Accessing records – government organisations

How to access records held by government organisations

Government organisations – like child protection agencies, courts, schools, hospitals and police – might hold information about you that you want to access.

This information could be important for:

  • your identity
  • your personal and family history
  • making a complaint about what happened to you as a child
  • applying for compensation

Non-government organisations, like religious and community organisations, might also hold information about you. Read more about accessing records held by non-government organisations.

What are my rights?

Australian law gives you the right to access information that governments hold about you. The law places a duty on the government to search for and release this information to you.

However, sometimes governments may able to withhold records, for example, if they contain sensitive information about another person or government.

If the government withholds information, you can ask them to review this decision or ask an external agency to look at the decision. You may only have a short amount of time to ask for a review.

How knowmore can help

knowmore can help advise you about:

  • asking a government organisation for information
  • asking for a review of a government organisation’s decision to withhold information

You can read more in our fact sheet below.