Skip to main content

Right to Information Procedure

Procedure overview

1 Purpose

To identify the process to be followed in enabling the University meet its compliance obligations under the Right to Information Act (2009) (Qld) (RTI Act). The procedure outlines the key responsibilities of Corporate Records in dealing with the requirements of the RTI Act, including broad guidelines relating to the processing of access requests for information held by the University.

This procedure is pursuant to the University's Right to Information Policy.

2 Scope

This procedure 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 Procedure Overview

This procedure provides a high-level overview of the processes involved in:

  • delegation of the Right to Information Coordinator and Decision-maker
  • access applications made under the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) and the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld) (IP Act)
  • maintaining an Administrative Access Scheme, Publication Scheme and a Disclosure Log on the University website - refer Section 7 below.
  • mandatory reporting, audit processes, self-assessment reviews and surveys
  • training and support to University Members.

4 Procedures

4.1 RTI Coordinator and Decision-maker

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.

4.2 Access applications

4.2.1 How to apply

All requests for access to information made under the RTI Act and the IP Act must be made, in writing, and submitted to the RTI Coordinator and Decision-maker located in Corporate Records (O4).

Applicants are encouraged to:

  • Use the mandated form available across the Queensland public sector. Refer Section 7 below.
  • Discuss their request with the RTI Coordinator and decision-maker, or alternatively, the Manager, Corporate Records prior to lodgement.

4.2.2 Authorised decision-maker

Only the nominated officers (the authorised officers), as per the RTI Instrument of Delegation, have the legal authority to make a determination or decision on RTI access applications.

4.2.3 Application process

Upon receipt of an RTI access application the authorised officer will, at his/her discretion, consult with the applicant and relevant senior manager to determine if the requested information could be released, in full or in part, without the need for a formal access application i.e. to explore the possibility of discretionary release under the Administrative Access Scheme.

Each request will be considered on its own merit taking into consideration exempt and Out of Scope Material. On each occasion the authorised officer will refer to the publicly accessible USQ Publication Scheme to determine if information requested may be readily available from that particular source. Refer Section 7 below.

Where discretionary release is not realised the authorised officer will screen all formal access requests and make an initial determination concerning 'which Act' applies for the purpose of processing i.e. under the Right to Information Act (2009) or the Information Privacy Act (2009).

Requests for access to an applicant's personal information only, held by the University, will be referred to the University's Privacy Officer for processing under the IP Act. All other requests will be processed under the RTI Act by the authorised officer.

The authorised officer has a duty to assist an applicant to make an application which is compliant with the requirements of the RTI Act - s33 refers.

Where applicable, the authorised officer will request University officers to locate, assist and provide relevant documents (in all relevant Document Formats) falling within the scope of the access request to the decision-maker. University officers will be responsible for locating the relevant information held in their cost centres or under their control, making a declaration attesting to the thoroughness of their searches and providing the documents to the decision-maker within the requested timeframe.

In making a determination under the RTI Act the decision-maker will take into consideration the provisions of the RTI Act (including processing timeframes) and relevant guidelines, training materials, previous decisions and other information published by the Office of the Information Commissioner and other relevant jurisdictions.

4.2.4 Application, processing and access charges

  • A prescribed application fee is required to commence the RTI process.

    The application fee cannot be waived - section 24(4) of the RTI Act refers.
  • Processing and access charges may apply, subject to, the provisions of the RTI Act.

Refer Section 7 below.

4.2.5 Review Rights

If an applicant is dissatisfied with the outcome of a decision he/she may apply for an internal and/or external review. It is not necessary to have an internal review before applying for an external review. Refer Section 7 below.

4.3 Other responsibilities

The authorised officer under the direction of the Manager, Corporate Records will be responsible for maintaining and implementing a range of activities to assist the University in meeting its compliance obligations under the RTI Act.

4.3.1 Maintaining the RTI website

The University will maintain an RTI website (refer Section 7 below) and will endeavour to provide relevant and up-to-date information concerning the operation of the RTI Act which is readily and easily accessible to University Members and the public. Relevant links such as a 'Right to Information' footer on the USQ Home Page is a mandatory requirement.

4.3.2 Maintaining a Publication Scheme

The University will maintain a Publication Scheme (refer Section 7 below) on its RTI website which describes and categorises information routinely available from USQ. The information is structured and accessible through seven classes (mandatory requirement).

4.3.3 Maintaining a Disclosure Log

The University will maintain an up-to-date Disclosure Log (refer Section 7 below) which provides the information that has been released in response to right to information access applications made under the RTI Act.

The Disclosure Log will not include personal information.

4.3.4 Mandatory reporting, audits and reviews

Coordination of a single University response to mandatory RTI & IP reporting, audits, self-assessment reviews and surveys commissioned by the Office of the Information Commissioner will be the responsibility of the authorised officers, in consultation with the Privacy Officer and the Executive Director, Sustainable Business Management and Improvement.

4.3.5 Training and support

Appropriate RTI training programs will be coordinated and delivered by the authorised officers through the University's HR Learning and Development Program.

The authorised officers will, as required, monitor and attend external RTI training programs and practitioner forums to assist with maintaining an up-to-date knowledge base of the RTI regime.

4.3.6 Policy input

The Manager, Corporate Records will, as required, provide an appropriate level of input to University policies and other documents where a potential RTI impact is a consideration.

4.3.7 Internal reporting

The Manager, Corporate Records supported by the Team Leader, Corporate Records will be responsible for the submission of appropriate statistical reports information relating to RTI activity to the Audit & Risk Committee.

4.3.8 External reporting

The Manager, Corporate Records supported by the Team Leader, Corporate Records and, in consultation with the Privacy Officer, will be responsible for the submission of statutory reports to the Queensland Government relating to the operation of the RTI Act and IP Act as applicable to the University.

5 References

Queensland Government. Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

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

6 Schedules

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

7 Procedure Information

Subordinate Schedules

Accountable Officer

Executive Director (Sustainable Business Management and Improvement)

Policy Type

University Procedure

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 (Qld)

Right to Information Act (2009)

Related Policies

Administrative Access Scheme Policy

Media Engagement Policy

Privacy Policy

Records Management Governance Policy and Procedure

Right to Information Policy

Related Procedures

Administrative Access Scheme Procedure

Media Engagement Procedure

Related forms, publications and websites

Administrative Access Scheme

Office of the Information Commissioner (Qld)

Right to Information

Review Rights

USQ Disclosure Log

USQ Publication 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 Business Days

The days of Monday to Friday inclusive between 9am and 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), with the exclusion of gazetted Public Holidays for the relevant campus location, plus the closure of the University between 25 December and 1 January in the following year inclusive as specified in the USQ Enterprise Agreement, as well as any closure of the University either at one or se...moreThe days of Monday to Friday inclusive between 9am and 5pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), with the exclusion of gazetted Public Holidays for the relevant campus location, plus the closure of the University between 25 December and 1 January in the following year inclusive as specified in the USQ Enterprise Agreement, as well as any closure of the University either at one or several campuses in accordance with a direction of the Crisis Management Team.

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 procedure 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.”

Document Format

Documents may be in a range of formats including, but not limited to:

  • paper (hard copy), electronic or microfilm
  • files, maps, plans, drawings, photographs
  • data from University systems or databases or on standalone drives including hard drives, back-up, and USB sticks
  • emails, text messages and word-processed documents
  • audio or video media such as cassettes and video tapes or electronic recordings
  • optical media such as CDs and DVDs

Out of Scope Material

Documents containing information which will not be released includes:

  • information that is prohibited under law;
  • information that is irrelevant;
  • information that is exempt under the RTI and IP Acts;

Keywords

RTI, Right to Information, informal access, IP, Information Privacy

Record No

14/496PL

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

* This file is available in Portable Document Format (PDF) which requires the use of Adobe Acrobat Reader. A free copy of Acrobat Reader may be obtained from Adobe. Users who are unable to access information in PDF should email policy@usq.edu.au to obtain this information in an alternative format.