Text OnlyPrint View

Freedom of Information and Privacy

The Northern Territory Information Act (the Act) provides the community with access to government information including personal information. The right to access information is limited only in circumstances where the disclosure of particular information would be contrary to the public interest. The Act also protects the privacy of personal information held by public sector organisations by giving individuals the right to access and the right to correct their personal information, and ensuring organisations collect and handle personal information responsibly.

Access to your personal information

If you would like access to your personal information held by the Department, you can make a request directly to the relevant area of the Department that holds the information you want. Access will be provided unless the information is sensitive, providing access is complex, or there is a law that requires access to be refused. If you request photocopies of documents or copies of X-rays, photographs or other media, charges may apply.

Freedom of Information (FOI)

The Information Act establishes a Freedom of Information scheme for formally accessing government information or your personal information held by public sector organisations. An FOI application must:

  • be in writing
  • give your name and address
  • describe in sufficient details the information that you want
  • enclose payment or a receipt for the application fee (if applicable).
  • You must also provide proof of your identity before your application can be accepted.

If you are seeking information that is held by the Department, you can write to the Information and Privacy Unit.

Download:  Freedom of Information - Application to access information (Adobe PDF document - 43KB) | DOCX (136KB)

Proof of identity

The Department must be satisfied as to your identity before your application can be accepted. A copy of your Drivers Licence, Passport or other document or card that identifies you should be authenticated by a Commissioner for Oaths, Police Officer, doctor, public servant or a person who has known you for at least five years. You should attach copies of your identity documents to your FOI application if you are sending your application by post, fax or electronically. Or you can produce your original identification documents in person at the Information and Privacy Unit of the Department.

Application fee

If you are seeking access only to your personal information, there is no application fee. If you are seeking access to government information, or a mix of personal and non-personal information, a $30 application fee is payable. You should send your $30 fee with your FOI application. Cheques or money orders should be made out to "The Receiver of Territory Monies". You can also pay the $30 direct to any Receiver of Territory Monies and attach your payment receipt to your application when you send it.

Processing fees

We may charge fees for processing your application. The fees may be charged for searching for information you request under FOI, for considering and making a decision on your application, and for providing access to or copies of the information.

For more information about processing fees, please read the Information Regulations.

It is important that you give us as much detail as possible about the information you are seeking when you make your FOI application so as to reduce the costs you could incur. Where processing fees are likely to be large, we may provide you with a written estimate and ask you to pay a deposit. This will give you an opportunity to modify your request or decide whether you wish to proceed with it.

Reduction or waiver of fees

We may waive or reduce a fee payable under the Information Act depending on the circumstances of the application, your circumstances including ability to pay, and the objects of the Act. If you think your application merits a reduction or waiver of fees, you should download and complete the Application for Waiver or Reduction of Fees form.

Download: Freedom of Information - Application for Waiver or Reduction of Fees | DOCX (134KB)

Lodging your application

Send your completed FOI application, proof of identity and payment or receipt for payment of the application fee of $30 (if applicable) to:

Information and Privacy Unit
Department of Health
Level 1 87 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800
PO Box 40596, Casuarina NT 0811

Email: infoprivacyhealth.ths@nt.gov.au
Phone: (08) 8999 2880
Fax: (08) 8999 2455

Correcting your personal information

If, after accessing your personal information either informally or under FOI, you believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date, you can request that the information be corrected. Your application for correction should be in writing addressed to the Information and Privacy Unit and explain why you think the information is not accurate, not correct or is out of date. Send your application to the Information and Privacy Unit of the Department (see the 'Lodging your application' section above).

Under the Information Act, the Department can make the change you requested, change the information in another way, or refuse to change the information. Where your requested change is not agreed to, you will be provided with written reasons for refusal, and be given an opportunity to place with your personal records a statement of your opinion that the information is inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.

Download:  Application to correct information (Adobe PDF document - 64KB) | DOCX (134KB)

Protecting your Privacy

The Northern Territory Information Act protects the privacy of personal information held by public sector organisations by providing the right to access and correct personal information, establishing a framework for the responsible collection and handling of personal information, and providing remedies for breaches of privacy of an individual's personal information. The Act contains 10 Information Privacy Principles that provide for the collection, use and disclosure, management and openness of personal information that the Department deals with.

Download:  Information Privacy Principles | DOCX (23KB)

When we collect your personal information, we will only collect what is necessary to provide you with the best and most appropriate services. We will advise you the reasons for collecting your personal information, how we will use it, if we will disclose it to anyone and that you have the right to access it. We will only use your personal information for the purpose we collected it, and will not use it for another purpose unless we have your consent, or are required or authorised by law, or the use is related to the reason we collected it and you would reasonably expect us to do so. We will keep your information secure, and take reasonable steps to ensure it is accurate, complete and up to date. If there is no law requiring us to keep your personal information, we will destroy or de-identify it once we no longer need it. On request, we will give you access to your personal information.

Download:  Departmental Privacy Policy

Privacy complaints

If you are concerned that your personal information has not been protected, or that the Department has breached your privacy, you should make a complaint in writing, setting out your name and contact details, and the circumstances that lead you to believe that your privacy has been interfered with. Please provide as much detail as possible such as date, time, location of incidents, who did what, and the names and contact details of any witnesses.

Lodging your privacy complaint

Send your written privacy complaint, setting out all the details, to:

Information and Privacy Unit
Department of Health
Level 1 87 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800
PO Box 40596, Casuarina NT 0811

Email: infoprivacyhealth.ths@nt.gov.au
Phone: (08) 8999 2880
Fax: (08) 8999 2455

If you are not satisfied with any response you receive from the Department in relation to an interference with your privacy, you can then lodge a complaint with the Northern Territory Information Commissioner. The Office of the Information Commissioner is an independent external authority that can deal with your complaint and make orders to remedy it. The Office of the Information Commissioner  can provide more information about Freedom of Information and Privacy in the Northern Territory.