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Freedom of Information (FOI)

Introduction

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is Victoria’s safety regulator for electricity, gas and pipelines.

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) gives members of the community a legal right to seek access to information held by government agencies. ESV supports this by:

  • making information about our operations available to the public;
  • facilitating a general right of access to documents held by ESV, only limiting access to documents by the proper application of exceptions and exemptions provided for under the FOI Act; and
  • delivering an efficient process for disclosing information at minimal cost to the community.

How to make a request

To make a request for documents, you can either write a letter to us or fill out the
ESV request form (with credit card authority). You should clearly set out the document(s) you are seeking from us and provide sufficient detail to enable us to locate them.  If you are submitting a request on behalf of someone else, you should provide a signed authority from that person.

You must pay the FOI application fee for us to start processing the request or attach a copy of your current concession card (if paying the fee would cause you hardship, we can apply your concession card to waive the application fee).  We accept payment by credit card (Visa or Mastercard only) or by bank transfer (you will need to contact the Freedom of Information Officer to make arrangements).

Requests for documents held by ESV should be sent by email to foi@energysafe.vic.gov.au or posted to:

Freedom of Information Officer
Energy Safe Victoria
PO Box 262
Collins Street West VIC  8007

For further information on how to make an FOI request, email our FOI Officer at foi@energysafe.vic.gov.au or visit the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner website.

What are the costs to make an FOI request?

The costs for an FOI request are:

Application fee

The application fee is fixed cost set by the Freedom of Information Act 1982 and is non-refundable.  The application fee may be waiver by ESV for applicants on the basis of hardship.

This fee is not refundable.

Application fee as at 1 July 2022:

$30.60

Access charges

Access charges relates to cost incurred in granting access that an applicant has requested.

Search charges: $22.90 per hour of part of an hour

Photocopying charges: 20c per black and white A4 page

All fees and charges:

  • Have been rounded to the nearest ten cents, as provided for by the Monetary Units Act 2004
  • Are exempt from GST and are set by government regulations
  • May not apply depending on the nature of your request

ESV will advise you if these charges are going to be more than $50 and asked to pay a deposit if you want to continue with your request.

What happens to a request?

Once we have received your FOI request and the FOI application fee, we will respond to you in writing as soon as practicable, but no later than 30 days, with an outline of our decision. The 30-day time frame may be extended in certain circumstances, including where we are required to consult with third parties, or where you agree to an extension of time.

If we refuse access to the documents sought, you may apply to the Victorian Information Commissioner for a review of our decision. You must do so within 28 days of the date we send our decision to you. The Information Commissioner has 30 days to conduct the review, unless you agree to an extension in time. For further information visit ovic.gov.au.

Who makes FOI decisions at ESV?

FOI requests are processed and decided by ESV officers who have been authorised by the ESV Chairperson.

Documents that can be released outside the FOI Act

There are number of documents that can be released outside the FOI Act.  For example:

  • Certificate of Electrical Safety (COES) – Click HERE for further information on how to request a copy of a COES; or
  • searches of ESV’s cathodic protection database relating to the location of cathodic protection systems or
  • a document containing only the personal information of the individual requesting that information, such as license information requested by the license holder.

For privacy reasons, any information that identifies or relates to third party individuals will be removed from documents prior to the release, unless the individual(s) concerned have consented to being identified.  However, in certain circumstances ESV may consider that it is reasonable to disclose the personal information of a third party without obtaining their explicit consent.  These circumstances including making available copies of COES.

We comply with the Information Privacy Principles in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).

Documents can also be released by way of statutory notice or subpoena

ESV receives subpoenas and statutory notices from other government agencies compelling the production of specified information and/or documents.

We comply with statutory notices and subpoenas unless the required information is privileged or there are proper grounds for objecting to production. Personal information in documents that are required to be produced under a notice or subpoena is not privileged and must be disclosed.

Notices and subpoenas must be served on ESV as follows:

The Proper Officer
Energy Safe Victoria
Level 5, Building 2
4 Riverside Quay
SOUTHBANK  VIC  3006

We generally waive conduct money in relation to service of subpoenas.