The New Freedom of Information Act in Austria
The New Freedom of Information Act in Austria

At the end of January, the Parliament passed the new Freedom of Information Act in Austria (Informationsfreiheitsgesetz - IFG), which is set to take effect in September 2025. With this law, the end of the Austrian official secrecy is sealed. Instead, the new law grants every individual and organization the right to access state and certain corporate information.

Freedom of Information Act replacing Official Secrecy

Under the new law, public authorities are obligated from September 2025 to proactively publish information of general interest (such as commissioned expert opinions, studies, and contracts) and make them accessible through a central information register. In addition, public administrative bodies and certain entrepreneurs must, upon request, provide citizens, journalists, and NGOs with information about incidents within their sphere of activity or business. Of course, there are exceptions.

Freedom of Information Act in Austria for small municipalities

Even for municipalities, the future is: Freedom of Information Act instead of official secrecy. However, municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants are exempt from the proactive duty to provide information. Nevertheless, even small municipalities must respond to individual requests from citizens, journalists, or NGOs within four weeks (with the possibility of an extension for an additional four weeks).

Refusal of information for specific reasons

Information can still be denied if public safety is at risk, substantial financial damage is looming, a decision is still in preparation, or the interests of third parties outweigh the public interest in information. In addition, extremely time-consuming and obviously unfounded requests do not have to be answered. Additional specific restrictions are provided for state-owned companies and interest representations.

Constitutional amendment: Freedom of Information instead of Official Secrecy

Official secrecy is completely removed from the constitution, and citizens are instead granted a right to information from the state. Similarly, state-owned companies, foundations, funds, and legal interest representations are obliged to greater transparency in the future.

Do you have further questions?

If you have additional questions and would like legal advice, we specialize in Austrian and German business law and would be happy to assist you. Please feel free to contact our law firm at office@geuer.at or by phone at +43-1-4380072. We look forward to your inquiry.

Sources and further links (German):

Scroll to Top