Freedom of Information

We make a range of information available for public access. You can also formally request access to documents we hold under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act).

Your rights

You can ask to see any document that we hold. We can refuse access to some documents, or parts of documents that are exempt. Exempt documents may include those relating to national security, documents containing material obtained in confidence and Cabinet documents, or other matters set out in the FOI Act.

The FOI Act gives you the right to:

  • Access copies of documents (except for exempt documents) we hold.
  • Ask for information we hold about you to be changed or annotated if it is incomplete, out of date, incorrect or misleading.
  • Seek a review of our decision not to allow you access to a document or not to amend your personal record.

Documents available outside the FOI Act

You can get certain information, including personal information we hold about you, without following a formal process under the FOI Act.

  • You can search for a registered ship on the Australian General and International Shipping Registers, or request a title extract from the Shipping Registration Office (please note that a fee is charged for obtaining a title extract). 
  • If you are the owner of a domestic commercial vessel and wish to obtain survey reports, stability calculations or book, the certificate of survey or vessel plans/ drawings of the vessel for yourself or your surveyor, you can request this information by completing an AMSA 664 form and following the submission instructions at the base of that form. 
Information Publication Scheme logo

If you are considering making an FOI request, you should also check the information we have published under the Information Publication Scheme and FOI disclosure log to see if what you are seeking is already available.

How to make an FOI request

Your request must:

  • be in writing
  • state that the request is an application for the purposes of the FOI Act
  • provide information about the document(s) you wish to access so that we can process your request
  • provide an address for reply

By post
The Freedom of Information Officer
Australian Maritime Safety Authority
GPO Box 2181
Canberra City ACT 2601

By email
If you need help with your request email us at

If you are making an FOI request on behalf of another person, you need to provide a specific, written authority from that person to send copies of documents to you or to allow you to inspect copies of documents containing information about the other person.

When making your request, please tell us whether you consent to excluding from the scope of your request the names of AMSA employees other than Senior Executive staff, and contact details and signatures.  If you consent to excluding this information, AMSA will redact it from documents falling within the scope of your request under section 22(1)(a)(ii) of the FOI Act, which authorises the deletion of irrelevant information.

Fees and charges

There is no application fee for an FOI request. There are no processing charges for requests for access to documents containing only personal information about you. However, processing charges may apply to other requests.

The most common charges are:

  • Search and retrieval 
    $15 per hour
    This is the time we spend searching or retrieving a document.
  • Decision making 
    No charge for first five hours, subsequent hours are $20 per hour
    This is the time we spend in deciding to grant or refuse a request, including examining documents, consulting with other parties, and making deletions
  • Transcript
    $4.40 per page of transcript
    Preparing a transcript from a sound recording, shorthand, or similar medium.
  • Photocopy
    $0.10 per page
  • Inspection
    $6.25 per half hour (or part thereof)
    Supervision by an agency officer of your inspection of documents or hearing or viewing an audio or visual recording at our premises.
  • Delivery
    Cost of postage or delivery.
    Posting or delivering a copy of a document at your request.

If there is a charge, we will give you a written estimate detailing the fees. If the estimated charge is between $20 and $100 we may ask you to pay a deposit of $20. If 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 any reason, including financial hardship or on the grounds of public interest. If you do, you will need to explain why and you may need to provide some evidence.

What you can expect from us

  • We will tell you within 14 days that we have received your request and give you an estimate of the charges.
  • We will give you our decision within 30 days unless that time has been extended. If a document contains information about a third party, we will need to consult them and may need to extend the time to give you our decision by another 30 days.
  • We may also seek your agreement to extend the time by up to 30 days if your request is complex.

If you disagree with our decision

When we have made a decision about your FOI request, we will send you a letter explaining our decision and your review and appeal rights.

You can ask for the following decisions to be reviewed if:

  • we refuse to give you access to all or part of a document or if we defer giving you access
  • we impose a charge
  • we refuse to change or annotate information about you that you claim is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.
  • you consider insufficient searches have been undertaken to find a document. 

A third party who disagrees with our decision to give you documents that contain information about them can also ask for our decision to be reviewed.

Internal review

You can request in writing that we reconsider our decision through an internal review. An internal review will be conducted by another officer in our agency. We will advise you of our new decision within 30 days of receiving your request.

Information Commissioner review

You can ask the Australian Information Commissioner to review our original decision or our decision on internal review within 60 days of the date of decision, or 30 days after you are notified if you are an affected third party.

The Information Commissioner can affirm or vary the decision or substitute a new decision. The Information Commissioner may decide not to conduct a review in certain circumstances. More information is available from the Australian Information Commissioner.


If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request, you can complain to the Australian Information Commissioner who may investigate our actions.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman can also investigate complaints about our actions. However, the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Information Commissioner will consult to avoid the same matter being investigated twice.

Related information

Last updated: 3 February 2021