Anyone can apply for access to documents in the ACCC's possession.
Documents held by the ACCC
The ACCC only has documents created by the ACCC or documents that have been forwarded to the ACCC. The ACCC does not generally hold documents such as medical records, phone bills or police records. To access that material, please contact your medical practitioner, telecommunication provider or local police force.
We hold the following categories of ACCC documents:
- ACCC public registers and confidential material excluded from ACCC public registers,
- ACCC court, adjudication and legal material,
- ACCC library material,
- ACCC organisation matters,
- ACCC publications, speeches and media releases,
- ACCC personnel records,
- ACCC working documents including staff investigations, reports, analyses, recommendations, correspondence and complaints,
- ACCC correspondence with government and non-government bodies relating to new legislation relevant to our functions, and
- ACCC general correspondence with the public.
The ACCC can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt under the FOI Act. The ACCC will provide reasons for any decision to refuse access to any documents.
Administrative Access to Personnel Records
Requesting information or documents
If you are a current or former employee, you must use Administrative Access to request access to your personnel records* in the first instance.
*Personnel records are documents containing personal information about you that are, or have been, kept by the ACCC for personnel management purposes.
Any such requests will be considered by ACCC People and Culture branch. Proof of identity may be required before any information is released. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, or you are not notified of a decision within 30 days, you may then make an FOI request.
Please contact our FOI team on (02) 6243 1111 or email email@example.com to request administrative access to your personnel records.
Fees and charges
There is no charge or fee for administrative access.
If you are not satisfied with the way that we have handled your administrative access request, you can make a complaint to:
- the ACCC Chief Operating Officer at GPO Box 3131, Canberra ACT 2601
- the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (if you requested access to your own personal information) at How do I make a privacy complaint
Administrative Access to ACCC Originating Process
If you wish to access the originating process for matters the ACCC has taken to court, please visit the Media Release page on the ACCC’s website located here.
The originating process will normally be published at the same time the media release is published, unless there are court or other restrictions on providing access.
If the originating process is not available at the time the media release is published, it will be uploaded as soon as they are available.
Alternatively, you may obtain these documents yourself from the relevant court registry.
Requests from journalists
Journalists and media employees are encouraged to contact the ACCC’s Media Unit before lodging an FOI request, to explore whether information can be provided outside the FOI process:
Telephone: 1300 138 917
How to make a request
A request under the FOI Act must:
- be in writing,
- be made under the FOI Act,
- provide enough information for us to identify the documents you are seeking, and
- provide details of where notices can be sent (for example, an email or postal address)
To enable the ACCC to identify the relevant document/s give as much information as possible about the document/s you are seeking. There are grounds on which access to documents may be refused. In particular, if the request is too large and would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the ACCC from its other operations, a practical refusal reason may apply.
Framing the scope of your request using the below suggestions will assist us to identify the document/s you are seeking, and may also assist in removing any practical refusal reasons.
- Limit your request to one or two dot points.
- Choose a specific category of documents (i.e. final documents, file notes, email correspondence or reports). Requesting ‘all documents’ in relation to a matter or issue may lead to a practical refusal reason
- Choose a specific date or date range (i.e. a final document dated 5 June 2019 or final documents created between 1 June 2019 and 30 June 2019). Too broad a date range may result in a practical refusal reason
- Limit your request to documents about a specific issue in relation to a specific matter (i.e. correspondence between the ACCC and (name of company or person) addressing why they consider the conduct was not unlawful). Requesting ‘all documents’ in relation to a matter or issue may lead to a practical refusal
- Be clear about what you don’t want (i.e. hardcopy documents, publicly available material, duplicates, copies of your own correspondence).
- Exclude third party identifying material if you can, to minimise our need to consult such parties on your request.
Should you proceed with your request, charges are generally payable in relation to time spent in searching for and retrieving documents, decision-making time, photocopying, postage etc.
However, charges are not payable for accessing your own personal information and in all other cases the first 5 hours of decision making time is free. Charges are also not payable if the ACCC does not notify you of its access decision in accordance with the timeframes set out in, or as extended under, the FOI Act.
If you need further information or wish to apply for access to documents under the FOI Act, other than by using the FOI request form, please contact the FOI Officer:
Freedom of Information Officer
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
GPO Box 3131
CANBERRA ACT 2601
Ph: 02 6243 1111
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends e-mail)
Please note that FOI requests made by email are only valid if sent to the ACCC’s designated email address: email@example.com (link sends e-mail). You may also send or deliver an FOI request to the ACCC at one of its offices (see ACCC office addresses, faxes & phone numbers).
What you can expect from the ACCC
The ACCC will:
- tell you within 14 days that it has received your request
- give you an estimate of any charges that apply to your request
- give you its decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended.
If a document contains information about a third party, the ACCC may need to consult them and may need to extend the time it takes to make a decision by another 30 days. The ACCC may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.
If you disagree with a decision by the ACCC
When the ACCC makes a decision about your FOI request, it will send you a letter explaining its decision and your review rights.
You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed, if the ACCC:
- refuses to give you access to all or part of a document or if it defers giving you access
- imposes a charge
- refuses access because the documents cannot be found, do not exist or a practical refusal reason exists
- refuses to confirm or deny the existence of a document.
A third party who disagrees with an ACCC access decision can also ask for that decision to be reviewed.
You can request in writing that the ACCC reconsiders its decision through internal review within 30 days of the date of the decision. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in the ACCC. The ACCC will advise you of its new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.
Information Commissioner review
You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review the ACCC's original decision or the ACCC's internal review decision within 60 days of the date of decision (or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party). The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available at the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) website at www.oaic.gov.au.
If you are unhappy with the way the ACCC has handled your request, you can complain to:
- the Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Law Unit, ACCC
- the Chief Operating Officer, ACCC
- the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)