Access to information held by the NSW Scientific Committee
The object of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) is to give members of the public an enforceable right to access government information and to encourage the proactive public release of information. Access to government information is restricted only where there is an overriding public interest against disclosure.
How do I get access to information from the NSW Scientific Committee?
- contact the Committee's Executive officer, Suzanne Chate on (02) 9585 6940 and ask for the information.
The NSW Scientific Committee will decide whether the information you want:
is open access, or 'mandatory release' information that is readily available, if it is we can tell you where and how you can get the information
- should be made available as part of a 'proactive release' of information
- can be disclosed to you through 'informal release', for example where no third party personal information is involved
requires a formal access application, for example because consultation with a third party is required.
What information is already publicly available?
The reasons for listing a species, population, ecological community or key threatening process in the schedules of the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 are contained in the preliminary determinations and final determinations. Preliminary determinations are placed on public exhibition for comment.
The NSW Scientific Committee has reviewed the threat status of various species and publications arising from these reviews are available.
How to seek informal access to other information
If there is no requirement to consult with other people and there is no overriding public interest against disclosure then other information, documents and correspondence relating to the operation of the committee and to the assessment of nominations may be accessed without the need to lodge a formal application. An informal request may be refused if a large volume of documents is requested.
There are no review or appeal rights to the outcomes of informal requests.
How long does it take to get access to the information?
For informal requests, the time will depend on the number and length of documents requested. The committee's executive officer will discuss the estimated time to process the request with the applicant.
How do I lodge a formal application for access to documents under the GIPA Act?
First, contact the NSW Scientific Committee Executive Officer on (02) 9585 6940 to determine whether the committee holds the information you are seeking
Complete the GIPA application form (PDF 38KB). Valid applications must be writing and comply with the following requirements:
enclose the $30 application fee by cheque or money order made out to the Office of Environment and Heritage, please do not send cash
- state that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act
- provide an Australian postal address
provide as much information as possible to identify information (the committee's executive officer can help you with this if necessary).
Post your application with a $30 cheque or money order to:
NSW Scientific Committee
PO Box 1967
Hurstville BC NSW 1481
How is a formal application processed and how long does it take?
The NSW Scientific Committee will review the requested information and consult with other people if necessary. The committee will determine whether the information can be released.
The NSW Scientific Committee must generally disclose information in response to a valid formal access but can refuse a request for information if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure or if searching for the requested information would require unreasonable and substantial diversion of the committee's resources.
The committee can take into account any evidence or information that you provide when determining if there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.
You will receive notice of the outcome of your application within 20 working days, if consultation with other people is not required, or within 30 working days where consultation with other people is required.
If the committee is not able to meet these timeframes we may seek your agreement to extending the period.
If the NSW Scientific Committee does not give notice of the decision within the statutory or agreed timeframe the application is deemed to have been refused. Your application will continue to be processed, but your application fee will be refunded and you may seek a review of this deemed refusal. This will not apply if an extension of time has been agreed or payment of an advance deposit is pending.
How much does it cost to access information with a formal application?
There is a $30 application fee and there may be an additional charge of $30 per hour processing charge. If you are seeking access to personal information about yourself there is no processing charge for the first 20 hours.
The processing charge may be discounted by 50% where an applicant provides information and supporting documentation demonstrating that they are suffering financial hardship or where they can demonstrate the information is of special benefit to the public generally.
An advance deposit of up to 50% of the estimated processing charge may be sought, for example, where a large volume of information is sought and/or significant resources are required to process an application. You will have at least four weeks in which to pay the advance deposit and the period within which the application is required to be decided stops running until the advance deposit is received by the committee.
What are the review and appeal rights under the GIPA Act?
You have a right to request a review of the following decisions:
- a decision that an application is not a valid access application
- a decision to transfer an access application to another agency
- a decision to refuse to deal with an access application (including such a decision that is deemed to have been made)
- a decision to provide access or to refuse to provide access to information in response to an access application
- a decision that government information is not held by the NSW Scientific Committee
- a decision that information applied for is already available to the applicant
- a decision to refuse to confirm or deny that information is held by the NSW Scientific Committee
- a decision to defer the provision of access to information in response to an access application
- a decision to provide access to information in a particular way in response to an access application (or a decision not to provide access in the way requested by the applicant)
- a decision to impose a processing charge or to require an advance deposit
- a decision to refuse a reduction in a processing charge
- a decision to refuse to deal further with an access application because an applicant has failed to pay an advance deposit within the time required for payment
a decision to include information in a disclosure log despite an objection by the access applicant (or a decision that the access applicant was not entitled to object).
How are decisions reviewed?
1. Internal review
You have 20 working days after the notice of a decision has been posted to you to ask for an internal review carried out by a more senior officer than the person who made the original decision as if it was a fresh application.
There is a $40 fee for an internal review application (PDF 29KB) unless the decision is been deemed to be refused because your application was not reviewed in time.
The NSW Scientific Committee must acknowledge your application within five working days of receiving it and must decide the internal review within 15 working days (this can be extended by 10 days if the committee has to consult with a third party, or by agreement with you).
2. External review by the information commissioner
If you disagree with any of the decisions listed above, you can ask for a review by the information commissioner. If you are the person applying for access to information, you do not have to have an internal review of the decision before asking the information commissioner to review it.
If you are not the access applicant, you must seek an internal review before applying for review by the information commissioner. You have eight weeks from being notified of the decision to ask for a review by the information commissioner.
Note: You cannot ask the information commissioner to review a decision that has already been reviewed by the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
3. External review by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
If you disagree with any of the decisions listed above, you can ask for a review by the Administrative and Equal Opportunity Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). You do not have to have the decision reviewed internally, or by the information commissioner before applying for review by the NCAT. You have up to eight weeks from being notified of the decision to apply to the NCAT for review. However, if you have applied for review by the information commissioner, you have four weeks from being notified of the information commissioner's review outcome to apply to the NCAT.
Will other people have access to the information released under a formal application?
If you receive information after making a formal application, and the NSW Scientific Committee believes that information may of interest to other members of the public, the committee ordinarily records it on the 'disclosure log' which is made publicly available on the committee's website.
You can object to information being included in the disclosure log if it includes personal information about you or about a deceased person thfat you personally represent; or if the information concerns your business, commercial, professional, or financial interests or research undertaken
Further information regarding the GIPA Act can also be found at the Office of the Information Commissioner's website.
||Description of the information released
||Full or partial release
||Availability of information and how it can be accessed
Information relating to the listing of the population of the yellow-bellied glider on the Bago Plateau and the subsequent nomination to delist the population.
Documents received from and sent to the Forestry Coroporation of NSW and its related agencies as well as draft versions of various documents will not be released as they were not sought by the applicant.
Other information including personal information was redacted from some documents and will not be released.
|Available upon request.
Ph: (02) 9585 6940
||Various published and unpublished reports referenced in final determinations.
Some reports requested are not held by the NSW Scientific Committee and other reports are publicly available.
|A list of the documents requested that are publicly available can be provided with information on how to access them.
Ph: (02) 9585 6940
Page last updated: 22 June 2016