Right to Information
What is the right to information?
The right to information, often referred to as RTI, provides a legal mechanism for people to access information that is not otherwise available to them.
The Right to Information Act 2009 (the Act) provides greater access to information by:
- authorising and encouraging greater routine disclosure of information held by public authorities without the need for requests or applications
- authorising and encouraging greater active disclosure of information held by public authorities in response to informal requests without the need for applications
- giving members of the public an enforceable right to access information held by public authorities
- providing that access to information held by government bodies is restricted in only limited circumstances which are defined in the Act.
The Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania is subject to the provisions of the Act.
Why do we have a Right to Information Act?
Section 3 of the Act states:
“(1) The object of this Act is to improve democratic government in Tasmania –
(a) by increasing the accountability of the executive to the people of Tasmania; and
(b) by increasing the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance; and
(c) by acknowledging that information collected by public authorities is collected for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania and is the property of the State.
(2) This object is to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers.
(3) This object is also to be pursued by giving members of the public the right to obtain information about the operations of Government
(4) It is the intention of Parliament –
(a) that this Act be interpreted so as to further the object set out in subsection (1); and
(b) that discretions conferred by this Act be exercised so as to facilitate and promote, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost, the provision of the maximum amount of official information.”
How do I get access to information?
The Act requires the Board to make information available to the public through proactive disclosure. This means we must routinely make information available that will assist the public in understanding what we do and how we do it.
This is may occur through our website, or publications such as newsletters, discussion papers, or our Annual Report. Information is most commonly made available through our website.
Some information is not released in this way, either because it is not of general public interest or because it is information the Board would need to assess against exclusions to the Act prior to disclosure.
If you cannot find the information you are looking for on our website, please contact us as we may be able to assist you in finding it, or we may provide it to you directly. If the information is not freely available we will assist you with making an application for assessed disclosure.
Applications for information must be made to the department, authority, or council holding the relevant information or most closely linked to the information. Please ensure you have made a thorough search for the information before making a formal application, as your application may be refused without a refund of the application fee if the information is found to be otherwise available.
Making an application
If you wish to make an application for assessed disclosure to the Board, a form is available to assist you. If you do not use this form, your application must be made in writing and include the minimum information required under the Right to Information Regulations 2021.
Applications must be accompanied by the application fee. The fee is 25 fee units, which is $42.50 as of 1 July 2022. This cost is indexed annually.
You may apply to have the fee waived in any of these circumstances:
- you are in financial hardship – we take that to mean that you are on income support payments (we may ask for evidence that you are receiving Centrelink or veterans affairs payments)
- you are a member of parliament and the application is in connection with your official duties
- you are a journalist acting in connection with your duties
- you can provide information that shows the information sought is intended to be used for a purpose that is of general public interest or benefit.
Applications for assessed disclosure should be addressed to:
Right to Information Officer
Teachers Registration Board of Tasmania
GPO Box 539
Hobart, Tasmania, 7001
- We will check your application to ensure we have the information we need and that you have paid the current application fee (or we will waive the fee).
- Before your application is accepted, we may need to contact you to discuss your application. This will help us to understand your request.
- We may transfer your application to another public authority if we do not believe we are best placed to provide you with the information.
- Once your application is accepted, an Officer of the Board will assess your application against the Right to Information Act 2009 and provide the outcome in writing.
- You will be notified of the outcome of your application as soon as is feasible, within 20 working days of us accepting your application.
- If your request is complex or for a large amount of information we may ask that you allow us more time.
- If we need to consult with a third party about their business affairs or personal information, more time is automatically allowed. We will let you know if this applies. In this case, we will notify you of the outcome of your application as soon as is feasible within 40 working days of us accepting your application.
- If all or part of your application is refused, we will provide the reason(s) for refusal as part of the decision together with information about your right to seek a review of the decision.
- If the officer assessing your request does not respond to you in the applicable timeframe, we are considered to have refused your application. In this case, you may make an application for review to the Ombudsman. Some information on reviews by the Ombudsman can be found on the Ombudsman Tasmania website.