Information access requests and COVID-19

As DVA focuses its efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19 on critical services and employees, processing information access requests, including FOI requests, may be delayed. We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding, cooperation and patience during this difficult time for all Australians.  

21 April 2020

DVA is committed to ensuring critical support and services remain available to veterans throughout the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

This includes processing information access requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), Privacy Act 1982 (Cth), Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Cth), the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (Cth), and responding to Subpoenas and Notices to Produce.

The Department is actively processing all information access requests, including FOI requests. It is aiming to finalise all requests as quickly as possible. However, DVA’s resources have been diverted to manage and respond to the coronavirus pandemic, along with an increased workload across key areas of the Department. 

This is and may continue to have, an impact on the Department’s resources and ability to manage information access requests within the same timeframes and manner that it could prior to this national health emergency. 

How you can help

If your request is not essential at this time, please consider submitting it when the pandemic has eased.  

If your request is essential, we ask you to make the request as clear as possible. This means limiting your request to be for specific documents and for a manageable number of documents. 

If your request is unclear or too large to process, DVA will consider consulting with you in an attempt to revise the terms of your request. While the Department is committed to processing access requests, it needs to ensure critical resources required to respond to the pandemic are not diverted to do so.

Extended timeframes to manage access requests

We may require more time than usual to process your request and will ask you to agree to an extension of time where it appears DVA will be unable to process your request within the statutory timeframe. We may also need to seek extensions of time from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and will let you know if that is required.

Helpful resources

If you have any questions please contact DVA by email at Information.Access [at] dva.gov.au