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6. Review Rights
Review by the Victorian Information Commissioner
The Victorian Information Commissioner has power to review decisions of agencies in relation to first stage FOI requests.
The Information Commissioner can review decisions of agencies to:
- refuse access to a document under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
- defer the provision of access to a document
- not waive or reduce an application fee
- refuse to amend a personal record
The Information Commissioner has 30 days to conduct its review, unless the applicant agrees to an extended period in writing. The lodgment of a request for a review is not subject to any fees or costs.
The Information Commissioner aims to conduct reviews in a timely, efficient and fair manner, with an emphasis on informal resolution.
To contact the Information Commissioner, call 1300 842 364 or visit www.foicommissioner.vic.gov.au.
Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
The applicant can lodge an application for review with the VCAT if the agency has failed to make a decision by the due date, if the review decision is made and access is refused in part or full . VCAT has all the powers of the initial decision maker and can also order release of exempt documents if it considers that the public interest requires their release.
Court of Appeal
Either party can seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court from VCAT on a question of law. If leave is granted the Supreme Court determines the appeal.
Complaint to the Victorian Information Commissioner
An applicant also has the right to complain to the Victorian Information Commissioner where documents cannot be identified or are said by the agency not to exist or where the agency fails to make a decision on a request within the required timeframe.
It is important that applicants are advised of their review rights as part of the explanation of decision they receive.