Freedom of Information
The Victorian Freedom of Information Act came into effect on 5 July 1983. The FOI Act (No. 9859 of 1982) gives persons the general right, subject to specified exemptions, to access documents held by departments and agencies of the Victorian Government.
The University is an agency under the FOI Act.
All formal requests for access to documents of the University, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, are to be made in writing to:
The Senior Vice-Principal
The University of Melbourne
FOI applications should be accompanied by a $25.70 application fee.
The application fee can be paid via cheque or money order made payable to “The University of Melbourne” or by credit card by telephoning the University Secretary’s Department on (03) 8344 7117.
The Senior Vice-Principal is the formally designated Freedom of Information Manager of the University and the University Secretary is the Deputy FOI Manager.
If you receive a FOI application you should forward it immediately to Christopher Stewardson, University Secretary who is responsible for managing responses to FOI requests.
Documents include those held in files or records of the agency, or held by an individual for the purpose of discharging his/her duties. This includes electronic mail messages in both paper or electronic format.
The definition of the word "document" is given broad scope in the FOI Act. Examples of documents are books, maps, plans, drawings, audio-visual media, photographs and documents that could be produced in discrete form by the use of a computer or other equipment (eg. material stored in a database, USB stick or hard drive). It does not include library material maintained for reference purposes.
The FOI Act covers documents in the possession of an agency whether created in the agency or received by the agency.
The right of access established by the FOI Act does not extend to:
- exempt documents as specified in part IV of the FOI Act;
- documents containing information of a kind which is already available for purchase by the public from the University;
- documents created prior to 5 July 1978 other than documents which relate to the personal affairs of the applicant. Documents of any age are subject to FOI if they relate to the personal affairs of the applicant.
Certain documents are exempt from release, as specified in part IV of the FOI Act. Some examples of the types of exempt documents are:
- documents that would unreasonably disclose information about the personal affairs of people other than the applicant
- internal working documents (ie. for the purpose of the deliberative processes involved in the functions of an agency, a Minister or Government), the disclosure of which would be contrary to the public interest
- documents subject to legal professional privilege
- documents relating to trade secrets, or to certain other matters of a business, commercial or financial nature
- documents containing material communicated to an agency in confidence, and whose disclosure would be contrary to the public interest by being reasonably likely to impair the agency’s ability to obtain similar information in the future.
This is a non-exhaustive list of exemptions. Exemptions are considered on a case-by-case basis.FOI Part II Statement