Freedom of information

The State Library of Western Australia and the Library Board of Western Australia support Freedom of Information requests.

The Western Australian Freedom of Information Act 1992 (the FOI Act) gives any member of the public a right to access government documents (subject to some limitations). The State Library of Western Australia makes documents available as prescribed in the Act. Further the Act requires that personal information held by the State Library about members of the public is accurate, complete and up-to-date.

The Library Board of Western Australia is constituted under the authority of the Library Board of Western Australia Act 1951, listed as a statutory authority by Schedule 1 of the Financial Management Act 2006, and is subject to the provisions of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

The State Library of Western Australia is responsible to the Library Board through the Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian (CEO), who is the Executive Officer of the Board. The State Library is also a culture and the arts portfolio organisation within the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (the Department). The State Library is organised into four business units reporting to the CEO:

Executive Services manages internal audit, marketing and communications functions, strategic projects and support services to the CEO, the Library Board and other strategic partners. This includes providing policy advice and research support on issues and trends relevant to the State Library and the Library Board. Executive Services is also responsible for providing advice to the Minister for Culture and the Arts.
Collection Services manages and develops the State Library’s physical and digital collections and associated data, through collecting activities and systems encompassing acquisition, processing, storage, preservation, digitisation, distribution and access. Rural and remote local governments are supported with the selection and management of materials for their public libraries.
Library Services delivers services to the community which inspires creativity and curiosity and plays a vital role in literacy and learning at every stage of life. The Directorate supports State Library clients, whether online or visiting the building with specialist library and research services and educational programs based on State Library collections. The Better Beginnings Family Literacy program is widely recognised for its universal approach to developing and supporting family literacy. Western Australian public libraries are also supported with advice, training and professional development opportunities.
Strategic and Corporate Services supports the Library in the areas of financial management and budget planning, human resource services and building management. Some information and technology services and human resource services, building maintenance services, payroll and financial processing are provided in collaboration with the Department.

The agency’s main purpose is the provision of contemporary library services from the State Library of Western Australia and supporting local governments deliver public library services supplying shelf-ready stock for public libraries State-wide.

The types of documents held by the State Library include:

  • Emails
  • Memorandum
  • Papers/reports
  • Presentations
  • Correspondence
  • Diagrams/images/plans
  • Orders/invoices
  • Contracts
  • Manuals
  • Diaries
  • Policies/ guidelines/procedures
  • Meeting minutes/agendas

Any of these documents would be available under the Freedom of Information Act. The State Library would welcome enquiry about if a document could be supplied without resort to a FOI application.

State Library published works are available free of charge to download online from the State Library website, or for print materials, physical inspection at the State Library.

Under the Regulations of the Act the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries acts in a coordination role for all applications for the State Library and the Library Board of Western Australia documents and information.

If you making an application for information from the State Library, we encourage you to check the Department's website for more information.

Applications must be submitted in writing. A letter or email which describes the document/s is sufficient. Applications can now be made online.

The letter or email should say that the request is made under the FOI Act and should not form part of a letter or email on another subject. In your application, provide the following:

  • full name;
  • Australian postal address;
  • telephone number or email address; and
  • details of document required – be as specific as you can; and form of access desired - i.e. copies of documents, inspection of file or other (specify).

Applications can be made in writing and posted, emailed or made online.

Address posted applications to:

FOI Coordinator
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
PO Box 8349
Perth Business Centre WA 6849

If you are applying for access to non-personal documents or information then an application fee applies. This fee must be paid before the application is accepted. Information about fees and charges.

The Department must respond to your FOI application within 45 days.

Any request to correct or amend your personal information in a document must be made in writing. Your request should include:

  • full name;
  • postal address;
  • details on how and why you believe the information to be incorrect; incomplete, misleading or out of date; and
  • details on the amendment/s you wish to have made.

A scale of fees and charges is set under the FOI Act Regulations. Apart from the application fee for non-personal information, all charges are discretionary.

The charges are as follows:

Type Charge
Personal information about applicant No fee
Application fee (non-personal information) $30.00
For large or time consuming applications the following charges may apply. Where charges will apply the applicant will be given an estimate of the charges to approve.
Charge for time dealing with application - this cannot include time spend locating documents (per hour or pro rata) $30.00
Access time supervised by staff (per hour or pro rata) $30.00
Photocopying or transcribing staff time (per hour or pro rata) $30.00
Per photocopy 20 cents
Transcribing from tape, film or computer (per hour or pro rata) $30.00
Duplicating a tape, film or computer information Actual cost
Delivery, packaging and postage Actual cost


  • Advance deposit may be required of the estimated charges 25%.
  • Further advance deposit may be required to meet the charges for dealing with the application 75%.
  • The charge payable is reduced by 25% for financially disadvantaged applicants or those issued with prescribed pensioner concession cards.

You will be provided with a notice of decision as soon as possible, but in any case within 45 days. It will include details such as:

  • the date the decision was made;
  • the name and the designation of the officer who made the decision;
  • if the document is an exempt document, the reason for classifying the matter exempt, or that access is given to an edited document; and
  • information on the right to appeal the decision and the procedures to be followed to exercise those rights.

Applicants may appeal against a decision for access to documents, the amendment of records, or against the costs to be levied. The first avenue of appeal is to write to the Director General, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, requesting an internal review of the decision.

The application for a review must be lodged within 30 days of receiving written notice of the decision (or a quote for the costs to be levied).

The matter will be reviewed within 15 days of receipt of your appeal.

Should you wish to further appeal this decision, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner appointed under the FOI Act.

Contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries FOI Coordinator as above, or look at the information available on the Western Australian Office of the Information Commissioner website.