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Freedom of Information

Categories of Documents Maintained

Documents Available as Part of a Public Register and Subject to a Fee or Other Charge

  • Oceanographic data (copies of original survey documents, and hydrographic and oceanographic data held by the Navy on computer file).

Documents Available for Purchase by the Public

  • Annual flying safety calendar, aeronautical maps and charts, supplements and planning documents, and aerial photographs
  • Defence cataloguing handbooks and information
  • Defence Annual Report and the Defence Portfolio Budget and Additional Estimates Statements (and available in electronic form on the Defence website)
  • Defence Freedom of Information Manual (available through the Freedom of Information Directorate)
  • Draft and final environmental impact statements (held by, and available from, Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group)
  • Manuals that have been cleared for release, and sale, to the public. These include, for example, the Defence Commercial Support Program Manual and the Defence Freedom of Information Manual
  • Journals and magazines published by Service colleges and schools
  • Procurement manuals and guidelines produced by the Defence Materiel Organisation (available for purchase in hard copy or free through the Defence Materiel Organisation website at http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo)
  • Service newspapers (available by annual subscription)
  • Tide tables (Australian national tide tables and navigational charts and publications are available for purchase either through appointed chart agents or direct from the Hydrographic Office in Wollongong, New South Wales, by mail order. The address can be found at the end of this section)
  • Documents that are available for inspection or purchase by the public in accordance with Section 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, that is manuals, instructions and the like that are used by, or are available to, Defence staff for making decisions affecting the public.

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Documents Free of Charge to the Public upon Request

Defence holds a wide range of such material, including information on or in the nature of:

  • academic calendars and prospectuses for the Service colleges
  • information about Military retirement and superannuation schemes
  • material relating to the activities of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, consisting of brochures and booklets, research news and industry brief newsletters, selected technical reports, technical and research press releases, videos on projects and lectures given to professional and public institutions
  • flying and ground safety publications (the Air Force makes magazines on these subjects available to some professional organisations)
  • notices to mariners (the Navy issues such notices containing hydrographic advice to correct navigational charts and documents and detailed information of exercises and firings)
  • a range of booklets and brochures from the Defence Community Organisation
  • recruitment pamphlets, brochures and video media, the 'career explorer' computer software program on ADF career options, and an internet home page on ADF career options
  • organisational material (functional statements, organisation charts and duty statements)
  • procurement policy and procedural guides, contract templates and Defence industry statements
  • lists of approved and unapproved capital facilities projects (the infrastructure 'Green Book' available at http://www.defence.gov.au/id)
  • general Defence material (pamphlets, brochures, and posters) which is freely available on request or available at Defence exhibitions, launches and open days, including the Australian Defence Force Journal
  • transcripts of public seminars conducted by Defence
  • technical material (including technical details of obsolete and selected current equipment, unclassified technical reports and Defence (Australia) Standards)
  • personnel documentation and records, including medical and psychological records (such records are only released to the subject of the records or to a third party authorised by the subject)
  • pamphlets and brochures on graduate employment programs in Defence for civilians and the civilian graduate careers page on the internet
  • pamphlets, brochures, guides and application forms relating to export control and obligations imposed through export controls, including the Australian export control list - Defence and Strategic Goods List; and
  • manuals and guides relating to ADF pay and conditions, including the Australian Defence Force Member's Guide to ADF Pay and Conditions of Service, 2003-04 edition, and the Defence Force Pay and Conditions Manual.

Electronic Documents

Defence's internet homepage can be found at http://www.defence.gov.au/. The website contains material of defence interest to the general public, including departmental media releases and speeches, statutory reports, Service-specific information including Service newspapers and export control information.

Departmental press releases are available by email from the press release service by subscription. Photos of a defence nature are also freely available from the image gallery on the site. Ministerial press releases and speeches are linked to the above website.

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Other Documents

The department maintains records in various forms and locations relating to the functions of Defence. Records are retained for varying periods depending on their administrative and historical value and are disposed of in accordance with standards and practices approved by the National Archives of Australia. Some particular categories of documents held are:

  • arrangements with other Australian Government agencies and with state and territory governments and agencies;
  • accounting records
  • Cabinet documents (including submissions, memoranda, minutes and promulgation of decisions)
  • Ministerial submissions and briefing papers
  • committee records
  • conditions of service (including documents relating to compensation other than for personal injury and financial conditions relating to overseas service)
  • contractual documents, requests for tender documents and industry study reports
  • departmental instructions, circulars and reference books
  • industrial matters (including agenda and minutes of meetings of various industrial committees and councils, occupational health and safety committees and policy on industrial practices within the department)
  • guidelines held in electronic form by the Directorate of Classified Archival Records Review that are used in determining which matter, if any, contained in classified Defence historical records is exempt under sections 33(1)(a) and (b) of the Archives Act 1983 from public access. New guidelines are created, or existing ones revised or abolished, progressively as the need arises
  • intelligence reports
  • international agreements and arrangements held in a register of agreements
  • personal documentation (for example, recruitment and enlistment, selection for promotion documents and those of a medical and psychological nature)
  • press cuttings
  • documents concerning quality assurance
  • technical publications (relating to maintenance of ADF materiel, and drawings, specifications and standards relating to ships, aircraft and other equipment in use); and
  • working papers (internal working papers are maintained throughout the organisation on a wide range of policy, technical and administrative subjects).

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Facilities for Accessing Documents

The following areas within Defence maintain access points at which information about their activities is available:

Defence Science and Technology Organisation
Director Defence Science Communications
Defence Science and Technology Organisation
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6265 7928

Coordination and Public Affairs Division
Director-General Public Affairs
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6265 2999

Defence Publishing Service
ACT/Southern NSW Region
Corporate Services and Infrastructure Group
Department of Defence
CANBERRA ACT 2600
Tel: (02) 6266 2022

Hydrographic Office
Locked Bag 8801
WOLLONGONG NSW 2500
Tel: (02) 4221 8612

Documents that are available for inspection or purchase by the public in accordance with Section 9 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 are listed in an index available through the offices of National Archives of Australia and through the Defence Freedom of Information Directorate. Arrangements to inspect listed documents, or to purchase copies, may be made by contacting the Freedom of Information Directorate in the Department of Defence, Canberra - see contact details under 'Freedom of Information Procedures and Contact Points', above.

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