The law facilitates access to information though 4 pathways.
Open access information
Under the GIPA Act, all NSW agencies must make a range of open access information publicly available and free of charge on their agency’s website, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. This includes Agency Information Guides, documents tabled in Parliament, and agency policy documents.
The GIPA Act authorises and encourages agencies to make any government information held by an agency publicly available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. This can include any government information that is held electronically.
Agencies can release information in response to an informal request, without requiring the person requesting it to lodge a formal access application. Agencies can decide how the information is released. Agencies can put in place conditions when releasing information informally including by deleting any part of the information that could result in an overriding public interest consideration against disclosure.
Access application (formal release)
Under the GIPA Act, the public has a right to access government information by making an access application, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure. This pathway has application and processing fees, but it provides applicants with review rights.
When dealing with a formal access application, agencies are required to notify the applicant and deal with the application within certain timeframes and may be required to consult third parties.