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Tools & Templates - Freedom of Information

Everyone has the right to access information held by Australian public authorities for free, including from the Department formerly known as the Department of Human Services (DHS), now known as Services Australia.
We'll just call them "The Department".
You can make a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which is simply a formal way to ask for documents, and they have to respond and provide the documents (unless there is a special exemption).

By law, they have to respond.

 

You can use an FOI request to get the detail of how The Department manages your accounts, and what information about your personal circumstances they have. This includes detailed recordings of any earnings submitted to Centrelink and the recently data-matched apportioned earnings, which in some cases differ substantially. This is asking them for your private information that they have on you.

All you need to say is which documents you’d like, and that it’s an FOI request.

 

To make your request, simply freedomofinformation [at] servicesaustralia.gov.au (email The Department one of the templates below) with your details included.

 

You can read more about our Freedom of Information rights at the Federal Information Commissioner’s website, or at the Department’s website.
If you’re not happy with the response you receive you can have it reviewed, for free!

You can see thousands of examples of requests for non-personal information on the Right To Know website, including requests about the robodebt “data-matching“ program.

Good luck, don’t forget to share your stories on the Not My Debt website

 

 

address:
freedomofinformation [at] humanservices.gov.au

 

template 1:

 

Dear Department of Human Services,

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act for documents relating to me, <YOUR NAME>, that you hold.
For identity verification purposes, my CRN number is <YOUR CENTRELINK CUSTOMER REFERENCE NUMBER (CRN)>.

I would like all relevant records relating to my Centrelink debt <DEBT REFERENCE NUMBER IF YOU HAVE ONE>, where possible including but not limited to:

  • previously submitted earnings
    <OR: your record of earnings reports submitted by me between START DATE OF DEBT PERIOD and END DATE OF DEBT PERIOD>;
  • debt schedule(s);
  • debt calculations and a breakdown;
  • earnings apportionate tool;
  • any documents obtained from employer(s) regarding debt; and,
  • any other documents relating to debt.

I request that you provide these records to this email address in their original accessible electronic form, rather than images of the documents such as scans or screenshots.

Yours faithfully,

 

<YOUR NAME>

 

template 2:

 

By email only to: freedomofinformation [at] servicesaustralia.gov.au

Name: _______________

DOB: _______________

CRN: ________________

Debt ID/s: ____________

Dear FOI Registrations Officer,

RE: Urgent Freedom of Information request for personal Centrelink records

I am a member of the Class Action and I write to request copies of the documents listed per the Gordon Legal proforma 'Attachment A' list (see below).

Kindly produce copies of all required documents to me via both email and registered post.

I look forward to receiving my documents as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Name: _____________

Address: _______________________

ATTACHMENT A

I request all documents in my Centrelink file pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), including but not limited to:

• Details of any debts owed by me;

• Any notes, documents, correspondence or screens regarding any communication about the debts or reviews of the debts, including authorised review officer review;

• All ADEX Debt Schedule reports, complete with the following information and any further information that may indicate the application of averaging of Australian Taxation Office income data to the debt calculation process:

- Benefit Fortnight Start and End
- Amount Paid
- Amount Entitled
- Amount Overpaid
- Method of Reporting
- Declared Income
- Actual Apportioned Income
- Actual Income as per Payslips
- Employer

• MultiCal documents;

• Details of all payments made to me by Centrelink during the financial years of the alleged overpayment;

• Details of all income reported by me to Centrelink during the financial years of the alleged overpayment;

• Any Integrated Review Activity documents; and

• Copies of any documents I provided to Centrelink regarding my employment including any pay advices, bank statements and group certificates.