This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Staff numbers - FOI Section'.

LEX 56618 
Decision and Statement of reasons issued under the Freedom of 
Information Act 1982  

Decision and reasons for decision of Natalie (Position Number 62211022),  
Senior Information Access Officer, Information Access Unit, Client Access and Rehabilitation 
Branch, Department of Veterans’ Affairs 

Mr Alan Ashmore 
Decision date: 
19 May 2023 
FOI reference number: 
LEX 56618 
Sent by email: 
Dear Mr Ashmore,  
Freedom of Information Request: LEX 56618 
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (Department) has undertaken a reasonable search of its 
records and has identified one (1) document relevant to your request.  
I have made a decision to grant full access to one (1) document. 
The document created under section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI 
Act) which I have decided to grant access to is set out in Schedule 1. 
Authority to make decision
I, Natalie (Position Number 62211022), Senior Information Access Officer, Information 
Access Unit, Client Access and Rehabilitation Branch, am an officer authorised by the 
Secretary of the Department to make decisions about access to documents in the possession 
of the Department in accordance with section 23(1) of the FOI Act.  

On 15 March 2023, you made a request for access to documents in the possession of the 
Department. Your request sought access to: 
‘...I am seeking the number of full time equivalent, (FTE), staff working in DVA’s FOI 
Section as at 31 December 2020 and 31 December 2022.  
I require the numbers to be broken up into the following categories, namely:  
:  Number of permanent DVA staff, and  
:  Number of contractors.  
I further require the number of contractors to be broken up into their source, e.g. 
each external recruiting company and each external law firm...’ 
On 16 March 2023, the Department acknowledged your request via email.  
On 31 March 2023, the Department contacted you in relation to the scope of your request 
and as agreed the scope of the request was amended to: 
‘…I am seeking the number of full time equivalent, (FTE), staff working in DVA’s 
National Information Access Processing Team as at 31 December 2020 and DVA’s 
Information Access Unit 31 December 2022.  
I require the numbers to be broken up into the following categories, namely:  
: Number of permanent DVA staff, and  
: Number of contractors.  
I further require the number of contractors to be broken up into their source, e.g. 
each external recruiting company and each external law firm…’ 
As no extensions of time have been applied to process your request, a decision on your 
request was due by 14 April 2023. 
In accordance with section 15AC of the FOI Act, the principal officer of the Department is 
taken to have made a decision personally refusing to give access to the documents on the 
last day of the initial decision period. Even where a decision has not been issued within the 
prescribed timeframe, the Department retains an obligation to process and finalise the FOI 
request. I would like to apologise for the delay in issuing this decision to you and any 
inconvenience it may have caused. 
10.  As a decision on your request was not made within the timeframe as prescribed in section 
15(5)(b) of the FOI Act, Regulation 7(2) of the Freedom of Information (Charges) Regulations 
2019 prescribed that no charge is payable.  

Material taken into account  
11.  In accordance with section 26(1)(a) of the FOI Act, my findings on any material question of 
fact, the material on which those findings were based and the reasons for my decision to 
grant access to the document follow.   
12.  I have taken the following material into account in making my decision: 
  the terms of your request on 15 March 2023; 
  the types of information and documents that are in the Department’s possession; 
  the content of the document that falls within the scope of your request; 
  the availability of information relevant to your request, including the practicality and 
time required in which the Department may create a document under section 17 of 
the FOI Act; 
  Sections 3, 11 and 11A of the FOI Act which give the Australian community a legally 
enforceable right to obtain access to information held by the Government of the 
Commonwealth. I also considered the following provision of the FOI Act relevant to my 
-  Section 15  Request for Access 
-  Section 17  Requests involving use of computers etc (e.g. request for the 
Department to create a Document) 
  the Guidelines issued by the Australian Information Commissioner under section 93A 
of the FOI Act (FOI Guidelines);  
13.  A full extract of all FOI Act provisions used to make my decision are provided in Schedule 2.  
Reasons for decision  
14.  I have decided to grant full access to the document within the scope of your request. 

Creation of a document in response to your FOI Request (section 17) 
15.  In order to provide you access to all relevant information regarding your request, I have 
asked the relevant business area, the Workforce Reporting, to extract the relevant data and 
create a document in response to your request. This document is listed at Schedule 1 and 
was created in accordance with section 17 of the FOI Act.  
Access to documents 
16.  The document released to you in accordance with the FOI Act is enclosed. 
Information Publication Scheme 
17.  The Information Publication Scheme requires the Department to publish information 
released in response to individual requests made under the FOI Act, except in specified 
18.  I am of the view that details of your request should be made available on the Department’s 
FOI Disclosure Log. As such, details of your request will be published on the Department’s 
FOI Disclosure Log which can be accessed at
information/foi-disclosure-log. Please note that the Department does not publish details of 
FOI applicants, it only publishes details of the FOI request and the documents released in 
response to the request. 
Your rights of review 
19.  If you are dissatisfied with my decision you may apply for Information Commissioner Review 
of the decision through the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). In 
accordance with section 54E(b) of the FOI Act, internal review is not available as the 
Department did not finalise your FOI request within the prescribed statutory timeframe.  
OAIC review  
20.  Under section 54L of the FOI Act, you may apply to the OAIC to review my decision. An 
application for review by OAIC must be made in writing within 60 days of the date of this 
letter, and be lodged in one of the following ways: 
Director of FOI Dispute Resolution 
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 
GPO Box 5218, Sydney NSW 2001 

(02) 9284 9666 
1300 363 992 
21.  More information about your review rights under the FOI Act is available in Fact Sheet 12 
published by the OAIC:
Contact us 
22.  If you wish to discuss this decision, please do not hesitate to contact the Information Access 
Unit using the following details: 
Information Access Unit 
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
GPO Box 9998, Brisbane QLD 4001 
1800 838 372 
Yours sincerely, 
Natalie (Position Number 62211022) 
Senior Information Access Officer  
Information Access Unit 
Client Access and Rehabilitation Branch 
Department of Veterans’ Affairs 
19 May 2023 

LEX 56618 
Schedule 1 
Schedule of documents  
Mr Alan Ashmore 
Decision date: 

19 May 2023 
FOI reference number: 

LEX 56618 

Date of 
Document description 
FOI Act 
reference  document 

19 May  FTE – National Information Access Processing Team 

Full Access 
and Information Access Unit 

LEX 56618 
Schedule 2 
Schedule of relevant provisions in the FOI Act  
The objects of this Act are to give the Australian community access to information held by 
the Government of the Commonwealth or the Government of Norfolk Island, by: 
requiring agencies to publish the information; and 
providing for a right of access to documents. 
The Parliament intends, by these objects, to promote Australia’s representative democracy 
by contributing towards the following: 
increasing public participation in Government processes, with a view to promoting 
better informed decision-making; 
increasing scrutiny, discussion, comment and review of the Government’s 
The Parliament also intends, by these objects, to increase recognition that information held 
by the Government is to be managed for public purposes, and is a national resource. 
The Parliament also intends that functions and powers given by this Act are to be 
performed and exercised, as far as possible, to facilitate and promote public access to 
information, promptly and at the lowest reasonable cost. 
Right of access 
Subject to this Act, every person has a legally enforceable right to obtain access in 
accordance with this Act to: 
a document of an agency, other than an exempt document; or 
an official document of a Minister, other than an exempt document. 
Subject to this Act, a person’s right of access is not affected by: 
any reasons the person gives for seeking access; or 
the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what are his or her reasons for seeking 
11A    Access to documents on request 
This section applies if: 
a request is made by a person, in accordance with subsection 15(2), to an agency or 
Minister for access to: 
a document of the agency; or 
an official document of the Minister; and 
any charge that, under the regulations, is required to be paid before access is given 
has been paid. 
This section applies subject to this Act. 
Other provisions of this Act are relevant to decisions about access to documents, for example the following: 
section 12 (documents otherwise available); 
section 13 (documents in national institutions); 
section 15A (personnel records); 
section 22 (access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted). 

Mandatory access—general rule 
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document in accordance with 
this Act, subject to this section. 
Exemptions and conditional exemptions 
The agency or Minister is not required by this Act to give the person access to the 
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is an exempt document. 
Access may be given to an exempt document apart from under this Act, whether or not in response to a request 
(see section 3A (objects—information or documents otherwise accessible)). 
The agency or Minister must give the person access to the document if it is conditionally 
exempt at a particular time unless (in the circumstances) access to the document at that 
time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest. 
Note 1:  Division 3 of Part IV provides for when a document is conditionally exempt. 
Note 2:  A conditionally exempt document is an exempt document if access to the document would, on balance, be 
contrary to the public interest (see section 31B (exempt documents for the purposes of Part IV)). 
Note 3:  Section 11B deals with when it is contrary to the public interest to give a person access to the document. 
Despite subsection (5), the agency or Minister is not required to give access to the 
document at a particular time if, at that time, the document is both: 
a conditionally exempt document; and 
an exempt document: 
under Division 2 of Part IV (exemptions); or 
within the meaning of paragraph (b) or (c) of the definition of exempt 
document in subsection 4(1). 
Requests for access (as related to the requirements for requests) 
Persons may request access  
Subject to section 15A, a person who wishes to obtain access to a document of an agency 
or an official document of a Minister may request access to the document.  
Requirements for request  
The request must:  
be in writing; and  
state that the request is an application for the purposes of this Act; and  
provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to 
enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister, to identify it; and  
give details of how notices under this Act may be sent to the applicant (for 
example, by providing an electronic address to which notices may be sent by 
electronic communication).  
(2A)    The request must be sent to the agency or Minister. The request may be sent in any of the 
following ways:  
delivery to an officer of the agency, or a member of the staff of the Minister, at the 
address of any central or regional office of the agency or Minister specified in a 
current telephone directory;  
postage by pre-paid post to an address mentioned in paragraph (a);  
sending by electronic communication to an electronic address specified by the 
agency or Minister. 
Requests involving use of computers etc 
a request (including a request in relation to which a practical refusal reason exists) 
is made in accordance with the requirements of subsection 15(2) to an agency;  

It appears from the request that the desire of the applicant is for information that 
is not available in discrete form in written documents of the agency; and  
it does not appear from the request that the applicant wishes to be provided with 
a computer tape or computer disk on which the information is recorded; and  
the agency could produce a written document containing the information in 
discrete form by:  
the use of a computer or other equipment that is ordinarily available to the 
agency for retrieving or collating stored information; or  
the making of a transcript from a sound recording held in the agency;  
the agency shall deal with the request as if it were a request for access to a written 
document so produced and containing that information and, for that purpose, this Act 
applies as if the agency had such a document in its possession.  
An agency is not required to comply with subsection (1) if compliance would substantially and 
unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations.  
Decisions to be made by authorised persons 
Subject to subsection (2), a decision in respect of a request made to an agency may be 
made, on behalf of the agency, by the responsible Minister or the principal officer of the 
agency or, subject to the regulations, by an officer of the agency acting within the scope of 
authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the 
responsible Minister or the principal officer of the agency. 
A decision in respect of a request made to a court, or made to a tribunal, authority or body 
that is specified in Schedule 1, may be made on behalf of that court, tribunal, authority or 
body by the principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body or, subject to the 
regulations, by an officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body acting within the scope 
of authority exercisable by him or her in accordance with arrangements approved by the 
principal officer of that court, tribunal, authority or body.