The right to access government documents

What is FOI?

Freedom of Information gives the public a right to access government documents, subject to some limitations. In Western Australia, under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act), the right applies to documents held by most State government agencies (such as departments, public hospitals, public universities and State government authorities), Ministers and local government. Together, these bodies are referred to as “agencies”.

Documents accessible under the FOI Act include paper records, plans and drawings, photographs, tape recordings, films, videotapes or information stored in a computerised form.

Agencies are required to assist applicants to obtain access to documents at the lowest reasonable cost.

Anyone can also apply to have personal information about themselves in government documents amended if that information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.

Information Commissioner

The Information Commissioner is an independent officer reporting direct to the WA Parliament who deals with complaints about decisions made by government agencies under the FOI Act (read more).

Acknowledgement of Country

The Office of the Information Commissioner acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.                                       

Do you want access to Government documents?

Accessing police and medical records

FOI training opportunities

FOI Statistics 2022/23
 Access Applications 21,241 
 Outcome of Applications (%) 
  Access in full  49.5 
  Edited access 36.9 
  Docs not found/do not exist   6.5 
  Access refused 6.5 
  Access refused (section 20) 0.4 
  Access deferred  0.1 
  Access given (section 28)  0.1 
 Total  100 
 External reviews received 156 

Applications for external review
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