Who can help me access information?
The Information Access Unit (IAU) can help you get personal or corporate information through Administrative Release. It is one of the easiest (and fastest) ways to enable you to get the outcome you need.
It avoids going through a lengthy formal processes such as FOI, a public register or other agency specific legislation.
Depending on the situation, the IAU can usually process a request within 30 days and no charges apply.
The Department is committed to making more government-held information available to members of the public without requiring them to make a freedom of information (FOI) access application.
What information can the IAU provide?
The IAU may release both personal and corporate (non-personal) information.
refers to information and records that an applicant is requesting about themselves, for example:
- medical or service records
- payments history
- applications or claims made by the applicant and the Department’s assessment of those applications or claims
- records of contact with an applicant
- documents provided to or supplied by the applicant
- personnel records of current or former employees of the Department
- documents available through self-service in MyService to registered users
Corporate or Non-personal information
refers to Information that is not about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable, will not be personal information. This includes:
- information that is published on the Department’s website
- information that is published on the Department’s website and which an applicant would like to access in a different format
- statistics or data relating to the Department's key functions and activities, excluding data containing personal information and sensitive unit level data about individuals
- non-personal information that isn’t made public such as policy or procedure documents.
What are the benefits & limitations of using this process
Accessing information via this method has a number of benefits:
- Applicants do not need to lodge a formal written request to access information, which is necessary if you apply to access information under FOI or other legislation.
- information requests can be answered in different ways, and may be as simple as a verbal discussion or email.
- the process is a simpler, less expensive, and faster option than FOI for accessing information.
- a statement of reasons outlining applicable legislative provisions is not required, which reduces processing times for the Department.
the limitations include:
- Applicants to do not have a right of review
- The IAU may decline your request or redact some information as they would for decisions relating to an FOI request.
- It may not be suitable where third parties need to be formally consulted
The IAU uses the DVA's administrative release guidelines to enable it to release information.
What cant be provided?
You have the right to access your personal information under the Privacy Act 1988 . The Information Access Unit can normally provide this information. However, there are some limitations to accessing information via the IAU:
We are legally required to remove certain types of information in the documents we send you. This includes surnames, signatures and other sensitive information. We remove information that protects people’s privacy, is commercially sensitive, or for security and other reasons.
If you are not satisfied with the information we provide under administrative access, you can contact the IAU to talk about other options.
How to request information via the IAU
The Information Access Unit (IAU) provides a single point of contact to help veterans, their families or their advocates access information.
Veterans' families and/or their advocates may also contact the IAU for information providing they have consent from the person they are representing.
IAU guidelines and policies
The Department is required by law to collect and store information, under the Archives Act and the Privacy Act. This means that information held by the Department must be released to external stakeholders, including individuals and agencies.
The detailed policies and guidelines that enables the IAU to help you are available here for download: