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Requesting Agency Data

This page helps you understand how to request data from a NSW Government agency. The Data Sharing (Government Sector) Act encourages and enables data sharing across the NSW public sector. 

Members of the public can make requests under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) for government data and information. 

The Information and Privacy Commission NSW have developed resources to help you access NSW Government data and information.  They are an independent statutory authority that administers legislation dealing with privacy and access to government held information in New South Wales. 

Public sector staff who would like to access data from another agency should follow these steps:

1. Know your purpose

Explain clearly why you need the data. The Data Sharing Act sets out the permitted purposes for agencies to share data. It says agencies can share data in order to: 

  • Support the making of good policy 
  • Improve or support program management 
  • Enable effective service planning and delivery. 

2. Is the data already available?

Check that the data you want isn’t already open. The first place to begin is the NSW Open Data Portal. To view the NSW government agency data portals, visit the browse page. 

3. Outline the specific types of data you need

To help data custodians know what data you need, make a list or construct a spreadsheet. Provide a summary of the types of data fields you might need. 

For example, to help with your service planning, do you need information about date or frequency of service delivery, service types or the locations where services are provided? Be specific, as this helps data custodians to understand and process your request. 

Check that your requested data meets the requirements under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act, and doesn’t fall into the excluded categories of Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 of the GIPA Act. In most cases the Data Sharing Act does not allow health, sensitive, or personally identifiable information to be shared. 

If you think you may need personally identifying information, you should talk to the data custodian about whether safeguards such as redaction or aggregation can be applied so that data can be shared with you that doesn’t contain personal information, but still meets your purpose. 

4. Request data

When you are ready to make your data sharing request: 

  • Directly contact the agency who holds the data you need via their website 
  • If they have a specific data sharing request form, use this to make your request 
  • If they don’t have a specific form, use our request template 

You can also contact other agencies using the Data.NSW Forum. 

Each agency’s GIPA Act team can also provide advice on who to contact for data sharing requests. 

Once your request is received, the agency will: 

  • Review your application and discuss any concerns with you 
  • If approved, agree on the terms and conditions for the sharing of data