Cabinet documents

Cabinet is the peak decision-making body of the Queensland Government and is responsible for the development and coordination of government policies.

Cabinet usually meets weekly to discuss state issues. It makes critical decisions on topics such as law reform, significant policy initiatives, release of discussion papers, and intergovernmental agreements, as well as important appointments to government boards and committees. Matters discussed at Cabinet have significant implications for the state, communities, business and individuals.

The Queensland Cabinet is made up of the Premier and all Ministers, who make collective decisions following confidential discussions. Read further on Cabinet confidentiality and the Right to Information Act 2009.

The release of Cabinet material on this website is a policy decision of government and is referred to as the "proactive" release of information. This initiative forms part of the government's broader Right to Information reform agenda, designed to make government information more readily available to the community.

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Many decisions of Cabinet are released by government and Cabinet material on this website may have already been publicly released. For example, Ministers also release information about Cabinet decisions relating to their portfolio through Ministerial Media Statements or statements to the Queensland Parliament which are published in the Queensland Parliament Hansard (the official record of Parliament). Published documents represent the decision of Cabinet at the time of consideration.

Cabinet Confidentiality

Cabinet is bound by a collective responsibility which means Cabinet decisions are binding on all Ministers as government policy. To fulfil their responsibility, Cabinet Ministers must have frank, confidential discussions to resolve issues. More information about collective responsibility is available from the Queensland Cabinet Handbook.

Material that would reveal the confidential discussions of Cabinet and undermine the collective responsibility of Cabinet will not be posted on this website. Therefore, Cabinet material will appear in the form of summaries of Cabinet's considerations.

Cabinet material that, if revealed, would prejudice security or public safety, intergovernmental relations, the state's economy, or the competitive commercial activities of an agency will not be released on this website. Therefore, the information contained on this website is not an exhaustive list of material considered by Cabinet.

Due to the complexity of some issues, Cabinet may consider a matter on a number of occasions. As a general rule, only the final decisions of Cabinet are released on this website.

Cabinet and the Right to Information Act 2009

The Right to Information Act 2009 replaced the Freedom of Information Act 1992, and was introduced as part of the government's 20 August 2008 response to the report of the FOI Independent Review Panel, The Right to Information (PDF, 863 KB).

The Right to Information Act 2009 provides that information created after the commencement of the Act on 1 July 2009 is exempt from release if:

  • it was created for the consideration of Cabinet; or
  • releasing it would reveal any consideration of Cabinet or otherwise prejudice the confidentiality of Cabinet considerations or operations; or
  • it was created in the course of the state's budgetary processes.

The exemption specifically applies to a number of documents directly related to Cabinet's considerations or deliberations. These include:

  • Cabinet submissions
  • Cabinet briefing notes
  • Cabinet agendas
  • notes of discussions in Cabinet
  • Cabinet minutes
  • Cabinet decisions
  • a draft of any of the above documents.

A report of factual or statistical information attached to any of the above documents would be considered to be exempt information if its disclosure would reveal any consideration of Cabinet or it was created for Cabinet consideration or for the state's budgetary processes.

This exemption will lapse after 10 years. This means people will be able to apply for access to Cabinet information and these applications will be assessed against public interest factors listed in the Right to Information Act 2009.

Cabinet material created before 1 July 2009 retains its exemption under the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (now repealed). The exemption applies to all documents submitted to Cabinet, as well as documents prepared for Cabinet's consideration and documents that may disclose Cabinet considerations. There is no time limit on the exemption.

In addition, the Public Records Act 2002 has been amended to reduce the administrative release period for Cabinet documents from 30 years to 20 years. Cabinet documents created after commencement of the Right to Information Act 2009 on 1 July 2009 will therefore be administratively released after 20 years, while Cabinet documents created prior to 1 July 2009 will continue to be administratively released after 30 years.

Other decisions are not made available due to issues of confidentiality and may be exempt under the Right to Information Act 2009.

Information about Cabinet documents which have been administratively released can be found at the Queensland State Archives website.