Freedom of Information

Introduction

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) seeks to give the Australian community access to information held by the Australian Government.

The FOI Act aims to achieve this objective by:

  • requiring that agencies publish certain information on their websites, and
  • providing for a right of access to documents.

ASQA routinely publishes information about its activities that may be of interest to the Australian community.

ASQA manages requests for information in accordance with the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under s 93A of the FOI Act.

Right of access under the FOI Act

The FOI Act gives any person the right to:

  • access copies of documents (except exempt documents) that ASQA holds
  • ask for information ASQA holds about them to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading and,
  • seek a review of a decision not to allow access to a document or not to amend their personal record.

Exempt documents

ASQA can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents, that are considered ‘exempt’.

Exempt documents may include:

  • those relating to national security
  • documents containing material obtained in confidence
  • Cabinet documents, or
  • other matters set out in the FOI Act.

ASQA's publication obligations

The FOI Act requires agencies to:

  • publish certain information about the agency in accordance with the Information Publication Scheme and,
  • keep a disclosure log of certain documents to which access has been provided pursuant to the FOI Act.

Freedom of information disclosure log

Publicly available information released following an FOI access request

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is required by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 s 11C to publish a disclosure log on its website. The disclosure log lists information which has been released in response to an FOI access request. This requirement has applied since 1 May 2011.

The disclosure log requirement does not apply to:

  • personal information about any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • information about the business, commercial, financial or professional affairs of any person if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • other information covered by a determination made by the Australian Information Commissioner if publication of that information would be ‘unreasonable’
  • any information if it is not reasonably practicable to publish the information because of the extent of modifications that would need to be made to delete the information listed in the above dot points.

The information described in this disclosure log has been released by ASQA under the Freedom of Information Act 1982and is available for public access. A link is provided if the information can be downloaded from this website or another website. Information that is not available on a website may be obtained by writing to foi@asqa.gov.au or Freedom of Information Officer, Australian Skills Quality Authority, GPQ Box 9928, MELBOURNE VIC 3001.

A charge may be imposed to reimburse ASQA for the cost incurred in copying or reproducing the information or sending it to you. There will be no charge for the time spent by ASQA in processing the FOI request that led to this information being made available. You will be notified if any charge is payable and required to pay the charge before the information is provided.

There may be documents in the disclosure log that are currently not available in HTML format. If you are unable to read the format provided please contact foi@asqa.gov.au. We will try to meet all reasonable requests for an alternative format of the document in a timely manner and at the lowest reasonable cost to you.

Information attached to, or referred to, in ASQA’s disclosure log will generally be removed after 12 months, unless the information has enduring public value.

FOI reference number

13-14-0029

13-14-0031

15-16-0025

Date of access

30 June 2014

7 July 2014

14 January 2016

FOI request

Documents about ASQA’s policy that all VET accredited English courses, excluding those courses designed for people wanting to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), are required to be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas students (CRICOS) as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS).

Documents about ASQA’s policy that all VET accredited English courses, excluding those courses designed for people wanting to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), are required to be registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas students (CRICOS) as English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) (additional material requested).

A table of all audits conducted during the request time period (January 2013 to December 2015) that includes the name of the RTO and the date of the audit

Information published in the disclosure log

The relevant documents (relevant meeting minutes, correspondence, a briefing and an instrument of delegation) are not currently available to download. Please email foi@asqa.gov.au to request a copy.

The relevant document (Risk Assessment Methodology) is not currently available to download. Please email foi@asqa.gov.au to request a copy.

The relevant table of audits.

Other information

ASQA has since modified this policy.

ASQA has since modified this policy.

 

Making an FOI application

Applications for access to documents must: 

  • be in writing (email is acceptable) 
  • state that the application is made under the FOI Act 
  • provide enough information to allow an ASQA officer to identify the documents you are seeking, and 
  • give details of how notices may be sent to the applicant (for example, a postal or email address).

To make an FOI application to ASQA 

Send your application to ASQA by email or pre-paid post. 

Email: foi@asqa.gov.au 

Post: Information Officer
Australian Skills Quality Authority
GPO Box 9928
Melbourne VIC 3001

Assistance with your FOI request

Under the FOI Act, ASQA has an obligation to take reasonable steps to assist you to make a valid FOI request.

If you require assistance with your FOI request, please contact ASQA by emailing foi@asqa.gov.au.

If you make an FOI request to ASQA and ASQA believes that the request should have been directed to another agency or Minister, ASQA will take reasonable steps to assist you to direct your FOI request appropriately.

After ASQA receives your FOI request

ASQA will deal with applications in accordance with the requirements under the FOI Act.

Acknowledging your FOI request

ASQA will acknowledge receipt of your FOI request within 14 days.

Time frames for making a decision

ASQA may be required to make a decision in relation to your FOI request and notify you of its decision within 30 days of receiving your FOI request.

However, this timeframe may be extended for reasons including:

  • Consultation with a third party is required under the FOI Act: ASQA will have an additional 30 days to make a decision.
  • ASQA seeks your written consent to extend the time: ASQA may seek your consent to extend the time for making a decision by up to 30 days
  • Your FOI request is complex or voluminous: ASQA may apply to the Information Commissioner for an additional 30 days or more to process your FOI request  
  • ASQA may make a decision to impose charges: The period commencing on the day ASQA sends you a notice advising you of its intention to impose charges, and ending when a final decision is reached about imposing a charge, is disregarded for the purpose of calculating the time for processing your FOI request.

Consultation

In some circumstances, ASQA may need to consult a third party before making a decision about your request.

Affected third parties may include:

  • A state or territory may need to be consulted about documents containing information which originated with, or was received from, the state or territory.
  • A person may need to be consulted about documents containing information about their business or professional affairs.
  • An organisation or undertaking may need to be consulted in relation to documents containing information about their business, commercial or financial affairs.
  • An individual may need to be consulted about documents containing their personal information.

If ASQA consults a third party in accordance with the FOI Act, it is required to have regard to any submissions made by the third party.

Notification of decision

Once a decision on your FOI request has been made, ASQA will notify you in writing of that decision.

Where ASQA decides not to grant you access in full to all documents that you have sought, ASQA will provide you with the reasons for its decision and notify you of your review rights.

Providing access to documents

Ordinarily, ASQA will provide you with copies of any documents released in response to your FOI request:

  • once all applicable charges are paid (if any)
  • and provided there is no outstanding objection, to release by a third party.

If ASQA decides that part of a document you seek is exempt or irrelevant, it may provide you with an edited copy of the document which the exempt or irrelevant material is deleted.

Charges

There are no application fees for FOI requests.

ASQA does not charge to process requests for access to documents containing only personal information about an applicant. However, processing charges may apply to other requests.

The most common charges are:

Action

Charge

Search and retrieval: time ASQA spends searching for or retrieving a document

$15.00 per hour

Decision making: time spent in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions

First five hours: Nil Subsequent hours: $20 per hour

Photocopying

$0.10 per page

Delivery: posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request

Cost of postage or delivery

If ASQA decides that you are liable to pay a charge in relation to your FOI request, ASQA will send you a notice which will:

  • explain that ASQA believes you are liable to pay this charge
  • provide an estimate of that charge
  • set out how you may to seek to have the charge reduced or not imposed, and
  • detail the likely effects on the timeframe for processing your FOI request.

Exemptions and conditional exemptions

Under the FOI Act, ASQA is not required to provide you with access to an all or part of an exempt document or conditionally exempt document if the disclosure of that document would be contrary to the public interest.

The exemptions and conditional exemptions are set out in the FOI Act.

If ASQA decides all or part of a document is conditionally exempt, it will give you access unless ASQA decides that such access contrary to the public interest.

Whether access to a document is contrary to the public interest is determined by various factors set out in Section 11B of the FOI Act.

Review of decisions

An applicant can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed:

  • if ASQA refuses to provide access to all or part of a document
  • if ASQA defers providing access to all or part of a document
  • if ASQA imposes a charge or,
  • if ASQA refuses to change or annotate personal information about an applicant that the applicant claims is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

A third party who disagrees with ASQA's decision to provide access to documents that contain information about them can also ask for the decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

Applicants can request in writing that ASQA reconsider its decision through an internal review. You should request internal review within 30 days of being notified of an FOI decision, although ASQA has discretion to extend this time.

The internal review will not be conducted by the officer who made the original decision, but rather, by other officer in the agency.

ASQA will advise you of the outcome of the review within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review:

  • ASQA’s original decision, and/or
  • ASQA’s decision on internal review.

You must make this request to the Information Commissioner within 60 days of receiving notice of the date of decision (or within 30 days of the notification of an affected third party).

The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision, or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may also decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances.

Review by Administrative Appeals Tribunal

If you do not agree with a decision of the Information Commissioner, you can request that the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) review the decision.

Complaints

If you are unhappy with the way ASQA has handled your FOI request, you may complain to the Australian Information Commissioner, who may investigate ASQA's actions.

More information

For more information, including more details about ASQA's FOI policy, email ASQA on foi@asqa.gov.au or call the ASQA Info line on 1300 701 801.

Read information that ASQA routinely publishes in accordance with the requirements of the Information Publication Scheme.

For more information about FOI, please refer to the FOI Guidelines and other information available from the Information Commissioner.

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