The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) provides a right of access to documents held by Australian Government agencies and ministers. Sometimes a charge may apply to an FOI request, and review mechanisms allow people to appeal decisions on an FOI request if they disagree.
The data below shows the number of requests received since 1982-83 and the amount of charges notified and collected. This data is sourced from data provided to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and previous FOI annual reports prepared each year from 1983 onwards. The 1982-83 data covers only seven months (December 1982 to June 1983), and the data about requests for personal information compared to other requests has only been collected from 2000-01 onwards.
Agencies and ministers are also required to provide to the OAIC quarterly and annual statistical returns on FOI activity, review numbers and estimated costs. The returns data since 2011-12 is available here in CSV format and in a summary Excel spreadsheet.
In these files a column identified by either 'P' or 'personal' refers to FOI requests for predominantly personal information in relation to the criteria in row 1 above that heading. Similarly the adjacent column to the right identified by 'O' or 'other’ refers to all other FOI requests for that particular criteria. The column immediately adjacent, to the right of 'O' headed by 'T', contains the total of the 'P' and 'O' columns.
The Excel is optimised for readability and contains additional processing (such as applying a salary multiplier to agency estimated staff time data). Finally, the original survey questions for each year are included: each of the columns in the CSVs can be linked to a survey question asked that year.