Access to Information

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act), establishes a comprehensive system for public access to government information.

The GIPA Act aims to:

  • Make government information more accessible to the public by requiring government agencies to make certain information freely available
  • Encourage government agencies to release as much information as possible
  • Give the public an enforceable right to access government information
  • Restrict access to information only when there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.

Under the GIPA Act and the GIPA Regulation 2018, our Council makes information available to the public, provided there is no overriding public interest against doing so. 


Section 6(6) of the GIPA Act provides that compliance with mandatory release requirements under the GIPA Act and the GIPA Regulation, does not require or permit an agency to make information available in any way that infringes copyright. This means that if providing access to open access information by, for example, providing a copy of a record would breach copyright, then access in this form cannot be provided.

Copyright may be infringed by using copyright material without permission of the copyright owner. Using copyright material can include:

  • reproducing the work (including by photocopying, copying by hand, filming, recording and scanning);
  • making the work public for the first time;
  • communicating the work to the public (for example, via email, broadcasting or the internet).

The above uses are exclusive rights of the copyright owner and anyone who wants to use someone else’s material in any of these ways generally needs permission of the owner. The Australian Copyright Council provides advice about this.

There are some practical ways to achieve release even if the information contains some information subject to copyright. For example, the GIPA Act enables information to be deleted from a record. Also, providing a reasonable opportunity to inspect a record containing the information is also a practical step to ensure access to information that is subject to copyright. Providing access in these ways does not infringe copyright because access by inspection does not involve reproduction of a copyrighted work.