Government Information (Public Access) Policy

The Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) provides public access to government held information by—

  • giving members of the public a legally enforceable right to access government information,
  • ensuring that access to government information is restricted only when there is an overriding public interest against releasing that information,
  • authorising and encouraging the proactive release of information by NSW public sector agencies.

The GIPA Act is administered by the NSW Information and Privacy Commission (IPC), an independent statutory body, that promotes and protects privacy and information access rights in New South Wales. The IPC website contains information for government agencies and the public about accessing government information in NSW.

Agency Information Guide

Our Agency Information Guide (PDF 267.94KB) outlines the PCO’s functions, how we operate, the nature of the information we hold and the approach we take to administering the GIPA Act.

Open access to information (mandatory release)

Agencies are required to release certain information, unless there is an overriding public interest against doing so. Our publicly accessible information is available on Corporate publications.

Proactive release of information

We proactively review and publish information, procedures and policies on our websites, with information assessed and published on a continual basis and formally reviewed at least once every 12 months.

It is noted that most documents held by PCO cannot be released as they are Cabinet documents or documents attracting legal professional privilege and there is an overriding public interest against disclosing these documents to the public.

However, one of the PCO’s key functions is to provide public access to legislation. We are constantly considering ways to make legislation and information about legislation available to the public. As the “keeper of the statute book” for NSW, we make current and historical versions of legislation available through the NSW legislation website , together with historical annotations, sophisticated search tools and other guides for users.

You can read more about the preparation of legislation on Accessing legislation.

We also provide the Secretariat function for the Australasian Parliamentary Counsel's Committee . For that, we publish the PCC website which contains a range of publications about the operations of the Committee, including information related to drafting national uniform legislation.

Informal release of information

Under the GIPA Act, you may contact us and ask for information. This is known as an informal request. We can release information informally, subject to any reasonable conditions.

When considering all informal requests, the staff at the PCO apply the "public interest test".

Formal release of information

If the information cannot be accessed through the above methods, a formal access application may be made. To make an application, use our Access Application form (PDF 117.27KB) . Further information for applicants about the application process, including application fees, is available on the IPC website.

All applications received by the PCO are sent to the GIPA Compliance Officer. All requests are assessed and responded to within the time frames detailed in the legislation. The “public interest test” is applied when considering each application.

Statistical information regarding formal applications is included in the PCO Annual Report.

Disclosure log

A disclosure log is a record of information that an agency has released under the GIPA Act, often in response to a specific request from an individual or organisation, that the agency thinks could also be of interest to other members of the public.

The nature of the material that the PCO holds—primarily Cabinet information, legally privileged information or personal information about our staff—means that disclosures that are suitable for wider public release are rare. Suitable information has been included in the table below.

Date released Description Currently accessible and how
29 July 2019 Ports Corporatisation and Waterways Management Regulation 2002 as originally made by the Governor, which includes provisions relating to the exemption from navigation service charges for certain vessels. Yes. Available on the NSW Legislation website.

Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Register

PCO publishes its Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Register in accordance with the Managing Gifts and Benefits: Minimum Standards as outlined in Public Service Commissioner’s Direction No.1 of 2014. Download a copy of the register .

Gifts of Government Property Register

PCO publishes its Gifts of Government Property Register in accordance with Treasurer’s Direction TD 21-04 Gifts of Government Property. Download a copy of the register .

Register of government contracts

We must record and publish certain information about contracts entered into with private sector organisations that have a contract value of $150,000 or more. The PCO uploads all relevant contract details onto the Contract Notices section of the NSW eTendering website. To search for our contract details, visit NSW eTendering .

Details of each contract must be entered into the register within 45 working days of coming into effect and must remain on the register for 20 working days or until the contract is complete, whichever is longer. The NSW eTendering website also provides details of current tender opportunities.

GIPA Compliance Officer contact details

Any request or queries in relation to GIPA and the PCO should be directed to—

    Paul McCarthy, Executive Director

    Phone: 02 9321 3394

Updated: February 2022