This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Cocos Keeling Island Surveillance System'.

 
Freedom of Information 
CP1-6-001 
PO Box 7910 
CANBERRA BC   ACT   2610 
Tel: 02 626 62200 
 
Fax: 02 626 62112 
 
[email address] 
 
Our reference:   FOI 003/15/16 
 
 
CD 
 
By email:  [FOI #1129 email] 
 
Dear CD 
NOTICE OF DECISION ON FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST 
I refer to your request of 7 July 2015 in which you requested access, under the Freedom of 
Information Act 1982
 (FOI Act), to: 
"1.  Cocos Island Surveillance System -Concepts and Capability - 2013/2014, Strategic 
Management - Research", and 
2.  Cocos Island Surveillance System -Trials and Reports - 2013/2014, Strategic 
Management - Research - Projects". 
Revised scope 
By email of 13 July 2015, you agreed to the following revised scope: 
“access under the Freedom of information Act 1982 (FOI Act), to documents from 
Defence Science and Technology Organisation to the Department of Border Force 
Control (formerly Department of Immigration and Border Protection) in relation to the 
Cocos Island Surveillance System Trials, created during the period 1 June 2013 to 31 
December 2014."  

Background 
On 15 July 2015, our office advised you of the preliminary assessment of charges associated 
with your request.  The statutory processing time for the request was suspended on this date.  
You provided the receipt for your payment of the required deposit on 12 August 2015.  As 
such, the statutory deadline for processing your request was 7 September 2015. 
On 28 August 2015, our office informed you that the decision maker had determined that 
there was a requirement to consult with third parties under section 27 [Consultation – 
documents affecting business] of the FOI Act, before finalising the decision.  As such, in 
accordance with section 15(6) [extension of processing period to comply with requirement of 
section 27] of the FOI Act, the statutory timeframe was amended to 7 October 2015. 
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with the decision relating to the document that is 
the subject of your request. 
Defending Australia and its National Interests 

 
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FOI decision maker 
Dr R Sandeman, Director Ministerial Liaison, Defence Science and Technology Group, is the 
authorised officer pursuant to section 23 of the FOI Act to make a decision on this FOI 
request. 
Documents identified 
Dr Sandeman identified 52 documents that match the description of your request. The 
decision in relation to each document detailed in a schedule of documents, which will be 
provided when the documents are released (refer to below for further information).  
When documents are released, you will note the decision maker has added an FOI Item 
number to each of the documents, which corresponds with the schedule. 
Decision 
Dr Sandeman decided to release the identified documents with deletions made in accordance 
with section 22 [access to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted] of the FOI 
Act, on the grounds that the deleted material is considered either irrelevant, or exempt under 
section 33 [documents affecting national security, defence or international relations], and/or 
section 47F [documents containing personal information] and/or section 47G [Public interest 
conditional exemptions – business] of the FOI Act. 
Material taken into account 
In making her decision, Dr Sandeman had regard to: 
a. 
the content of the documents in issue; 
b. 
relevant provisions in the FOI Act; 
c. 
the Guidelines published by the Office of the Australian Information 
Commissioner
 under section 93A of the FOI Act (the Guidelines);  
d. 
responses to internal Defence consultation; and 
e. 
responses to third party consultation. 
Reasons 
Section 22 - Irrelevant 
Dr Sandeman found that certain documents contained material regarding matters which did 
not relate to the scope of your request. 
Therefore, Dr Sandeman considered that the material, if released, would disclose information 
that would be reasonably regarded as irrelevant to the scope of the request.  Consequently, in 
accordance with subparagraph 22(1)(a)(ii) of the FOI Act, she decided to remove the material. 
Section 33 - Security and Defence 
Section 33 [Documents affecting national security, defence or international relations] of the 
FOI Act states: 
33 Documents affecting national security, defence or international relations 
A document is an exempt document if disclosure of the document under this Act: 
(a) would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to: 

 
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(i) the security of the Commonwealth; 
(ii) the defence of the
 Commonwealth; 
Section 33 of the FOI Act exempts material from release if its disclosure would, or could 
reasonably be expected to cause damage to the security or defence of the Commonwealth. In 
regards to the terms, ‘could reasonably be expected to’ and ‘damage’, the Guidelines specify: 
5.13 The test requires the decision maker to assess the likelihood of the predicted or 
forecast event, effect or damage occurring after disclosure of a document. 

5.14 The use of the word ‘could’ in this qualification is less stringent than 'would', and 
requires analysis of the reasonable expectation rather than certainty of an event, 
effect or damage occurring. It may be a reasonable expectation that an effect has 
occurred, is presently occurring, or could occur in the future.  

5.25 ‘Damage’ for the purposes of this exemption is not confined to 
loss or damage in monetary terms. The relevant damage may be intangible, 
such as inhibiting future negotiations between the Australian Government and 
a foreign government, or the future flow of confidential information from a 
foreign government or agency. In determining whether damage was likely to 
result from disclosure of the document(s) in question, a decision maker could 
have regard to the relationships between individuals representing respective 
governments.[11] A dispute between individuals may have sufficient 
ramifications to affect relations between governments. It is not a necessary 
consequence in all cases but a matter of degree to be determined on the facts 
of each particular case.  

In relation to the ‘security of the Commonwealth’, the Guidelines provide: 
5.26 The term ‘security of the Commonwealth’ broadly refers to: 
a. the protection of Australia and its population from activities that are hostile 
to, or subversive of, the Commonwealth’s interests; 
b. the security of any communications system or cryptographic system of any 
country used for defence or the conduct of the Commonwealth’s international 
relations (see definition in s 4(5)). 
5.27 A decision maker must be satisfied that damage to the security of the 
Commonwealth would be caused by disclosure of the information under 
consideration….
 
The Guidelines provide that “The Act does not define ‘defence of the Commonwealth’. 
Previous AAT decisions indicate that the term includes: 

 
Meeting Australia’s international obligations 
 
Ensuring proper conduct of international defence relations 
 
Deterring and preventing foreign incursions into Australian territory 
 
Protecting the Defence Force from hindrance or activities which would 
prejudice its effectiveness.” 
Upon examination of the documents, Dr Sandeman found they contained information 
regarding Commonwealth assets and capability that, if released, could allow those hostile to 
the Commonwealth’s interests to take appropriate counter measures and/or hinder 
Commonwealth operations.  Hindrance of these activities could prejudice Commonwealth 
agencies in their effectiveness to undertake required operations and to be ready for future 

 
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tasks as part of the Government’s overall national security strategy. Hence, Dr Sandeman 
found that disclosure of this information would cause, or could reasonably be expected to 
cause damage to the security and the defence of the Commonwealth.  For this reason, 
Dr Sandeman found the material to be exempt under subsections 33(a)(i) and 33(a)(ii) of the 
FOI Act. 
Section 47F - Personal privacy 
Upon examination of the documents, Dr Sandeman identified information, specifically names 
and signatures, belonging to individuals other than you that satisfy the definition of personal 
information in section 4 of the FOI Act. 
In addition, in consultation with the Department of Border Force Control (previously the 
Department of Immigration and Border Control), the Department specifically requested that 
names and details of the Department’s staff members below SES level also be considered 
exempt under section 47F of the FOI Act, as this information is not well known, is not 
publicly accessible and release of these names and personal details would result in an 
unreasonable disclosure of staff members’ personal information. 
In accordance with section 47F(2) of the FOI Act, in determining whether the disclosure of 
the identified personal information would be unreasonable, Dr Sandeman had regard to: 
(a) 
the extent to which the information is well known;  
(b) 
whether the person to whom the information relates is known to be, or to have 
been, associated with the matters dealt with in the documents; and  
(c) 
the availability of the information from publicly accessible sources.  
Against those criteria, Dr Sandeman found that: 
(a) 
the specific personal information is not well known to the general community;  
(b) 
the person to whom the information relates is not known to be, or to have been, 
associated with the matters dealt with in the documents; and  
(c) 
the specific information is not readily available from publicly accessible 
sources. 
Noting the findings against the above criteria, Dr Sandeman decided that the disclosure of this 
information would constitute an unreasonable disclosure of personal information belonging to 
a person other than you.  Accordingly, Dr Sandeman considered this material to be 
conditionally exempt under section 47F of the FOI Act.  
Subsection 11A(5) of the FOI Act requires Defence to allow access to a conditionally exempt 
document unless, in the circumstances, access to the document would, on balance, be contrary 
to the public interest.  
Section 47G - Business 
Dr Sandeman also found that some documents contained information concerning the business 
affairs of third parties.  Dr Sandeman considered that the disclosure of this information may 
unreasonably adversely affect the third party in respect of its business, commercial and/or 
financial affairs by allowing a competitor or another person access to confidential information 
to the third parties business. Further, Dr Sandeman considered that whilst the contractor may 
be prepared to provide this information to the Commonwealth, it may not wish this 
information to be made publically available.  As such, the inappropriate release of business 

 
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affairs by the Commonwealth could have an adverse effect on the future ability of 
negotiations between both parties, and therefore, prejudice supply to the department.  
Therefore, Dr Sandeman considered the information, if released, would adversely affect the 
contractor in respect of their lawful business and commercial affairs, and is therefore 
considered conditionally exempt under section 47G of the FOI Act. 
Public interest considerations – Section 47F and 47G 
In assessing whether the disclosure of the information considered exempt under section 47F is 
contrary to the public interest, Dr Sandeman considered the factors that favour access to a 
document set out in section 11B(3) of the FOI Act [Public interest exemptions – factors]. 
Subsection 11B(3) states “factors favouring access to the document in the public interest 
include whether access to the document would do any of the following: 

(a) 
promote the objects of this Act 
(b) 
inform debate on a matter of public importance 
(c) 
promote the effective oversight of public expenditure; and  
(d) 
allow a person to access his or her own personal information.” 
Dr Sandeman noted that disclosure may promote some of the objects of the FOI Act, as 
information held by the Government is a national resource.  However, she considered 
disclosure of this information would not increase public participation in the Defence process, 
nor would it increase scrutiny or discussion of Defence activities. 
Based on the above, under section 47F, Dr Sandeman considered that, on balance, the public 
interest factors against disclosure outweigh the factors for disclosure of the identified personal 
information.  Therefore, she decided that it would be contrary to the public interest to release 
information considered exempt under section 47F of the FOI Act. 
Dr Sandeman considered the position of the third party under s47G, and formed the view that 
disclosure of their business information would directly impact on the profitably of the 
contractor, and further, it would also affect their ability to maintain competitive advantage 
over their competitors.  Dr Sandeman also considered that the public interest that Defence 
does not disclose sensitive proprietary information of other companies or organisations, as 
this may not only adversely affect their lawful business and commercial affairs, but also affect 
their dealings and prejudice supply to the department. 
Accordingly, Dr Sandeman considered that, on balance, the public interest factors against 
disclosure, outweighed the factors for disclosure of the material.  Therefore, Dr Sandeman 
decided that it would be contrary to the public interest to release information considered to be 
exempt, under section 47G of the FOI Act. 
In coming to the above decision, Dr Sandeman also considered subsection 11B(4) [Public 
interest exemptions – irrelevant factors] of the FOI Act, which lists factors which must be 
taken into account in deciding whether access would, on balance, be contrary to the public 
interest.  Dr Sandeman advised that none of the factors she took into account were listed 
under subsection 11B(4) of the FOI Act. 

 
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Payment of Charges 
In order to finalise your request, you are required to pay the remaining $121.65. Please find 
attached at Enclosure 1, a Payment Authorisation Form for the balance, for you to complete 
and return. 
FOI Disclosure Log  
In accordance with the requirements of section 11C of the FOI Act, Defence is required to 
publish details of information released under the FOI Act. Defence publishes identified 
documents relating to requests within five working days of receipt by the applicant.  Defence 
will also publish this decision notice with privacy deletions.  
Your Review Rights 
Internal Review 
Under the provisions of section 54 of the FOI Act, you are entitled to request a review of this 
decision. You must request a review, in writing, within 30 days of the date of this letter, or the 
date you receive the documents.  Requests can be sent to: 
Email:  [email address]  
Fax:   02 626 62112 
Post:  Freedom of Information Directorate - Reviews 
Department of Defence 
CP1-6-029 
PO Box 7910 
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610 
Australian Information Commissioner 
Under the provisions of section 54 of the FOI Act, you are also entitled to request an external 
review of this decision by the Australian Information Commissioner. You have 60 days to 
lodge such a request, using one of the contact methods below:  
Email:  [email address]  
Phone: 1300 363 992 
Fax:   02 9284 9666 
Post:  GPO Box 2999 
Canberra ACT 2601 
Complaints  
You may complain to Defence, the Information Commissioner or the Commonwealth 
Ombudsman about an action taken by Defence in the exercise of its power or the performance 
of its functions under the FOI Act.  There is no fee for making a complaint. Should you wish 
to complain to the Department of Defence, your complaint can be addressed to 
Mr Tony Corcoran using the contact details below: 
Email:  [email address] 
Post:   Tony Corcoran 
Assistant Secretary Information Management and Access Branch 
CP1-6-14 
PO Box 7911 
CANBERRA BC ACT 2610 


 
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Contact details for the Commonwealth Ombudsman are below: 
Phone: 1300 362 072) 
Fax:   02 6276 0123 
Post:  Commonwealth Ombudsman 
GPO Box 442 
CANBERRA ACT 2601 
Contact details for the Information Commissioner are above. 
Should you have any questions in regard to this matter please contact this office. 
Yours sincerely 
 
John Peterson 
Case Officer 
Freedom of Information 
 
6 October 2015 
 
Enclosures: 
1. 
Freedom of Information Payment Authorisation Form

 
Freedom of Information 
CP1-6-001 
PO Box 7910 
CANBERRA BC   ACT   2610 
Tel: 02 626 62200 
 
Fax: 02 626 62112 
 
[email address] 
 
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST – BALANCE OF CHARGES 
AUTHORISATION 
 
 
FULL NAME or 
ORGANISATION 
 
 
Service or PMKEYS ID (if 
applicable) 
POSTAL ADDRESS: 
 
CONTACT PHONE 
H M  B 
NUMBERS: 
EMAIL: 
 
FOI REFERENCE : 
 
AMOUNT $  
$121.65 
 
By signing this form you are agreeing to pay the charges notified to you by the Freedom of 
Information Directorate.  
 
PLEASE DO NOT SEND CHEQUES OR MONEY ORDERS TO FOI  
 
Once our office receives this form, the Department of Defence will generate an invoice in 
order for you to make payment of the agreed charges via one of the payment options 
made available. 
 
Our office will not send documents until a receipt has been received in our office 
notifying that the balance of charges amount has been paid. 
 
Please sign below and return this form by one of the following: 
 
Email: [email address]  
Fax:02 6266 2112 
Post: CP1-6-001, PO Box 7910, CANBERRA BC  ACT  2610 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Signature: ____________________________________________________ 
Defending Australia and its National Interests