Why do people need to know what decisions have been made about them and how can individuals get access to that information?

Essay by vlturboA+, June 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

People need to know what decisions have been made against them so they can verify that fair and just decisions, according to the law have been made. They also need to know the decisions so that they can correct any wrong information about themselves. The decisions that are made about people affect them in many everyday situations. For example:

Loans (bad credit rating)

Getting into the country or traveling (passport, work visa etc)

Applying for work (Australian residency, criminal record etc)

Police reports (criminal records)

The freedom of information Act 1982 (Cth) and the freedom of information Act 1989 (NSW) allow people to access this information and if necessary change it.

The freedom of information Act 1982 (Cth) gives you the legal right to:

See documents held by the Commonwealth, their departments and most statutory authorities (agencies) including ministers, state government departments, local councils, public hospitals, community health centres, universities, TAFE colleges and schools.

Ask for information concerning you to be changed if it is out of date, or incorrect

Appeal against a decision not to grant access change a document about your personal record.

The FOI Act also requires agencies to make available detailed information about the:

- Way they are organised

- Functions they have;

- Kinds of decisions they make;

- Arrangements they have for public involvement in their work;

- Documents they hold and how you can see them;

- Rules and practices which are used in making decisions which affect you.

The Act also gives you a right to see:

- Documents, no matter how old, containing personal information about yourself

- Documents, no older than 1 December 1977, relating to anything else

- Documents include files, reports, computer printouts, tapes or disks, maps, plans, photographs, microfiche, tape recordings, films or videotapes.

Steps to accessing...