The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) gives people a right of access to information held by State Government Ministers and agencies. These agencies include but are not limited to:
- state government departments
- councils and prescribed authorities such as
- statutory authorities
- public hospitals
- community health centres
- universities, and
- TAFE colleges and schools.
Some bodies are exempt from the Freedom of Information (FOI) process; for example, Courts.
Documents held by Department of Health and Human Services
This Department covers the responsibilities of:
- Health and Human Services
- Mental Health, and
- Senior Victorians.
You have a right to apply for access to information held by the Departments including, but not limited to, the following documents:
Documents relating to your own personal affairs, and
- Documents of a non-personal nature which are not older than 5 July 1978.
Examples of personal documents held by the departments can include:
- Ward of the State/Child Protection files
- Psychiatric patient files from some closed hospitals
- Disability Services client files, and
- Public Housing.
Access to requested information may be refused in certain circumstances, in line with the principles of the FOI Act. This information is called "exempt" and can include documents which:
- affect the personal affairs of another person
- are commercially confidential
- concern law enforcement, or
- contain information supplied in confidence.
Request access to documents
Please print and complete the relevant Freedom of Information (FOI) application form below. You may also contact the Freedom of Information team directly and have one mailed to you. A letter outlining the details of your request will also be accepted.
Your request should clearly set out the document(s) you require from the relevant department, as well as providing sufficient detail to enable the document(s) you are seeking to be identified. If you are seeking access to documents relating to your own personal affairs, please attach proof of your identity (e.g. driver's licence, passport or Health Care card).
Freedom of Information application
Use the form available in the downloads area of this page. Applications should be forwarded to:
Freedom of Information Team
GPO Box 4057
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
The application fee is $27.90 (effective 1 July 2016) and is generally required to constitute a valid application. Please remember to enclose a cheque/money order with the application. It is to be made payable to the Department of Health and Human Services. The application fee can be waived if you provide a statement of how the application fee would cause you hardship.
Charges may also be incurred depending on the nature of the request. These include the costs for:
- providing written transcripts of a recorded document
- supervising an inspection of documents.
If the charges relating to your request are more than $50.00, you may be required to pay a deposit. You will be notified of this in writing of an estimate of any charges which may apply.
If you are required to pay a deposit you can request that the access charges be waived or reduced.
Correction of Personal Records
Every person also has the right to request the correction or amendment of personal information held by the department which they believe is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date, or misleading. A request to amend documents must be made in writing with details of why the information is considered incorrect. Please note that you may be required to provide evidence to support your request.
Once your valid FOI application has been received, together with the application fee and accompanying proof of identity documentation, the department must respond to you in writing outlining its decision as soon as practicable and no later than 45 days from the date your request was received.
If you request the access charges be waived the department will request that the need for compliance with the statutory period (45 days) is also waived.
A decision in relation to a request to amend personal records must be made as soon as practicable and no later than 30 days from the date the request was received.
The Victorian Legislation website provides free access to all relevant Acts and Regulations.
Search for the following:
- Freedom of Information Act 1982
- Ombudsman Act 1973
- Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014
- Health Records Act 2001
- Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001
- Whistleblowers Protection Regulations 2001
- Financial Management Act 1994
- Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
- Disability Act 2006