Appendix 5: Freedom of information

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This statement is published to meet the requirements of section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

The FOI Act requires departments and statutory authorities to make available information about their functions, organisation and operations. The body of this annual report contains that information for the Department.

Under the Act, we are also required to set out particulars of arrangements for individuals or bodies to participate, through consultative procedures, by making representations or otherwise, in the formulation of departmental policy or the administration of departmental programmes. This appendix satisfies those requirements.

Portfolio agencies that publish their own annual reports are not included in this statement.

Table 51 shows freedom of information requests and activity for the five years to 2006–07.

Table 51 Freedom of information requests, 2002–03 to 2006–07
Freedom of information requests handled 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07
Received during the year 29 26 25 24 38
Granted in full 7 9 4 7 8
Granted in part 10 7 13 2 12
Denied 4 2 0 6 1
Transferred to another agency 0 0 1 1 2
Withdrawn 8 8 3 9 11
Remained undecided at 30 June 6 6 9 7 7
Identified nil documents 0 0 1 1 4
Carried over from previous year 6 6 6 9 7
Subject to internal review 3 5 6 4 1
Considered by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal 0 0 2 2 2

How to lodge a freedom of information request

People may apply for access to any records that fall within the scope of the FOI Act. For more information or to lodge a request, contact:

The Freedom of Information Coordinator
Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6272 5651
Fax: 02 6272 5372

A request must be in writing, accompanied by a $30 application fee. It must state an address in Australia where we can send notices under the FOI Act. We recommend that the request also include:

  • as much detail as possible about the record or records wanted
  • a phone number, in case we need to clarify the request.

What records we hold

Many documents are available online or in hard copy. There may be a charge for some publications and audiovisual material. More information about departmental publications is available online at, or by phoning our Information Officer on 02 6272 5120.

Publications and relevant subject areas

Publications about the following subject areas are available from the Department’s website at

  • Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics
  • agricultural industries
  • Agriculture Advancing Australia
  • animal and plant health
  • Australian Plague Locust Commission
  • Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service
  • Biosecurity Australia
  • Bureau of Rural Sciences
  • corporate matters
  • fisheries
  • food
  • forestry, including general and technical references
  • gene technology
  • horticulture
  • indigenous employment
  • indigenous people in rural industries
  • National Residue Survey
  • natural resource management
  • regional forest agreements
  • rural policy and innovation
  • wine
  • women in rural industries
  • young people in rural industries.

Briefs, submissions and reports

Like many other Australian Government agencies, we hold such records as:

  • briefing papers and submissions prepared for Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, Cabinet and Executive Council (note that these are usually classified documents)
  • business papers, briefing notes and meeting records for committees and conferences that we service or participate in
  • codes of practice
  • documents prepared by international agencies
  • documents relating to the development of legislation
  • environmental impact statements
  • internal administrative documents
  • international treaties, memorandums of understanding and international conventions
  • legal documents, including legislation, contracts, leases and court documents
  • maps and other geographical information
  • ministerial responses to parliamentary questions, interdepartmental and general correspondence and papers
  • policy documents, recommendations and decisions
  • programme, fund and grant administration papers
  • register of documents, agreements, approvals, exemptions, permits and licences
  • service delivery agreements
  • statistics and databases
  • technical standards, guidelines, specifications, charts, photographs, drawings and manuals.


The Department maintains files on general administrative and specific departmental functions. These contain administrative and working documents such as papers, correspondence, briefings, submissions and reports produced in the performance of departmental functions. Certain files contain records of a more specific nature, including maps, automatically processed data, parliamentary questions, and personnel and finance information.

An indexed list of files can be found on our website at

Manuals and other documents

To review a list of the manuals and other documents we use when making decisions or recommendations that affect the public, contact any office of the National Archives of Australia.

Functions, powers and organisation

The role, functions and organisational structure of the Department are described in the ‘Departmental overview’ section of this report.

The legislation administered by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is listed in the Administrative Arrangements Order, which is available from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website at

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry is supported by the Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for a range of administrative powers under the legislation.

The Secretary of the Department and departmental employees exercise delegated decision-making powers and advise our Ministers on the exercise of their powers under portfolio legislation and on other matters.

The legislation set out for the Department in the Administrative Arrangements Order relates to:

  • agricultural, pastoral, fishing, food and forest industries
  • water, soils, and other natural resources
  • rural adjustment and drought
  • rural industries inspection and quarantine
  • primary industries research, including economic research
  • commodity marketing, including export promotion and agribusiness
  • commodity-specific international organisations and activities
  • administration of international commodity agreements
  • administration of export controls on agriculture, fisheries and forestry products
  • food policy, processing and exports.

Arrangements for outside participation

Formal and ad hoc arrangements for individuals and bodies to participate in the policy formulation and administration of the Department take a variety of forms. They include representation on committees, working parties and advisory bodies, attendance at industry meetings, and calls for submissions from industry and other stakeholders to the Department.

Individuals and groups can also participate by providing suggestions, complaints and comments in writing to the Secretary, and they can write to the Ministers or the Parliamentary Secretary about general portfolio matters.

Specific arrangements for consultation with individuals or bodies outside the Department are described throughout this annual report.
General and media enquiries about departmental activities and responsibilities should be directed to our Information Officer on 02 6272 5120.


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