Fewer Freedom of Information requests in 2021

October 2021 – Freedom of Information (FOI) requests received across Australian Government agencies fell by 16% from 41,333 in 2019–20 to 34,797 in 2020–21, according to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Australian Government departments have to send the OAIC every three months and at the end of the financial year and the 2021FY data show that 77% of requests relate to personal information.

The Department of Home Affairs, Services Australia and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs together continued to receive the majority of FOI requests (68% of the total). Of these, 89% were requests for access to personal information, says the OAIC in its annual report.

The OAIC says the decrease in the proportion of personal FOI requests “may be the result of agencies increasingly making documents available to the public using online portals such as myGov and those provided by the Australian Taxation Office, and through other administrative access schemes, such as those implemented by the NDIA, Veterans’ Affairs and Services Australia.”