of the public rights of access to information held by the Government of the Commonwealth and of its agencies. Under the FOI Act, members of the public can seek access to documents held by the National Mental Health Commission (the Commission).

Making a Freedom of Information (FOI) request

Requests to access documents from the Commission must:

  • be made in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide enough information to clearly identify the documents sought
  • provide an address for reply.

Before you make a request, check our Information Publication Scheme and disclosure log to see if the information is already available.

To request access to documents from the Commission either:

  • download and complete our Application Form, attach the form to an email or post it to us
  • email or post your request, providing enough information for us to identify the information you’re looking for, and a return email or postal address

If you require assistance with your request, please contact the Freedom of Information Coordinator at:

Email: enquiries@mentalhealthcommission.gov.au
Post: PO Box R1463 Royal Exchange, NSW 2000

Requests for personal medical information

Personal health records are held by your health professional, or by a hospital. In general, the Commission does not hold personal health records.

Public hospital records can be requested directly from your health service provider – please refer to the state or territory where you were treated. The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has information on how to request your records from the private health sector.

Charges

We do not charge for our time in processing your request to access documents containing only personal information about you. However we may charge for other FOI requests.

We may charge for copying, reproducing or sending information to you. You will be notified about charges before we provide the information you have requested. Any charge imposed will be consistent with the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 2019 which will represent the lowest reasonable cost of reimbursing the Commission for specific reproduction costs or other specific incidental costs.

If we decide to charge, we will give you a detailed written estimate. If our estimate:

  • is between $20 and $100, we may ask for a $20 deposit before processing your request
  • exceeds $100, we may ask you for a 25% deposit.

You can ask for our charge to be waived or reduced for any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. You need to explain your reasons and you may need to provide some evidence.

What you can expect from us

Time for processing

We will send you an email or letter within 14 days that we have received your request.

We will give our decision in writing within 30 days unless we notify you that we need an extension. We may need:

  1. 1. an additional 30 days or so if a document contains information about a third party, which requires us to consult with that party
  2. 2. up to an additional 30 days to process complex requests.

Disagreeing with our decision

We will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for our decision to be reviewed if we:

  • refuse to give you access to all or part of a document
  • defer giving you access to all or part of a document
  • impose a charge
  • refuse to change or annotate information about you that you say is incomplete, incorrect, out-of-date or misleading.

A third party acting on your behalf can disagree with our decision and ask for it to be reviewed.

You can write and ask that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. You must explain why you feel a review is needed. This internal review will be conducted by another officer in the Commission.

We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Australian Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our internal review decision within 60 days of the date we made the decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party).

The Australian Information Commissioner:

  • can affirm or vary our decision
  • can substitute a new decision
  • can decide not to conduct the review.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with how we handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. however, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid investigating the same matter twice.

 

FOI Disclosure Log

The Commission is required by s11C of the FOI Act to disclose access decisions through a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log provides access to information which has been released in response to an FOI request.

The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:

  • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.

The information that is described in this disclosure log is information that has been released by the Commission under the FOI Act 1982 and is available for public access.

Documents released by the National Mental Health Commission in response to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests:

 

Title FOI number FOI release date
FOI 24/01 2024/01
FOI 22/01 22/01
FOI 21/02 21/02
FOI 20/01 20/01
FOI 19/1 19/1
FOI 15/1 15/1
FOI 13/2 13/2
FOI 13/1 13/1
FOI 12/1 12/1
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Tags:
  • Governance

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.

Diversity

The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.