Members of the community have the right to apply for information held by Hunter New England Health under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (the GIPA Act). The GIPA Act came into effect on 1 July 2010 and replaced the previous Freedom of Information Act 1989 (NSW).
The objectives of the GIPA Act are to maintain and advance a system of responsible and representative democratic Government that is open, accountable, fair and effective.
You can find out more about your right to information and ways you can access NSW government information on the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) website.
What can I access under the GIPA Act?
The GIPA Act applies to personal and non-personal documents. Personal documents are documents about a particular individual. Non-personal documents cover all other documents and publications. Hunter New England Health already makes many of its strategic documents available to the community on this website.
The GIPA Act establishes a new model of openness under which formal applications for access to information should be a last resort. It authorises and encourages the release of information proactively, limited only by legitimate public interest considerations.
There are four ways you can access information from Hunter New England Health under the GIPA Act:
Certain information must be published on Hunter New England Health's website, free of charge.
Agencies are encouraged to release information without the need for a formal application, unless there are good reasons to require one.
Agencies are encouraged to take the initiative to release as much government information as possible, in an appropriate manner and free of charge (or at the lowest reasonable cost).
In limited circumstances, access to information will require formal access applications. Hunter New England Health's Internal Audit and Corporate Governance Unit has Right to Information Officers who can assist.
As a general rule, personal applications for access to an individual's medical record will be processed under the Release of Information (ROI) guidelines issued by the NSW Ministry of Health. The charges for the release of information under ROI are similar to those applied under the GIPA Act.
Personal information belongs to the individual. The file/record belongs to Hunter New England Health. Therefore, when people are viewing their personal information it will be done in an area that ensures security of the file/record.
Making a formal application
Access to non-personal documents are processed under the GIPA Act legislation and written applications should be submitted, in the first instance, to the Chief Executive, marked attention to 'Right to Information Officer'.
Hunter New England Health
Locked Mail Bag 1
New Lambton NSW 2305
A valid formal application for access to government information must:
- be in writing
- state that it is made under the GIPA Act
- have an Australian postal address for return correspondence
- provide enough details to help the agency identify the information you require; and
- enclose the application fee of $30.00 by cheque or money order (made payable to Hunter New England Local Health District).
To assist, Hunter New England Health has created a GIPAA Access Application Form and a Request for Internal Review form.
Fees and Charges
|Access to records||$30.00||$30.00 per hour after the first 20 hours|
|Access to records||$30.00||$30.00 per hour|
|Internal Review|| $40.00|||
|Amendment of records||Nil|||
Note: There are circumstances where there can be a reduction in fees and charges and this should be checked with the Right to Information Officer.
The Right to Information Officer will process your request upon receipt of a valid application and the appropriate application fee.
To assist, please try and include as much information as possible about the documents to which you are requesting access. If you are unsure of the existence of a document or what it is called, please call our Right to Information Officer on (02) 4985 5890 for assistance.
Hunter New England Health keeps a disclosure log on our website. This is where you can see a list of information that has already been released by Hunter New England Health under the access provisions of the GIPA Act.
Agency Information Guide
Information about Hunter New England Health's organisational structure, facilities and services, strategic plans and priorities, Board and Executive Leadership Team is readily available on this website and in our Agency Information Guide. If you are seeking information not already available please contact us.
NSW Health policy documents are available on the NSW Health website.
NSW Government Contract Award Notice
The NSW Government requires that NSW Government agencies publicly disclose details about any contracts with private sector organisations. This requirement is part of the Government Information (Public Access) Act (GIPA).
The Act, requires disclosure for the following classes of contract:
- Class 1 contract is a government contract where the estimated value of the project, goods and services, property or lease is likely to be over $150,000.
- Class 2 contract is a Class 1 contract where there has not been a tender process; or the terms and conditions of the contract have been substantially negotiated with the successful tenderer; or obligations include maintaining or operating infrastructure or assets could continue for 10 years or more; or it involves a privately financed project; or it involves a transfer of a significant asset of the agency to another party to the contract in exchange for transfer of an asset to the agency.
- Class 3 contract is a Class 2 contract with a value over $5 million.
In addition to the above requirements, disclosure is required for any procurement, sale and disposal contracts including capital works, goods, services (including contracts from Standing Offer panels, prequalification schemes etc), maintenance, information and communications technology, property (including lease arrangements) and other contracts.
The contract award notices found on NSW eTendering include details about that contractual arrangement as required in the Act. Details concerning all NSW Health contracts are available at the NSW eTendering website.
Open access information not released
Hunter New England Health must keep a record of any open access information that it does not make publicly available on the basis of an overriding public interest against disclosure. The record must indicate only the general nature of the information concerned.
As Hunter New England Health makes decisions about open access information that may not be disclosed due to an overriding public interest, it will publish this information on this website.
Documents tabled in Parliament
No documents have yet been tabled in the NSW Parliament by or on behalf of the Hunter New England Health. Should this occur, the agency will publish links to these documents on its website.
You can contact Hunter New England Health's Right to Information Officer on (02) 4985 5890 for more information about access to information under the GIPA Act.