Access to information held by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee

The NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee meets the requirements of the Government Information (Public Access) Act to give public access to and encourage proactive release of committee information.

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 to access information from the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee

The NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee will decide whether the information:

  • is open access, or 'mandatory release' information that is readily available
  • 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.

If the information is open access, or `mandatory release', we will tell you where it is and how you can access it.

What information is already publicly available?

Determinations

The reasons for listing a species, ecological community or key threatening process in the schedules of the Biodiversity Conservation Act, 2016 are contained in the preliminary determinations and final determinations. Preliminary determinations are placed on public exhibition for comment.

Publications

The NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee and its predecessor, the NSW Scientific Committee, has reviewed the threat status of various species and publications arising from these reviews are available.

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.

For informal requests, the time will depend on the number and length of documents requested.

The Committee Executive Officer will discuss the estimated time to process the request with the applicant.

First, contact the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee Executive Officer on 02 9585 6940 to determine whether the Committee holds the information you are looking for.

Complete the GIPA application form (PDF 56KB)

Valid applications must be writing and comply with the following requirements:

  • include the $30 application fee by cheque or money order (not cash) made out to the Office of Environment and Heritage
  • state that it is an access application made under the GIPA Act
  • provide an Australian postal address
  • provide as much information as possible to help identify the information (the committee's executive officer can help you with this if necessary).

Post your application, including a $30 cheque or money order to:

Executive Officer
NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee
PO Box 1967
Hurstville BC NSW 1481

The NSW Threatened Species 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 Committee must generally disclose information in response to a valid formal access application, 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 an 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.

Timeframe

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 if consultation with other people is required. Note: Any day during the period declared by the Premier as the Christmas closedown period is not counted as a working day. 

If the committee is not able to meet these timeframes we may seek your agreement to extend the period.

If the NSW Threatened Species 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.

There is a $30 fee for a formal application and there may be an additional charge of a $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.

You have a right to request a review of the following decisions:

a. a decision that an application is not a valid access application

b. a decision to transfer an access application to another agency

c. a decision to refuse to deal with an access application (including such a decision that is deemed to have been made)

d. a decision to provide access or to refuse to provide access to information in response to an access application

e. a decision that government information is not held by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee

f. a decision that information applied for is already available to the applicant

g. a decision to refuse to confirm or deny that information is held by the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee

h. a decision to defer the provision of access to information in response to an access application

i. 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)

j. a decision to impose a processing charge or to require an advance deposit

k. a decision to refuse a reduction in a processing charge

l. 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

m. 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).

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 to be 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 50KB) unless the decision is been deemed to be refused because your application was not reviewed in time.

The NSW Threatened Species 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. You have up to 8 weeks from being notified of the decision to 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 a review by the Information Commissioner.

Note: You cannot ask the information commissioner to review a decision that has already been reviewed by the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

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 NCAT.

You have up to 8 weeks from being notified of the decision to apply to 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 NCAT.

If you receive information as a result of a formal application and the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee believes that information may of interest to other members of the public, the Committee ordinarily records it in the 'disclosure log'. The disclosure log is 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 that you personally represent
  • information that concerns your business, commercial, professional, or financial interests or research undertaken.

More information about the GIPA Act can also be found at the Information and Privacy Commission's website.

Log No. Decision Date Description of the information released Full or partial release Availability of information and how it can be accessed 
 001  17/01/2013 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   Partial release  Available on request
002 1/07/2013 Various published and unpublished reports referenced in final determinations Not applicable

Some reports requested are not held by the NSW Threatened Species 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.

Contact:
Ph: 02 9585 6940
 003  27/4/2017 Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub Preliminary determination  Partial release  Available on request
 004  9/4/2018 Rejection of a proposal to list a population of Acacia pubescens in the Wingecarribee local government area as an endangered population  Partial release  Available on request
 005  9/4/2018 Rejection of a proposal to list a population of Koalas at Port Stephens as an endangered population  Partial release  Available on request
 006  9/4/2018 Rejection of a proposal to list a population of the Long-nosed Potoroo in the Wardell area as an endangered population  Partial release  Available on request
 007  10/8/2018 Submissions received regarding the proposal to list feral horses as a key threatening process  Partial release  Available on request