Personal records amendment

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) allows you to ask a minister or agency to amend or annotate a personal record they hold about you. You can do this if you believe that the personal record is out of date, misleading, incorrect or inaccurate.

Amending a personal record involves updating the information it contains so that it is no longer out of date, misleading, incorrect or inaccurate. Annotating a personal record involves attaching a note to the record outlining your objections to the information it contains.

Unlike other freedom of information (FOI) requests, a request for amendment or annotation applies to ‘records of information’ contained within a document, rather than just a ‘document’. You can request amendment or annotation of any record of information about you that an agency or minister has used, is using or could use for an administrative purpose. You do not have to apply for amendment of a personal record before seeking annotation of the record.

A minister or agency can refuse to annotate a record if they consider the annotation to be voluminous, defamatory or irrelevant. They can also attach their own comments to an annotation.

If your request for amendment is refused, or if the amendment differs from what you requested, you can ask the agency to review its decision. You can also ask the minister or agency to annotate the record with a statement or file note reflecting your disagreement. Another available option is Information Commissioner review.

The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) also provides you with rights to request that ministers and agencies change information they hold about you. These rights are separate from your rights under the FOI Act.

Further information

For information about making a request for amendment or annotation of personal records under the FOI Act and your rights under the Privacy Act, see FOI Fact Sheet 5 — Your personal information and the Privacy resources page.

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