Freedom of Information and Public Access
- ACT Government – Open Government
- Processing Public Access Requests Policy
- Freedom of Information Act 1989
- Territory Records Act 2002
- FOI Fees and Charges
- EPD FOI Application Form
- Access Canberra
The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSDD) administers an extensive range of statutory processes in delivering its services to the ACT Government and community, including development application processing, Territory Lease administration, sustainability, climate change and environmental policy, and parks and conservation services.
EPSDD has a legislative obligation to ensure that its corporate records are maintained, including to evidence decisions, support advice given, and provide historical records for future generations.
In addition to complying with the legislative obligations set out in the Freedom of Information and Territory Records Acts, EPSDD is committed to the principles of open government as set out by the ACT Chief Minister in 2011. In processing FOI applications EPSDD seeks to ensure transparency, collaboration, accountability and community engagement.
While fully committed to these principles, EPSDD also has an obligation to protect the privacy of Canberra community members and businesses. When processing applications, EPSDD may apply exemptions (redactions) based on the exemption categories outlined in Part 4 of the Freedom of Information Act 1989 (the Act). The most commonly applied exemption relates to personal privacy, which is found at Section 41. Information exempt under this section could include names and contact details of EPSDD’s customers.
Applications processed by the Directorate will be published to the ACT Open Government website after the finalised documents have been sent to the applicant. Before publishing to this site exemptions may be applied to protect the privacy of the applicant.
If you have any questions about what exemptions may be applied please feel free to contact the FOI Officer to discuss.
Prior to lodging a Freedom of Information (FOI) request
Many documents, particularly if they relate to your personal affairs, may be given directly to you without the need for a formal FOI application. If you are unsure what you’re entitled to access, please email to EPDFOI@act.gov.au or contact the EPSDD FOI Officer via the Access Canberra contact centre on 13 22 81.
Sometimes the documents you are seeking, such as the building history of your house or the registered title documents for a property, may be available to you upon payment of a fee. These documents are exempt from release under Section 11 the Freedom of Information Act and can be purchased by contacting Access Canberra.
In keeping with the Directorate’s commitment to the environment, EPSDD seeks to process FOI applications in an environmentally friendly way. Where possible we provide information in a digital format, rather than by paper copies of documents.
Of course, if you prefer to receive a hard copy of the documents you have requested you may select that option on the interactive web form and we will be pleased to assist.
How to apply
To lodge a Freedom of Information request to EPSDD you can click this link to open the interactive web form. Please note that mandatory fields are marked with a red asterix (*). You will not be able to submit your application without completing these fields. Anonymous applications cannot be submitted.
You can also apply via email to EPDFOI@act.gov.au.
It is important for you to note whether you are requesting information about yourself, or your property or business, as this will assist in determining what exemptions may apply to documents.
When outlining what documents you would like access to it is important to provide as much information as possible. This could include:
- file number
- an application or reference number
- the suburb, section and block of the land involved,
- street address
- a time period for which you are seeing information.
The more detail you provide, the faster your application can be processed.
The Freedom of Information Act requires that in general, FOI applications are satisfied within 30 days. EPSDD will always endeavour to respond to your application within that 30 days, but for very large or complex applications it may be necessary to extend that time to ensure all information is provided. In any event, we will keep you informed of progress.
Fees and charges
Under the Freedom of Information Act there are no application fees for FOI requests. However, processing charges can be applied for large volumes of documents where the processing time involved will be in excess of 10 hours, or printing or scanning exceeds 200 pages.
The current fees and charges for FOI processing can be found on the legislation register.
You can request a remission of charges where the request is in the public interest, or if you are experiencing financial hardship.
When completing the application form you may include information about why you are requesting a remission, or you can email to EPDFOI@act.gov.au.
Section 7 – Directorate Structure and Functions
Section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act requires Directorates to provide a public statement about the structure and functions of the Directorate.
Information about EPSDD, its functions, organisational structure, and legislative responsibilities can be found in the yearly annual report, as well as in the “Contact Us” page of this site. You can find these documents by clicking here.
Section 8 – Directorate Publications and Manuals
Section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act requires Directorates to make available a list of all publically accessible publications and manuals. EPSDD has a great many publications available around the many functions of the Directorate. Many of these applications can be found on this website, or you can contact us by emailing to EPDFOI@act.gov.au or phoning 13 22 81.