Legislation and Right to Information

Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI)

The Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI) replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1991 on 1 July 2010 and created a new framework for the disclosure of information to the Tasmanian community.

The new framework in the Act has four key elements, which are:

  • it mandates the proactive release of information;
  • it includes an enhanced role for the Ombudsman in relation to both the review and the monitoring of the release of information;
  • it minimises fees payable for the formal release of information; and
  • for the first time seeks to clarify what exactly the public interest test consists of

A copy of the Act is available on the Tasmanian Government Legislative database: www.thelaw.tas.gov.au

General information about the RTI is also available from the Office of the Ombudsman: www.ombudsman.tas.gov.au/home

Information about the operation of RTI in TasTAFE is available from the Office of the CEO by phoning 6165 5810 or email communications@tastafe.tas.edu.au.

Public Interest Disclosures

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2002 (the Act), which came into operation on the 1 January 2004, applies to all State Service officers and employees, including those in TasTAFE.

The main objective of the Act is to encourage and facilitate the making of disclosures of improper conduct or detrimental action by public officers and public bodies. The Act provides protection from reprisals for persons making those disclosures and establishes a system for the matters disclosed to be properly investigated and for rectifying action to be taken.

A disclosure may be made about improper conduct by a public body or public official.  Please note that a disclosure may not be made about conduct that has occurred more than three years before the commencement of the Act.  Improper conduct means conduct that is corrupt, a substantial mismanagement of public resources, or conduct involving substantial risk to public health or safety or to the environment. The conduct must be serious enough to constitute, if proved, a criminal offence or reasonable grounds for dismissal.

The Act also makes it an offence for a person to take any detrimental action against a person in reprisal for a protected disclosure.

The Ombudsman has a central role in handling disclosures of improper conduct made under the Act, including the preparation and publication of guidelines to assist public bodies in interpreting and complying with the Act.

While the office of the Ombudsman will be most involved with this Act, TasTAFE’s Office of the CEO will:

  • be a contact point for general advice about the operation of the Act for any person wishing to make a disclosure about improper conduct or detrimental action
  • make arrangements for a disclosure to be made privately and discreetly and, if necessary, away from the workplace
  • receive any disclosure made orally or in writing (from internal and external disclosures)
  • commit to writing any disclosures made orally.

 The Office of the CEO will:

  • receive all disclosures;
  • impartially assess each disclosure to determine whether it is a public interest disclosure; and
  • be responsible for carrying out, or appointing an investigator to carry out, an investigation of the public interest disclosure

For further information or assistance in relation to the above, please contact the Office of the CEO on 6165 5810 or email communications@tastafe.tas.edu.au.

The Office of the Ombudsman can also be contacted by phoning 6233 6217 (or 1800 001 170 outside the Hobart area) or via email at: ombudsman@justice.tas.gov.au