Freedom of information

The Victorian Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives members of the community, including staff and students ("the applicant") the right to:

  • Access documents about the applicant's personal affairs and the activities of the University; and
  • Request that incorrect or misleading information held by the University, about the personal affairs of the applicant, be amended or removed.

Organisation and functions

Federation University Australia (FedUni) is Australia's only regional, multi-sector university. We are the third oldest site of higher learning in Australia, and offer secondary schooling, TAFE, higher education, and research opportunities. We have campuses in Ballarat, Churchill, Horsham, Stawell and Ararat. We also work with a range of partner institutes across Australia and the world.

FedUni has around 23,000 international and domestic students. We are committed to serving regional Victorian communities, yet have a broad national and international outlook. FedUni offers the best of both worlds; combining a strong tradition of 142 years of tertiary education with the freedom and dynamism that comes with being a multi-sector University with close links to local industry and technology.

Further information about the structure and functions of the University is available on our About FedUni section.

Under the Federation University Australia Act 2010 (Vic), the University has the power to make decisions regarding its own governance and to confer awards. All statutes and regulations relating to the organisation and management of the University are available at federation.edu.au/about-feduni/governance/legal/feduni-legislation.

University policies are available at Policy Central. If a policy is not available at this address, please contact Liz Doyle, Policy Systems Administrator, University Registrar's Directorate, Learning and Quality on 03 5327 9368.

Categories of documents

What information is available?

The FOI Act covers access to documents that are held by the University, including documents:

  • Created by the University;
  • Supplied to the University by an external organisation or individual.

It is not only documents in paper form that are accessible. The word "documents" covers a broad range of media including maps, films, microfiche, photographs, computer printouts, emails, computer discs, tape recordings and videotapes.

Information which might be available without an FOI Act application includes:

  • Personal information of the applicant (such as personnel records);
  • Information which is available publicly (such as on a public register);
  • Information which is available for purchase.

What information is not available?

Not all information is automatically available. The FOI Act allows the University to refuse access to certain documents or information. These documents or information are often called 'exempt' documents. In some cases access to an entire document may be refused. Alternatively, an applicant may be given access to a document with exempt information deleted.

Documents that may not be accessible include:

  • Some internal working documents;
  • Documents covered by legal professional privilege, such as legal advice;
  • Documents containing personal information about persons other than the applicant;
  • Documents containing information provided to the University in confidence;
  • Documents containing information provided to the University by a business; and
  • Documents which are covered by secrecy provisions in other legislation.

Each document is assessed on its own merits before a decision is made.

Additionally, section 78 of the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic) excludes the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 to any document that relates to a disclosure made under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012.

Freedom of Information arrangements and procedure

If you wish to obtain information from the University that is not publicly available, please forward a written application containing a clear description of the documents you are requesting access to, and a $27.20 application fee.

If you feel you have grounds to waive the application fee (eg. because payment of the fee would cause you financial hardship), please supply evidence to that effect with your application.

Process of a request cannot begin if any of the required information is not supplied.

FOI applications should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Federation University Australia
PO Box 663
BALLARAT VIC 3353

Queries and complaints should be directed to Derek White, General Counsel, at legaloffice@federation.edu.au, or 03 5327 6328.

Alternatively, complaints can be directed to the Victorian Freedom of Information Commissioner.

Publications, rules, policies and publications

The following information regarding the University's decisions and policies is available from About FedUni:

  • The University Charter;
  • University policies and procedures;
  • Plans, processes and related documents; and
  • Organisational data regarding the University.

Requests for information not included above should be the subject of an application under the FOI Act, as outlined above.

In addition to the application fee, the FOI Act allows for access charges to be applied, including for searching, retrieving and copying documents and supervising an inspection of documents. Costs that may apply are as follows:

Search and retrieval, per hour or part thereof: $20.91
Supervision (inspection) per 15 minutes or part thereof: $  5.23
Photocopying, per black and white A4 page: $  0.20

Please note that all costs stated are current as at 1 July 2015 but are subject to change without notice.