To gain access to documents, requests must:
- be in writing to the agency holding the information (although a letter will usually suffice, most agencies have their own printed application forms that can be used. It is also a good idea to keep a copy be kept for personal records);
- specify that the request is made under the State Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA);
- be accompanied by any relevant application fee (which may be waived or reduced in cases of hardship);
- contain enough information to reasonably identify the document(s);
- give an address in Australia to which notices can be sent; and
- be lodged at an office of the agency. [Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA) s 13]
Agencies cannot refuse an application merely because it does not sufficiently identify a document. The agencies must reasonably assist applicants to provide any necessary information [Freedom of Information Act 1991 (SA) s 15].
Agencies must respond within 30 days of receiving the request [s 14]. However an extension may be granted if there is a large number of documents or consultation on the release of those documents is required. If an extension is granted then the applicant has to be given written notice of this [see s 14A]. If the agency has not determined an application after this time, the agency is deemed to have refused the request [s 19(2)].
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