Open access applications - government information

Guidelines on accessing government information (records) held by the Australian Museum.


There are three main ways to access government information held by the Museum.   

1. Search on this website:
 Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, certain information is required by law to be available on our website, free of charge. This is called "open access information" and includes our:
policy documents and tabled documents,
government information publication guide,
disclosure log, and
register of government contracts.
You should check the open access information at the links above to see if the information you are looking for is already available.

As a general principal, the Museum tries to release as much government information as possible free of charge on its website.If you cannot find the information you are looking for by searching this website, you can ask us whether the information has already been released by the Museum in some other way (eg. in printed form). Some publications may only be available on the payment of a fee, but we will let you know if that is the case.

2. Make an informal request:
If the information you are after has not already been published by the Museum, but is information which raises no particular concerns in terms of possible public interest reasons why it should be kept confidential, then the Museum may be able to release it to you on request without the formalities of having to make a formal application. If you think this applies to the information you are after you can contact us to make an informal request. Generally, we try to release information we hold without the need for you to make a formal access application, unless there are good reasons to require one.

Archival records held by the Museum may be made accessible under an informal request. Archives section can be contacted through this website. 

Under the Government Information (Public Access) Act, however, Government agencies may require a person making a request to complete a formal access application. The Museum reserves the right to require you to lodge an access application, particularly if there may be significant public interest considerations that need to be taken into account in deciding whether the information can be released or if you request a large volume of information or if it would otherwise take the Museum a significant amount of time to consider your request.

3. Make a formal access application:
If the information you are seeking is not available on this website and is not otherwise routinely provided by the Museum on request, then you have a right to formally apply for access to specific information. You can make a formal application by downloading and completing the government information access form and sending it to us at the following address:

Coordinator (Public Access to Government Information) 
Australian Museum 
6 College Street 
Sydney NSW 2010

Please note you do not necessarily have to fill out the government information access form to make an application. However, the Act says that we are only able to accept access applications that:
1. Are in writing and sent to us at the address above;
2. Clearly state you are requesting information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009;
3. Enclose the $30 application fee;
4. Have a return postal address in Australia as the address for correspondence; and
5. Include as much specific information as necessary to enable us to identify the information you are asking for.

If your application does not include these five things, it will be invalid and will not be processed. If that happens, however, we will let you know and we will help you, if possible, by explaining how you can make a valid application. Otherwise we will write to acknowledge receipt of a valid access application within 5 working days, and will deal with your application within 20 working days (subject to any extension allowed for under the Act). If any extension of time is required to deal with your application, we will let you know in writing.

Processing charges can also be imposed at the rate of $30 per hour. In some circumstances an advance deposit can be required. We will let you know in writing if that applies to your application. Certain discounts may apply, including on financial hardship and public interest grounds.

Dr Scott Mitchell , Head, Cultural Collection Conservation & Consulting
Last Updated: