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Section 49Q - Conciliation by Health Complaints Commissioner

Guidelines

Applying to the Health Complaints Commissioner for a review of a document containing health information in certain cases

1.1

An applicant may apply to the Health Complaints Commissioner for conciliation where the:

  • applicant has the right to apply for a review of a decision;1
  • document being reviewed contains health information relating to the applicant;2 and
  • document is claimed to be exempt under section 32, 33, or 38.3
1.2

If these conditions are met, an applicant may elect to use the conciliation process under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), instead of under the FOI Act.

1.3

The Health Complaints Commissioner may only try to conciliate the matter. It cannot make a formal decision on the review, like OVIC. OVIC’s processes also try to informally resolve matters.

1.4

If an applicant chooses to apply for conciliation by the Health Complaints Commissioner, they must apply within 28 days after receiving the agency or Minister’s decision.4

1.5

However, if the agency or Minister’s decision refuses to grant access to a document containing health information on the grounds that providing access would pose a serious threat to the life or health of the individual, then the applicant has 70 days to apply for conciliation.5

If conciliation is not successful

1.6

If the Health Complaints Commissioner’s attempt to conciliate is not successful, they must write to the applicant, the principal officer of the agency or the Minister to whom the request was made, and the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner and notify them of the result of the conciliation.11

1.7

If conciliation is not successful, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal may review the decision.12

More information

For more information on conciliation by the Health Complaints Commissioner, see the Health Complaints Commissioner’s website.

For more information on reviews by VCAT, see section 50 – Applications for review by Tribunal.

  1. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(1).
  2. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(1).
  3. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(4).
  4. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(5)(b).
  5. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(6).
  6. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(1).
  7. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(1).
  8. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(4).
  9. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(5)(b).
  10. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 49PQ(6).
  11. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), sections 49PQ(5)(a) and 27(1)(da); Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), section 36.
  12. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 50(3C).
  13. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), sections 49PQ(5)(a) and 27(1)(da); Health Records Act 2001 (Vic), section 36.
  14. Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic), section 50(3C).

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Last updated 18 January 2024

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