What is Right to Information?

The Right to Information Act 2009 ('RTI Act') gives members of the public the right to obtain information held by public authorities and Ministers,

The RTI Act provides a legally enforceable right for information to be provided that is in the possession of a public authority or a Minister unless the information is exempt information. However, the RTI Act goes further by encouraging public authorities to be more proactive and responsive in disclosing information.

Why do we have the RTI Act?

The objective of the RTI Act is to improve democratic government in Tasmania by:

  • increasing the accountability of the executive (Government) to the people of Tasmania;
  • increasing the ability of the people of Tasmania to participate in their governance; and
  • acknowledging that information collected by public authorities is collected for and on behalf of the people of Tasmania and is the property of the State.

Types of Disclosure

The RTI Act establishes four categories of information disclosure:

  • Required Disclosure - information that is required by law to be published, such as an annual report.
  • Routine Disclosure - information of interest to the public that is released on a routine basis, such as statistics.
  • Active Disclosure - information that is released upon request without the need for submitting an application for assessment disclosure. Refer to Active disclosure of Personal Information
  • Assessed Disclosure - information that is released on application after it has been formally assessed under the provisions of the RTI Act.

Assessed Disclosure is meant to be the method of last resort. Public authorities are expected to release as much relevant information as possible in response to enquiries (Active Disclosure) or that may be of public interest (Routine Disclosure) without the need for a formal application and assessment process.