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What is Freedom of Information (FOI)?

Individuals and Agencies have the right to access information and documents held by Ambulance Victoria (AV) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) (the Act). The Act gives individuals the right to access documents about their personal affairs and the activities of government agencies, including information held by Ministers, State Government Departments, local councils, public hospitals, most semi-government agencies and statutory authorities.

What documents in the possession of Ambulance Victoria can be subject to a Freedom of Information request?

In theory all documents held by AV can be subject to an FOI request, whether they are created by AV or supplied to AV by an external agency or individual. It is not only documents in paper form that are accessible. ‘Documents’ covers a broad range of information including emails, videos, tape recordings, maps, photographs, etc.

What constitutes a valid Freedom of Information request?

All FOI requests must be in writing and be written with enough clarity to enable the scope of the request to be identified and a search for documents to be undertaken.  A fee of $28.90 is also payable unless it is waived in circumstances of hardship (e.g. pension card/health care card). Access charges may also be payable relating to the costs incurred in granting access to the documents requested, including search time and copying charges.

What are the most common Freedom of Information requests handled by AV?

Common requests include requests by members of the public for their Patient Care Records. AV’s FOI team also process requests for the Coroners Court, Police and Subpoenas.

AV also process Major FOI requests.  These are commonly requests from Members of Parliament or media outlets relating to AV’s Policies and Procedures or topical issues relating to the provision of ambulance services to Victorians.

How long does Ambulance Victoria have to process each Freedom of Information request received?

Under the Act, AV is required to process an FOI request within 30 days of receiving a valid request.  It is therefore important that staff/departments identified as holding documents relevant to an FOI request forward these documents in a timely manner (generally within 3 days of receiving notification of the request).

Can information be exempt from release?

The Act is pro release but documents can be exempt either in full or in part if one or more of the exemptions in the Act can be applied.  The FOI Act outlines general categories of information that are exempt. These include information relating to the personal affairs of third parties, information provided in confidence, information which if released might endanger the lives or physical safety of individuals, cabinet documents, commercial-in-confidence information, internal working documents which if released would be contrary to the public interest, and so on.  Departments and staff are encouraged to raise any sensitivities around the release of a document with the FOI team.

What are the rights of a Freedom of Information applicant who is dissatisfied with an FOI decision by AV?

An applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision can appeal to the Office of the Information Commissioner.  All complaints must be made in writing within 28 days of receiving the initial decision from AV.

Further information:

FOI Act

Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner

or contact:

Paul Maclean, Lead, Freedom of Information on (03) 9840 3749 or via email paul.maclean@ambulance.vic.gov.au

Freedom of Information Part II –Information Statements

This Part II Statement demonstrates how Ambulance Victoria makes information readily available to the public. Providing easily accessible information to the public reduces the need to submit Freedom of Information requests under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic).

This Statement is a statutory requirement under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic) and outlines the role of Ambulance Victoria and provides a structured means to easily access information about key services, functions and reports.  Please note that the statements below are not an exhaustive list of all information that is publicly available.

Ambulance Victoria is the statutory provider of pre-hospital emergency care and ambulance services in Victoria.

Ambulance Victoria Organisational Chart

Ambulance Victoria Organisational Chart

Annual Reports

Ambulance Victoria Annual Reports detail how it has met its objectives and highlights key achievements for the reporting period. Each report is tabled in Parliament in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Management Act 1984 (Vic). Download Annual Report here

Legislation

A number of Legislative Acts are relevant to the functions of Ambulance Victoria. Please see Health Legislation

Ambulance Victoria creates, collects and publishes a range of data as a result of its work and uses a number of electronic documents and records management systems in order to classify, store, access and manage the broad range of electronic and hard copy documents.
The types of documents Ambulance Victoria hold includes:

• Policies, Procedures and Standards
• Patient Care Records
• Registers
• Correspondence
• Meeting Records
• Financial Records
• Action Plans
• Budget Reports
• Guidelines
• Publications
• AV Information Asset Register

The above examples are not an exhaustive list and provide a snapshot of information available from Ambulance Victoria.

Under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), members of the public have the right to request information and access documents about their personal affairs and the activities of Ambulance Victoria.

A freedom of information request needs to be made in writing to the agency that holds the documents being requested.

Requests for documents in the possession of Ambulance Victoria should be addressed to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Locked Bag 9000
Ballarat Mail Centre Vic 3354

or email: foi@ambulance.vic.gov.au

Further information on how to make a request and how Ambulance Victoria receives and processes Freedom of Information requests can be found here

Ambulance Victoria produces a wide range of Publications, many of which can be accessed on the publications section of this website.

• Publications
• Data
• Reports
• Research, Data and Statistics

Access publications here

Policies and procedures are in place to govern the operations of Ambulance Victoria.

Types of information include:

• Policies, Guidelines and Legislation
• Plans, Programs and Projects
• Codes of Conduct
• Codes of Practice
• Manuals and Information Kits

If you are searching for a specific topic, you can search the Ambulance Victoria website or contact us.

This section illustrates examples of where Ambulance Victoria publishes final reports and records of decisions relating to policy:

• Publications
• Data
• Research, Data and Statistics
• Publications/Policies

You can access Ambulance Victoria reports and records here

General enquiries should be directed to:

Ambulance Victoria
Phone: (03) 9840 3500
375 Manningham Road
Doncaster Victoria 3108