FOI exemptions and decision-making

Who should attend

This course is for Commonwealth government employees, in particular freedom of information (FOI) decision-makers (or officers providing briefings to decision-makers) who deal with FOI requests and assess whether documents ought to be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). It is aimed at executive staff and managers, as well as other classification levels who are involved in decision-making on release of documents under FOI.

Course outline

This 4 hour course involves an intensive focus on the intellectual, strategic and practical decision-making aspects of FOI. This will involve:

  • a detailed examination of the most commonly used exemption provisions within the FOI Act, with reference to case studies
  • discussion of the legislative requirement to provide statements of reasons for decisions to refuse access to documents
  • tips, tricks and strategies for obtaining the best possible outcome from your decision-making.

We will use syndicate exercises relevant to Commonwealth government employees to involve the participants in the actual handling of requests and will provide a substantial reference manual for future reference in the workplace.


At the conclusion of the course, participants will be able to identify issues and make defensible decisions on the applicability of the exemption provisions that are available under the FOI Act when processing FOI requests. This will include making strategic choices about which exemptions to claim and when, and preparing detailed and persuasive statements of reasons for those decisions.


This is a 4 hour course.


Standard fee – $540 (inclusive of GST) per person. No more than 20 people will be accepted on each course, and courses will only be conducted if we receive sufficient nominations.