Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act 1991 (the FOI Act) gives every member of the public a right to:

  • access documents which are held by government-related agencies, statutory authorities, councils, public hospitals and universities, subject to certain exceptions in the Act; and
  • have records which concern their personal affairs amended, if those records are incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.

The Ombudsman is able to investigate and review Freedom of Information actions and determinations concerning access to documents, amendment of records and other FOI related issues.


The Act does not apply to private businesses or organisations in South Australia.

Examples of documents that may be exempt include:

  • documents that would lead to an unreasonable disclosure of another person’s affairs
  • documents that contain trade secrets or information of commercial value
  • documents affecting law enforcement and public safety
  • documents of exempt agencies as declared by the Freedom of Information (Exempt Agency) Regulations, 2008.

Separate legislation applies to the Commonwealth government and interstate governments.