A number of Commonwealth agencies are not subject to the legislation at all and several others are excluded for certain types of documents (for example, documents concerning the competitive commercial activities of the particular agency). Exclusions are set out in Schedules 1 and 2 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth).
Several of the exempt agencies are engaged in commercial operations. Other organisations which have been excluded from the Act are concerned with matters such as Aboriginal self management, labour relations and Australian secret intelligence (for example, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Security Intelligence Service).
Some agencies have exemptions for particular classes of documents, mainly relating to the agency's competitive commercial activities. These agencies (for example, the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department) have had documents excluded as they would be significantly disadvantaged in their competition with private sector organisations who could obtain information about their operations through FOI legislation. Examples of other classes of documents that are protected include Australian Broadcasting Corporation and SBS program material [see Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) schedule 2].