Under the Right to Information Act 2009, members of the public have a right to apply for access to, or copies of, documents held by Sunwater.
Before making an application for information, check whether the information that you are looking for is already available from:
- Our Administrative Access Scheme – personal and non-personal information available for administrative access
- Our Publication Scheme – information about Sunwater, our services, finances, priorities, decisions, policies, lists and registers
- Our website
If the information is not already available, or you are unable to find it through the above sources, you can make a request by completing a RTI Application form and submitting it by fax or in person.
Information for applicants
Right to Access
The Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (the RTI Act) gives the public a right of access to documents held by Government Owned Corporations. It replaces the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (Qld), which will continue to apply for applications lodged before 1 July 2009. All applications received after this date will be dealt with under the RTI Act. As a Government owned corporation, Sunwater is committed to supporting the Queensland Government in this initiative by proactively making available information to the public through the Sunwater website and other appropriate means.
Requirement for an Application
An application made under the RTI Act for access to documents must be in writing in the approved form and accompanied by the application fee. The Application Form can be downloaded from the Queensland Government website (www.rti.qld.gov.au) and is available upon request. The Application Fee is also available on the Queensland Government website. If your application does not comply with the relevant application requirements, Sunwater will contact you within 15 business days to inform you of the deficiencies in your application. An application for access must contain sufficient information for Sunwater to identify the documents requested. Sunwater may need to obtain further information from you to locate the documents.
No Reasons Required
When requesting access to documents held by Sunwater, you are not required to give a reason for wanting to see the document. If access to the document is denied by Sunwater, you will be provided with a written explanation.
Definition of a Document
An application for access must be for a document in the possession, or under the control, of Sunwater whether or not brought into existence or received by Sunwater, and includes a document which Sunwater is entitled to accept or reject a document in the possession or control of an officer of Sunwater. The document must be in existence on the day the application is received.
If the request is for access to non-personal documents, an application fee is payable and must accompany the application. The application fee is available from the Office of Information Commissioner website. GST is not applicable to application fees. Payment can be by cheque, money order or cash. Cash should not be sent by post. Cheques and money orders should be made payable to “Sunwater Limited”. Sunwater does not accept credit card payments for RTI Access Applications.
Charges Estimate Notice – Processing Charge or Access Charge
Within 25 business days of receipt of an access application, Sunwater will issue a Charges Estimate Notice for the processing or access charges associated with the application. Sunwater is under a duty to keep all charges to a minimum. A processing charge will not be payable if the document contains information that is personal to the applicant. The charges may only be waived in certain circumstances. The charges must be waived if the applicant establishes that they are under financial hardship by way of documentary evidence:
The Individuals Criteria
The sole criterion prescribed for determining whether an individual is in financial hardship is whether the individual is the holder of a concession card. When claiming the waiver of the charge, an applicant must:
(a) provide the original concession card for an officer of Sunwater to photocopy and note that the original has been sighted; or
(b) provide a copy of the concession card certified by a Commissioner for Declarations, Justice of the Peace or Solicitor.
“Concession card” is defined to mean:
(c) a health care card or pensioner concession card issued under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth); or
(d) a pensioner concession card issued by the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
”Non-profit organisation” means “an organisation that is not carried on for the profit or gain of its individual members”. Non-profit organisations may make a written application to the Information Commissioner to be given status as a non-profit organisation under financial hardship, which will remain in effect for 1 year.
Criteria: The criteria prescribed for determining whether a non-profit organisation is in financial hardship are:
(a) the nature and size of the organisation’s funding base; or
(b) the amount of the organisation’s liquid funds.
Access to Personal Documents
If an access application is made for access to a document containing your personal information, within 10 business days of making the application you must provide Sunwater with evidence of your identity. This proof will need to consist of:
(a) two documents verifying your identity, e.g. birth certificate, Medicare card and/or credit card; and
(b) photographic identification, e.g. a driver licence or passport.
Processing of Request
Processing a request takes time, so immediate access to documents is generally not given. Documents need to be located and a decision about access given. There are, however, statutory time limits within which requests will be dealt with. These, in summary, are outlined below:
(a) Sunwater must inform the applicant if an application is non-compliant with relevant application requirements within 15 business days; and
(b) Sunwater must provide the applicant with a Charges Estimate Notice and Schedule of Relevant Documents within 25 business days.
Notification of Decision
Sunwater will notify you of a decision regarding your access application within 25 business days.
Appealing a Decision – Internal Review
Pursuant to Chapter 3 Part 8 of the Right to Information Act 2009 (Qld) (the RTI Act), if you are a person affected by a reviewable decision you can apply to Sunwater for an Internal Review of its decision. A reviewable decision is defined in the Act.
To apply for an Internal Review of a decision you must write a letter or lodge an Internal Review application form within 20 business days the date of the decision. All Internal Review applications must be addressed to:
Right to Information Principal Officer
PO Box 15536
City East Queensland 4002
Fax (07) 3120 0260
You must include an address to which notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant for internal review. Sunwater will undertake its Internal Review and advise you of its decision within 20 business days of receipt of your application or letter.
Appealing a Decision – External Review
If you are a person affected by a reviewable decision, you can also request an External Review by the Information Commissioner under Chapter 3 Part 9 of the Act. It is not necessary to have an Internal Review completed before applying for an External Review.
To apply for an External Review, you must apply to the Information Commissioner within 20 business days of the date of the written notice of the decision.
External Review requests to the Information Commissioner must be:
(a) in writing;
(b) specify an address for notification to be sent to you under the Act;
(c) give details of the decision for review; and
(d) be lodged at the office of the Information Commissioner. Further information is available from the Office of the Information Commissioner (http://www.oic.qld.gov.au/)
Sunwater Internal Review
Right to Information Coordinator
Phone 13 15 89
Green Square North
Level 9, 515 St Pauls Terrace
Fortitude Valley, Queensland 4006
PO Box 15536 City East
Brisbane Queensland 4002
Office of Information Commission