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Access to information

Did you know you can apply for Government Information held by the Department of Communities and Justice online?

Click here to access our ONLINE APPLICATION FORM 

Further information about accessing information held by the Department can be found below.

Open access information and the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPAA) created new rights to information that are designed to meet community expectations of more open and transparent government. It encourages the routine and proactive release of government information, including information held by the providers of goods and services contracted by government agencies.

GIPAA replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1989.

For more information about GIPAA and accessing information held by this department, please select a link from the list below.


What is public access to government information?

GIPAA establishes four ways for government information to be made available to the public:

1. Mandatory disclosure of open access information

Agencies MUST publish certain information on their websites, free of charge and available to anyone.

2. Proactive release

Agencies are encouraged to release proactively as much government information as possible, in an appropriate manner and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost).

3. Informal release

Agencies are encouraged to release information in response to a request without the need for a formal application, unless there are good reasons to require one.

4. Formal access application

In limited circumstances, access to information will require a formal application. People have a right to access information in this way unless the GIPAA provides a reason not to release the information. 

How can I access information held by the Department of Justice?

1. Search the Justice website

The Department of Communities and Justice publishes a large volume of material on this website. Much information relating to the department's structure and functions is available to the public on this website or by contacting the relevant area of the department. This material will be free of charge or available at the lowest possible cost.

GIPAA requires that government agencies must put certain information on their websites to be available to the public, free of charge. This is known as 'open access information' and includes:

  • policy documents
  • publication guide
  • disclosure log
  • register of government contracts
  • annual reports

The information you are looking for may already be available under one of these links.

2. Make an informal request

If the information you need is not already published on the Justice website, the Department may still be able to release it to you on request, without your needing to make a formal application. This information may be released if there are no public interest reasons why it should be kept confidential. To make an informal application, contact the business area that holds the information you are seeking.

All policy documents must be made available unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure (OPIAD). To determine if there is an OPIAD, the public interest test needs to be applied to each document (refer to the guidelines for 'Public Interest Test').

After applying the public interest test, a Business Centre Manager needs to determine whether:

  • a policy document may be made available with deletions, or
  • a policy document cannot be made publicly available because there is an overriding public interest against disclosure

If a section of a policy document cannot be released, then a copy of the document with deletions should be posted on the Business Centre website noting that it is an incomplete document.

3. Make a formal request

How to make a formal request for information

If you are seeking specific information which is not available on this website and not routinely provided by the Department of Communities and Justice on request, you may apply formally for access to it.

This involves making a written application and paying a fee.

Please apply for Department of Communities and Justice information using the Department of Justice GIPA Application Form [PDF, 247KB]. 

Send your completed form and payment to:

NSW Department of Communities and Justice
GPO Box 6


You may wish to apply online using the department's online application service. 

The former departments of Family and Community Services (FACS) and Justice are now one department, the Department of Communities and Justice. Applications using the (former) FACS online form are also accepted.

Please click here and you will be redirected to the online form.

Fact Sheet

Applications must:

  • be in writing and sent to the address above
  • clearly state that you are making a request under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
  • enclose the $30 application fee (cheques and postal orders made out to 'NSW Department of Justice')
  • nominate a return postal address in Australia for correspondence purposes
  • include as much specific information as necessary to enable the Department to identify the information you are looking for

If your application does not include all of these things, it will be invalid and cannot be processed. If that happens, the Department's GIPAA Unit will let you know what you need to do to make your application valid.

If your application is valid, the GIPAA Unit will acknowledge receipt of the application within five working days and deal with your application within 20 working days. Under certain circumstances, an extension of time to complete the application can be obtained by the Department.

If the Department does not make a decision about your access application within 20 days, it is considered 'refused'. The Department will refund your application fee and you will have the right to seek internal or external review. (This does not apply if an extension of time has been arranged, or where the Department is waiting for you to pay an advance deposit).

How much will it cost?

The basic fee under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 is $30. Processing charges may be charged at $30 per each hour of processing an application. In some situations, the agency will require you to pay an advance deposit. The agency will let you know when this is required.

Applicants can apply for a 50 per cent reduction in processing costs on the grounds of financial hardship, or ask for the fee to be waived altogether if this information will be of special benefit to the public generally.

If you are dissatisfied with a decision made under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 you may seek either external or internal review.

 Fact sheet

Disclosure log

The Department of Communities and Justice Disclosure Log is a requirement of the Government Information (Public Access) ('GIPA) 'Act 2009 (NSW). The log is a record of information that the Department of Justice has already under released under the GIPA Act. The information listed could be of interest to other members of the public.

The Disclosure Log sets out the date the decision was made to release the information; a description of the information released; and details about whether that information is currently available and how it can be accessed. The Disclosure Log will list details about an application without releasing any identifying information relating to an individual.

Be aware that the log lists the information as requested relevant to a specific time and may not contain the most up-to-date version of the information.

Our Disclosure Log is continuously updated as information is released from our agency under the GIPA Act.

Requests for the information outlined in the disclosure log should be made to the Manager, Open Government Information and Privacy Unit at infoandprivacy@justice.nsw.gov.au

You can also write to the Department of Communities and Justice, Open Government Information and Privacy at  GPO Box 6 SYDNEY NSW 2000.

If you have any questions or need further information about the Department of Communities and Justice Disclosure Log -  please contact the Department of Communities and Justice on 02 8346-1526 or email infoandprivacy@justice.nsw.gov.au

Information access guide

What is an Agency Information Guide?

An Agency Information Guide includes information about a department's structure, functions and lists the kind of information that will be made publicly available.

An Agency Information Guide needs to state how information may be obtained from an agency or department and whether there is a cost for accessing this information.

The Agency Information Guide for the Department of Justice provides the following information:

  • the structure of the department
  • the structure and functions of the divisions and offices
  • public participation in policy formulation and functions
  • information held by each division or office

View the Department of Justice Information Guide.

If you have difficulty accessing the guide, or have any comments or concerns, please contact Legal.

Register of government contracts

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, each government agency is required to publish a register of all contracts valued at $150,000 or more which are entered into with a private sector entity for a project, goods and services or the sale, purchase or lease of rental property. Information must be entered in the register within 60 days after the contract, or contract variation becoming effective.

Information relating to the register of contracts is published on the NSW Procurement website.

You can search the Department of Justice's register of contracts on the NSW Procurement website.


Open access information not publicly available

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 requires in section 6(5) that agencies must keep a record of any open access information that they do not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure. The record must indicate only the general nature of the information concerned.

When the Department of Justice decides that particular "open access information" should not be publicly available, a record of the decision is made.


Major assets

View a map of Department of Justice's major locations [PDF, 583KB].


Property disposals

View the Department of Justice's property disposal table [PDF, 52KB].


Code of Conduct

View the Department of Communities and Justice Code of Ethical Conduct [PDF, 321KB].


Other Government information prescribed by regulations as open access information

Premier’s and Ministers’ Official Overseas Travel Reports


Department's Class 3 contracts

GIPAA also requires the contracts register to include a copy of each Class 3 contract. You can access Class 3 contracts on the Department's About us page.

Accessing documents on this page

If you would like an accessible version of any of the documents on this page, please email communications@justice.nsw.gov.au

Note: PDF documents may be viewed with Adobe Reader.  Download Adobe Reader from the Adobe website.