The University will uphold the objectives of the Right to Information Act by releasing information to the public routinely, proactively and, where assessed, in the public interest to do so and not exempt pursuant to the RTI Act.
The University expects all employees are committed to fulfilling its obligations under the RTI Act, particularly with regard to making information readily available to a broad audience.
Staff will comply with specified timeframes when providing the RTI Officer with information to ensure compliance with statutory timeframes pursuant to the RTI Act.
All employees are responsible and accountable for appropriate record-keeping and should be aware that all official records may be disclosed under the RTI process. Staff should ensure they are familiar with their obligations in relation to Record Management.
Procedures for disclosure
The University is required to disclose certain information, through annual reporting to the Tasmanian Ombudsman. The University also publishes an Annual Report online which provides details about requests for assessed disclosure for the reporting period.
The University proactively makes available a wide range of information it considers may be of interest to the general public. This includes information about:
- The University generally including who to contact across each college and division
- University Council and its committees including meeting dates
- University strategic direction and the University strategic plan
- Partnership agreement with the State Government
- Policies and procedures
- News and media releases
- Information about the University’s divisions, institutes, activities and events.
Information released routinely will generally be available on the University website and generally at no cost.
Where a person cannot access information freely available online, it will be made available by other reasonable means.
The University takes matters of privacy seriously and ensures appropriate restrictions on the disclosure of personal information. All disclosure must be lawful, that is it must have regard to any legislation or other legal obligation preventing or limiting disclosure.
Active Disclosure is a disclosure of information by the University in response to a request from a person.
Where information is more than 10 years’ old and is not sensitive or confidential, an active disclosure may occur.
Complex requests for information may need to be clarified in writing. The nature of the information requested will determine the complexity of the request. For example, information about third parties; confidential information and internal communications and deliberations may need authorisation by the Principal Officer before release. Where there is ambiguity, the person should be directed to submit an assessed disclosure (RTI) request.
Many direct requests for information can simply be responded to by the University staff member who receives the request.
Staff must take into account certain matters that may indicate information should not be actively disclosed. These include, but are not limited to:
- Whether the information includes personal, commercial, or confidential information, or information of third parties.
- Whether the information may be subject to copyright or ownership issues.
- Whether the information is part of an ongoing investigation, or legal action.
If a decision is made to refuse to actively disclose information, the staff member responding to the request should direct the person to the Right to Information section of the University website, or to Right to Information Officer for information about making an application for assessed disclosure.
Information that is publicly available can be provided orally or in writing or by providing the information requested in a hard copy or electronic form. Information will continue to be released according to normal agency practices. For all requests not covered by the section above, staff will:
- direct the person to the information if it is already publicly available
- consider asking for a request in writing to provide greater clarity around the information being sought, and to whom the information is to be provided;
- decide whether the information can be released to the person in full or in part, taking into consideration factors such as:
- third parties – who may have provided commercial-in-confidence information or information provided strictly in confidence by third parties;
- personal information – decisions must be consistent with the Personal Information Privacy Protection Principles as set out in the Personal Information Protection Act 2004;
- release any of the requested information that can be disclosed and where applicable inform the person of any relevant information that cannot be disclosed in this way and provide the person with advice on their rights to apply for an assessed disclosure under the RTI Act to obtain access to any information which cannot be actively disclosed.
Assessed disclosure is the form of disclosure after all other avenues have been explored.
A person making a request for assessed disclosure must make the application in writing. The University’s application form and information about making an application are available on the University website.
Decisions regarding assessed disclosure are be made in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act. The Principal Officer or delegate are responsible for such decisions. Refer above for further information about Making an Application.
Public Interest Disclosure
For information see: Public Interest Disclosure.