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Right to Information Policy

Policy overview

1 Purpose

To establish the management framework to enable the University to meet its compliance obligations under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (RTI Act).

2 Scope

This policy applies across the University and to the public.

Organisations such as student unions/guilds and associated clubs and societies, employee associations and social clubs, and non-controlled entities are excluded for the purposes of the RTI Act.

3 Policy statement

As a public authority the University, must comply with the requirements of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld), the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the Public Records Act 2002 (Qld).

As provided in the Preamble to the Right to Information legislation, the Queensland Government's approach to giving the community (public) greater access to Government information is to release information administratively as a matter of course, unless there is good reason not to, with formal applications under the RTI Act as being necessary only as a last resort.

The RTI Act provides a right of access to information held by the University unless, on balance, it is contrary to the public interest to release the information.

The University recognises that:

  • Under the RTI Act an individual has a right to access any Document held by the University, subject to considerations such as protection of an individual's privacy, exempt information, public interest factors favouring disclosure and/or non-disclosure of information, and consultation with third parties as required.
  • The RTI Act supports and encourages proactive disclosure of information with formal access applications being used as a last resort.
  • The RTI Act extends the right of the community (public) to have access to information held by the University with a view to achieving openness and accountability of the University and improving its practices, public administration and quality of decision-making.
  • University Members or the public may make a formal application under the RTI Act for access to University information.

The University will:

  • process any formal applications, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, using a 'pro-disclosure bias' in deciding access to Documents. (Refer s39 and 44 of the RTI Act);
  • meet its statutory reporting obligations on the operation of the RTI Act to the Queensland Government;
  • meet its statutory obligations in maintaining an Administrative Access Scheme, Publication Scheme and a Disclosure Log on the University website; and
  • comply with any mandatory audit processes, self-assessment reviews and surveys commissioned by the Office of the Information Commissioner (Qld).

4 Principles

The following principles apply with respect to right to information:

  • Information will, where possible, be pro-actively released under the University's Administrative Access Scheme, Publication Scheme or Disclosure Log.
  • The University will consider responding to applications for information administratively, taking into account the Government's approach that formal applications should be a matter of last resort, whilst recognising the public's right to make formal access applications in any event.
  • Access applications will be processed, as per prescribed timeframes, and in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act.
  • The University will maintain a general stance of transparency and openness regarding the information it holds, subject to, the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld), the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) and the Public Records Act 2002 (Qld).
  • In accordance with the RTI Act, the Vice-Chancellor is the 'Principal Officer' for all RTI matters. The Vice-Chancellor may delegate this responsibility to an authorised officer as legislated.

5 Appointment of the RTI Coordinator and Decision Maker

As the 'Principal Officer' under the RTI Act, the Vice-Chancellor is responsible for making a determination or decision on access applications made under the Act. The Vice-Chancellor has delegated this responsibility to the Team Leader, Corporate Records or alternatively, in the Team Leader's absence (for periods in excess of three University Business days), the Manager, Corporate Records.

Subject to the limitations of the RTI Instrument of Delegation, the RTI Coordinator and decision-maker and the Manager, Corporate Records (the authorised officers) will undertake a range of activities to assist the University in meeting its compliance obligations under the RTI Act.

6 References

Queensland Government. Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

University of Queensland; University of Sunshine Coast; James Cook University.

7 Schedules

This policy must be read in conjunction with its subordinate schedules as provided in the table below.

8 Policy Information

Subordinate Schedules

Accountable Officer

Executive Director (Sustainable Business Management and Improvement)

Policy Type

Executive Policy

Approved Date

4/7/2014

Effective Date

4/7/2014

Review Date

4/7/2017

Relevant Legislation

Information Privacy Act 2009

Public Records Act 2002

Right to Information Act 2009

Related Policies

Administrative Access Scheme Policy

Media Engagement Policy

Privacy Policy

Records Management Governance Policy and Procedure

Related Procedures

Administrative Access Scheme Procedure

Media Engagement Procedure

Right to Information Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Office of the Information Commissioner (Qld)

RTI Application form

USQ website - Administrative Access Scheme

Definitions

Terms defined in the Definitions Dictionary

University

The term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland....moreThe term 'University' or 'USQ' means the University of Southern Queensland.

University Members

Employees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University; Members of the University Council and University Committees; Visiting and adjunct academics; Volun...moreEmployees of the University whose conditions of employment are covered by the USQ Enterprise Agreement whether full time or fractional, continuing, fixed-term or casual, including senior Employees whose conditions of employment are covered by a written agreement or contract with the University;Members of the University Council and University Committees;Visiting and adjunct academics;Volunteers who contribute to University activities or who act on behalf of the University;Individuals who are granted access to University facilities or who are engaged in providing services to the University, such as contractors and consultants, where applicable.

Definitions that relate to this policy only

Administrative Access

Discretionary release of requested information outside of the formal Right to Information (RTI) and Information Privacy (IP) process.

Document

Section 12 of the RTI Act defines a document as:

'a document, other than a document to which the RTI Act does not apply, in the possession, or under the control, of the agency (University) whether brought into existence or received in the agency (University) and includes -

(a) a document to which the agency (University) is entitled to access; and

(b) a document in the possession, or under the control, of an officer of the agency (University) in the officer's official capacity.'

Keywords

RTI, Right to Information, IP, Information Privacy

Record No

14/477PL

Failure to comply with this Policy or Policy Instrument may be considered as misconduct and the provisions of the relevant Policy or Procedure applied.

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