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2016 Australian port or terminal of the year

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Right to Information

Right to Information

The RTI Act promotes the right to information held by Government agencies, including Government Owned Corporations such as Port of Townsville Limited, and provides people with a right of access to information in the agency's possession or under the agency's control unless, on the balance, it is contrary to the public interest to provide the information.

The RTI Act also requires Government agencies to publish a publication scheme on their websites which includes a disclosure log of documents that have been released in response to Right to Information applications. Port of Townsville's publication scheme can be viewed here.

Applications requesting access to non-personal information or a combination of personal and non-personal information can be made under the RTI Act.

The IP Act also provides for applications for access to documents of an agency but only to the extent the documents contain the applicants' personal information. The IP Act also provides for applications to amend documents to the extent the documents contain the applicants' personal information.

What are documents?

A document of an agency means a document in the possession, or under the control, of the agency whether brought into existence or received in the agency, and includes:

  • a document to which the agency is entitled to access; and
  • a document in the possession, or under the control, of an officer of the agency in the officer's official capacity.

Documents include files, computer printouts, maps, plans, photographs, tape recordings, films or videotapes and other means of storing information.

Documents to which the RTI Act does not apply in respect to Government Owned Corporations include documents received or brought into existence by a Government Owned Corporation in the course of its commercial activities prior to 1 July 2009.

It is recommended that prior to making an RTI application that you check whether the document is already publicly available, online or for purchase or upon request, from the Port of Townsville.

How do I make a RTI or IP Application?

A person who wishes to be given access to a document held by the Port of Townsville must apply to the Port of Townsville using the following forms:

Right to Information and Information Privacy Access Application 

Application forms must:

  • be accompanied by the application fee;
  • give sufficient information concerning the document to enable the identification of the document;
  • state the applicants' address;
  • state whether access to the document is sought for the benefit of, or use of the document by, the applicant or another entity; and
  • if access to the document is sought for the benefit of, or use of the document by, an entity other than the applicant - the name of the other entity.

Applicants requesting access to personal information must also provide with the application or within 10 days of application having been made:

  • evidence of identity of the applicant;
  • if an agent is acting for the applicant – evidence of the agent's authorisation and evidence of identity of the agent.

Evidence that can be submitted to verify identity may include certified copies of the applicants'/agent's passport, birth certificate, driver's licence or a statutory declaration from an individual that has known the person for at least one (1) year.

How do you amend your own personal information?

The IP Act provides you with a right to amend personal information held by the Port of Townsville if you believe the information is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading.

Before making a formal application, you should contact the Port of Townsville as it has a general obligation under the privacy principles to allow you to amend your personal information. The informal option will apply in most cases – for example, where you simply wish to update your current contact details.

However, if you wish to make a formal application to amend your personal information under the IP Act, you can download the application form below and submit your application via post, fax or email or in person.

Information Privacy Personal Information Amendment Application

Application forms must:

  • give sufficient information concerning the document to enable the identification of the document;
  • state the applicants' address;
  • state the information the applicant claims is inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading;
  • the way in which the applicant claims the information to be inaccurate, incomplete, out of date or misleading and the grounds for the applicant's claim; and
  • the amendments the applicant claims is necessary for the information to be accurate, complete, up to date or not misleading.

Applicants requesting access to personal information must also provide with the application or within 10 days of application having been made:

  • evidence of identity of the applicant;
  • if an agent is acting for the applicant – evidence of the agent's authorisation and evidence of identity of the agent.

Evidence that can be submitted to verify identity may include certified copies of the applicants'/agent's passport, birth certificate, driver's licence or a statutory declaration from an individual that has known the person for at least one (1) year.

How much will it cost?

Application fees are as follows:

  • Applications seeking access to documents that are non-personal in nature - $48.00.
  • Applications seeking access to documents that contain a combination of non-personal and personal information - $48.00.
  • Applications seeking access to personal information only – no application fee.

Once the application is lodged, Port of Townsville will provide to you (within 25 business days from the day the application is received):

     
  • a charges estimate notice outlining the processing and access charges payable in respect to the access application; and
  • a schedule of relevant documents (unless you waive the requirement) setting out a brief description of the classes of documents relevant to the application in the possession, or under the control, of the agency.

No processing charge is payable if the total amount of time spent by an officer/s processing your application is no more than five (5) hours. Access charges are the actual cost incurred by the agency in searching, retrieving, relocating, transcribing or photocopying the document.

You must within twenty (20) days from the date of the charges estimate notice confirm, narrow down or withdraw the access application. Failure to respond within the twenty (20) day period will be treated as a deemed withdrawal.

Waiver of charges is available to individuals and non-profit organisations that are able to establish, on the basis of documentary evidence (e.g. concession card for individuals, a decision by the information commissioner that the non-profit organisation has financial hardship status), that they are in financial hardship. A certified copy of any documentary evidence must be provided with the application.

Processing of Application

The processing period for RTI and IP applications is a period of twenty-five (25) business days from the date the application is received by the Port of Townsville.

The processing period may be extended:

  • if the application is transferred to another Government agency – period extended by no more than 10 business days;
  • if you are given a charges estimate notice – period starting on when the notice is issued and ending on the day you confirm the application or agree to narrow down the application;
  • if an extended period is agreed to by you upon request of the Port of Townsville – period extended for the period agreed.
  • the application requires consultation with a relevant third party – period extended by 10 business days; or
  • you have been given a notice stating that the Port of Townsville refuses to deal with the application because the work involved in dealing with the application would unreasonably divert the resources of the agency or interfere substantially with the performance of the agency's functions – period extended by the prescribed consultation period outlined in the notice.

Giving Access

You will be notified in writing of the decision to grant access. If you have been granted access, you will be provided with a copy of the documents or you may wish to inspect the documents. In some cases, another form may be more appropriate, such as listening to a tape recording or watching a video. If for some reason copies of documents cannot be made and sent to you, the Company Secretary and Legal Counsel will discuss with you how, when and where you can view the document. You are entitled to access the document within 40 days after the date of the decision to grant access.

It is a requirement that the applicable access charge for the application be paid prior to access being given to the document.

Review of Access or Amendment Decisions

If you are affected by a decision made by the Port of Townsville under the RTI Act or the IP Act, in certain circumstances you may apply for an internal or external review of the decision. For instance, you may have been refused access to the whole or part of a document, refused an amendment or perhaps you are concerned that your personal or business affairs will be disclosed to someone else.

Internal reviews are undertaken by a different officer of the Port of Townsville, as opposed to the person who made the reviewable decision originally. An application for internal review of a decision must be in writing, state the applicants' address and be lodged with Port of Townsville Limited within twenty (20) business days after the date of the written notice of the decision or a further time allowed by the Port of Townsville.

External review is undertaken by the Information Commissioner. It is not necessary to have an internal review before applying for an external review. The Information Commissioner's website explains the process and how to apply at http://www.oic.qld.gov.au/external-review.

Disclosure Logs

If the Port of Townsville makes a decision in relation to an access application to give access to a document that does not contain personal information of the applicant, Port of Townsville Limited may place a copy of the document or details identifying the document and how it can be accessed by the general public in a disclosure log.

Port of Townsville Limited's disclosure log is as follows:

Release Date Reference Title Details of Information Requested Summary of Documents Released
23 May 2012 2012-1 Environmental Monitoring Results Documents relating to the presence of minerals and metals in the air and water in and around Townsville Port. Reports, results, emails, memos and all other documents that show what testing for metals and minerals has been done by or behalf of, the Port of Townsville, the results of that testing and the internal and external opinions on the test results.

 

You can obtain copies of the released documents outlined in the disclosure log above by sending a written request with the details of the information requested, including the reference number, to Port of Townsville Limited's Company Secretary and Legal Counsel (see contact details below). Access charges may apply.

How do I get more Information?

For more information on Release of Information or Information Privacy, contact:
Company Secretary and Legal Counsel
Port of Townsville Limited
PO Box 1031
Townsville Qld 4810

Telephone: (07) 4781 1531