Request access to information
You can ask us for information we hold about you, including documents on your compensation claim file. You can also formally request access to documents we hold, under freedom of information.
Request a copy of a document on your claim file
You can ask for a copy of a document related to your claim without putting in a special request. For example, we can provide a copy of:
- the claim form and documents you submitted to us
- a letter we sent you, or
- your payment history.
Call us on 1300 366 979 or contact your claims manager directly.
Obtain claim file documents – section 59 request
We can provide access to information relating to the determination of your claim, under section 59 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).
Documents Comcare can provide under section 59
Under section 59 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act), Comcare can provide you with documents that are held on your compensation claim file.
Documents that are held on your claim file relate to determining liability of your claim, and includes:
- claim forms
- email or letter correspondence
- decision letters
- statements from injured employees and their employers
- pay information
- medical reports and certificates
- information about rehabilitation programs.
An Administrative Appeals Tribunal decision which affects the liability determinations of your claim is attached to your claim file and can also be accessed under section 59.
Other documents that are not kept on your compensation claim file can be requested under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). See information on how to make a request under the FOI Act.
Documents not provided under section 59
In line with Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Federal Court case law, legal advice and documents that do not relate to Comcare determining liability on your claim are not held on your compensation claim file and therefore cannot be provided under section 59. This includes:
- documents covered by legal professional privilege
- documents relating to tribunal or court hearings
- Comcare procedural documents
- documents relating to work health and safety inspections, investigations and complaints.
You can however request access to these documents under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). See information on how to make a request under the FOI Act.
If you ask for documents which we cannot be provided under section 59, we will let you know and assist you with making an FOI request or asking for the documents in another way.
Who can access documents
You, your employer, your rehabilitation authority or an authorised representative are allowed to access information relating to the determination of your claim, under section 59 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act).
How to obtain documents
To obtain documents under section 59 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act):
- email firstname.lastname@example.org, or
- contact your claims manager directly.
Be specific about the documents you want as this helps us manage your request.
Requests for documents should be made in writing. This ensures there can be no misunderstanding or disagreement:
- over the terms of the request
- that the person requesting the documents is authorised to do so by:
- the claimant to whom the documents relate, or
- the claimant’s authorised representative.
To protect a person’s privacy, we require identification in the form of:
- the claimant’s claim number or signature, and
- another form of identification which positively identifies the claimant as being who they claim to be.
We aim to action requests made under section 59 as soon as practicable.
Freedom of information request
You can formally request access to documents we hold under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) with limited exceptions.
Charges may apply for processing documents that do not contain your personal information.
How to make a freedom of information request
Requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) must:
- be in writing
- state that the request is an application for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 1982
- provide enough information about the documents to assist us to identify them
- provide an address for reply.
If you ask for documents about another person, we may need evidence that the person has authorised you to act on their behalf.
The Freedom of Information Act 1982 also allows you to request that your personal information be annotated or amended if it is:
- out of date
Submit your request:
- by email to email@example.com
- write to Freedom of Information, Comcare, GPO Box 9905, Canberra ACT 2601
- in person to a Comcare office.
Fees and charges
There is no application fee for a freedom of information request.
There are no processing charges for requests to access documents containing only personal information about you.
However, processing charges may apply to requests for other information. See Table 1 for the most common charges.
|Search and retrieval - time we spend searching for or retrieving a document||$15 an hour|
|Decision making - time we spend deciding to grant or refuse a request. This includes examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions||First 5 hours: No charge |
Extra hours: $20 an hour
|Transcript - preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand or similar method||$4.40 each page of transcript|
|Photocopy||10 cents a page|
|Inspection - supervision by a Comcare officer of your inspection of documents. This includes hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our offices||$6.25 each half hour or part thereof|
|Delivery - posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request||Cost of postage or delivery|
If there is a charge, we give you a written estimate and the basis of our calculation.
Where we estimate the charge is between $20 and $100, we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20. Where the estimated charge exceeds $100, we may ask you to pay a 25 per cent deposit before we process your request.
You can ask for the charge to be waived or reduced for reasons including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. You should explain your reasons and may need to provide evidence.
Freedom of information request disclosure log
See our Freedom of information disclosure log for a list of information we have released in the last 12 months in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
Relationship between freedom of information and section 59 requests
A person may make requests under section 59 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRC Act) and the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).
The main differences between section 59 and the FOI Act are:
- section 59 is limited to documents that are relevant to Comcare determining liability on a claim (compensation claim file)
- there is no requirement under freedom of information for the person requesting the information to have a personal interest in the matter
- requesting documents and providing them under freedom of information is a more formal process.
If you make a general request for claim documents and do not specify which legislation you are making the request under, we will usually action the request under the terms of section 59.
If you make a request under section 59 and a request under the FOI Act, then the parts of the request which relate to section 59 are actioned under that section and the remainder will be processed under the FOI Act. We will inform you of how we will proceed with processing your request upon acknowledgment.
Information Publication Scheme
As an Australian Government agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act 1982, Comcare must publish a range of information on our website as part of our Information Publication Scheme.
This includes information on:
- our structure
- our duties
- annual reports
- our consultation arrangements
- information we routinely release following freedom of information requests
- information we routinely provide to Parliament.
For more information, see Information Publication Scheme.