11 July 2014


The NSW Information Commissioner last month tabled the first Report [PDF] on the operation of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW), aka GIPA. The report covers the period 2010-2013.

The Commissioner is required under section 37 of the Government Information (Information Commissioner) Act 2009 (NSW) - aka the GIIC Act  - to provide to the NSW Parliament an annual report on the operation of the GIPA.

The first  report is described as providing-
a retrospective baseline report on the early years of the Act across the five decision making sectors the GIPA Act applies to:
  • NSW government agencies, 
  • state owned corporations, 
  • NSW councils, 
  • universities and 
  • Ministers and their staff.
From this baseline report we can advance our collective responsibility for information access and its contribution to our democratic society by: improving the operations of the Act; enhancing the Act’s objectives; and creating a basis for evaluation for future reports, policy and initiatives. 
The Commissioner indicates that -
The three-year report confirms the Act is achieving its goal of improving the general approach of decision makers in providing timely and proactive access to information, giving the citizens of NSW confidence in Government decision making.
The report indicates that the strategic intent of the Act is largely being met with
  • most agencies complying with the Act’s requirements. 
  • consistent and credible levels of information release 
  • high levels of timeliness 
  • increasing number of valid applications 
  • the application of public interest considerations 
  • greater release of information through agency reviews.
The report offers a  snapshot of data regarding 50,318 applications lodged across the five sectors -
  • 82% of applications were lodged with state government agencies, state owned corporations or Ministers 
  • 17% of  applications were lodged with NSW councils (local government)
  •  61% of the applications  are attributed to three agencies: NSW Police (36%), RMS (15%) and WorkCover (10%) 
  •  87% of decisions made by agencies were processed within the statutory time frame 
  • a positive trend with 2,245 invalid applications received in 2010-2011 reduced to 1,699 in 2012-2013.