FOI requests

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives you the right to:

  • Access copies of documents we hold, except for exempt documents
  • Ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading, and
  • Seek a review of any decisions about accessing or changing information.   

You can ask to see any document or information that the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) holds. You can also ask for changes to be made to information we have on file about you. However, not all information that we hold is covered by the FOI Act, and some information is available only on request.  For assistance and enquiries, call us on 1800 003 338.

How do you make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request?

Making an FOI request is simple – you just need to put it in writing and send it to us by email or post.

You should also: 

  • Tell us that the request is an “application for the purposes of the FOI Act”
    • you could even use this as your subject line
  • Provide information about the document(s) to assist us to process your request
    • describe what it is you want as clearly as you can
    • information like dates is always helpful, as is the name of the document if you know it
  • Provide an address for reply
    • either your email or postal address, but both is usually a good idea 

If someone else is helping you make the request – or is even making the request on your behalf – that’s fine, you just need to include a specific written authority (in your request) which tells us:

  • The name of the person
  • That you authorise the person to “receive and inspect on your behalf copies of documents which contain information about you, and which are addressed to you care of that person”.

You can send your request:

By email to: foi [at] abcc.gov.au

By post to:

FOI Contact Officer
Australian Building and Construction Commission
GPO Box 9927
Melbourne VIC 3001

There may be a cost for copying or sending document to you. There is no charge however for the time we spend processing your request.  We will contact you to let you know any costs, before the information is released.

If you need help with your request, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 03 9603 0907 or by email at foi [at] abcc.gov.au.

What happens after you make an FOI request?

We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your FOI request. We will also give you an estimate of the charges that apply to your request. We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended.

If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days. We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

What if you disagree with our decision?

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision.  The letter will also explain your options and next steps.

If you disagree with the decision, you can ask for it to be reviewed:

  • if we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document
  • if we defer giving you access to a later date
  • if we impose a charge for the documents
  • if we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
  • If you have authorized another person to assist you with your request that person can also disagree with the decision and request a review.

Requesting a review by ABCC

To request a review by the ABCC you can simply contact us again – in writing – and ask that we “reconsider our decision through an internal review”.  Make sure you include any relevant reference to your original request and our response. An internal review of the decision is then carried out by a different ABCC officer.  We will advise you of our new decision – in writing again – within 30 days of receiving your request for review.

Requesting a review by the Information Commissioner

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner Link opens external website in new tab to review either our original decision, or our decision on internal review.  This has to happen within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party).

The Information Commissioner has the power to:

  • confirm the decision
  • change the decision, or
  • make a new decision.

The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website Link opens external website in new tab.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner who is able to investigate our actions.

More information is available on the OAIC’s website Link opens external website in new tab.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult each to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

More information

If you would like more information, please contact the FOI Contact Officer on 03 9603 0907 or by email at foi [at] abcc.gov.au.

Some documents that we have already released under the FOI Act, can be obtained at our FOI disclosure log page.

Information about our Information Publication Scheme can be obtained at our Information Publication Scheme page Link opens external website in new tab.

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.