2016/17 Additional Estimates Topics

Jackson Gothe-Snape made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The request was refused by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Dear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,

If possible, please treat this as an administrative or informal request.

Otherwise, please consider this a request under the FOI Act.

Can you please provide the topics list for briefs created in preparation for hearings of Senate 2016-17 Additional Estimates.

I ask that all fees in relation to this request be waived because the release of the documents is in the public interest. The documents help identify the most important policy areas within the department's responsibilities.

Yours faithfully,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

UNCLASSIFIED

Our ref: 1703-F1667

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape

Thank you for your below e-mail, seeking access under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act) to:

Can you please provide the topics list for briefs created in preparation for hearings of Senate 2016-17 Additional Estimates.

Practical refusal reason

Notice is hereby given under section 24AB(2) of the FOI Act of an intention to refuse to grant access to the documents sought. The practical refusal reason is that the work involved in processing the request would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of DFAT from its other operations.

In deciding that this practical refusal reason exists, I have given consideration to how DFAT could proceed to process your request, and the time and resources that would be involved in doing so. DFAT does not have a centralised repository for such briefing, which is compiled and held by each line area. Therefore, in order to process your request, we would need to seek input from every Branch within the Department. I am of the view that doing so would constitute a substantial and unreasonable diversion of DFAT’s resources within the meaning of section 24AA(1).

Consultation process

In accordance with section 24AB(2)(e), the consultation period during which you may consult with me to revise the scope of your request is 14 days after the day you are given this notice. Please note that if you do not take this opportunity to consult, in accordance with section 24AB(7)(a), your request will be taken to have been withdrawn under section 24AB(6).

I am the DFAT officer with whom you may consult if you wish to revise the request to a narrower scope such that it could in fact be processed. I may be contacted by email at: [DFAT request email] and I am happy to take any reasonable steps provide you, so far as is reasonably practicable, with any information that I can to assist you in amending your request under the FOI Act.

I note that the Hansard of DFAT’s appearance before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee is publicly available at: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/down...
This might assist you in narrowing your request to a particular topic of interest.

Please note that during this period of consultation, the statutory timeframe under section 15(5) of the FOI Act for the processing of your request is on hold (see section 24AB(8) for details).

I have attached a copy of sections 24, 24AA and 24AB of the FOI Act for your information.
Yours sincerely

Helen Horsington
Director
Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section

Attachment A
24 Power to refuse request—diversion of resources etc.
(1) If an agency or Minister is satisfied, when dealing with a request for a document, that a practical refusal reason exists in relation to the request (see section 24AA), the agency or Minister:
(a) must undertake a request consultation process (see section 24AB); and
(b) if, after the request consultation process, the agency or Minister is satisfied that the practical refusal reason still exists—the agency or Minister may refuse to give access to the document in accordance with the request.
(2) For the purposes of this section, the agency or Minister may treat 2 or more requests as a single request if the agency or Minister is satisfied that:
(a) the requests relate to the same document or documents; or
(b) the requests relate to documents, the subject matter of which is substantially the same.
24AA When does a practical refusal reason exist?
(1) For the purposes of section 24, a practical refusal reason exists in relation to a request for a document if either (or both) of the following applies:
(a) the work involved in processing the request:
(i) in the case of an agency—would substantially and unreasonably divert the resources of the agency from its other operations; or
(ii) in the case of a Minister—would substantially and unreasonably interfere with the performance of the Minister’s functions;
(b) the request does not satisfy the requirement in paragraph 15(2)(b) (identification of documents).
(2) Subject to subsection (3), but without limiting the matters to which the agency or Minister may have regard, in deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, the agency or Minister must have regard to the resources that would have to be used for the following:
(a) identifying, locating or collating the documents within the filing system of the agency, or the office of the Minister;
(b) deciding whether to grant, refuse or defer access to a document to which the request relates, or to grant access to an edited copy of such a document, including resources that would have to be used for:
(i) examining the document; or
(ii) consulting with any person or body in relation to the request;
(c) making a copy, or an edited copy, of the document;
(d) notifying any interim or final decision on the request.
(3) In deciding whether a practical refusal reason exists, an agency or Minister must not have regard to:
(a) any reasons that the applicant gives for requesting access; or
(b) the agency’s or Minister’s belief as to what the applicant’s reasons are for requesting access; or
(c) any maximum amount, specified in the regulations, payable as a charge for processing a request of that kind.
24AB What is a request consultation process?
Scope
(1) This section sets out what is a request consultation process for the purposes of section 24.
Requirement to notify
(2) The agency or Minister must give the applicant a written notice stating the following:
(a) an intention to refuse access to a document in accordance with a request;
(b) the practical refusal reason;
(c) the name of an officer of the agency or member of staff of the Minister (the contact person) with whom the applicant may consult during a period;
(d) details of how the applicant may contact the contact person;
(e) that the period (the consultation period) during which the applicant may consult with the contact person is 14 days after the day the applicant is given the notice.
Assistance to revise request
(3) If the applicant contacts the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice, the agency or Minister must take reasonable steps to assist the applicant to revise the request so that the practical refusal reason no longer exists.
(4) For the purposes of subsection (3), reasonable steps includes the following:
(a) giving the applicant a reasonable opportunity to consult with the contact person;
(b) providing the applicant with any information that would assist the applicant to revise the request.
Extension of consultation period
(5) The contact person may, with the applicant’s agreement, extend the consultation period by written notice to the applicant.
Outcome of request consultation process
(6) The applicant must, before the end of the consultation period, do one of the following, by written notice to the agency or Minister:
(a) withdraw the request;
(b) make a revised request;
(c) indicate that the applicant does not wish to revise the request.
(7) The request is taken to have been withdrawn under subsection (6) at the end of the consultation period if:
(a) the applicant does not consult the contact person during the consultation period in accordance with the notice; or
(b) the applicant does not do one of the things mentioned in subsection (6) before the end of the consultation period.
Consultation period to be disregarded in calculating processing period
(8) The period starting on the day an applicant is given a notice under subsection (2) and ending on the day the applicant does one of the things mentioned in paragraph (6)(b) or (c) is to be disregarded in working out the 30 day period mentioned in paragraph 15(5)(b).
Note: Paragraph 15(5)(b) requires that an agency or Minister take all reasonable steps to notify an applicant of a decision on the applicant’s request within 30 days after the request is made.
No more than one request consultation process required
(9) To avoid doubt, this section only obliges the agency or Minister to undertake a request consultation process once for any particular request.

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From: FOI
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

UNCLASSIFIED

 

File No: 17/9182

Our Ref: 1703-F1667

 

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape

 

As you have not responded to the Department's e-mail of 29 March advising
you that processing your request would require an unreasonable diversion
of the Department's resources, and inviting you to narrow the scope of
your request, I am now writing to you pursuant to section 24(1)(b) of the
FOI Act to notify you that the department is refusing to process your
request on the grounds that processing it would require an unreasonable
diversion of the department’s resources.

 

This is a reviewable decision. Information about seeking a review is set
out below.

 

Notice of review rights

 

Internal review

 

Under the provisions of the section 54 of the FOI Act you may apply in
writing for an internal review of this decision.

 

Your application for review must be made within 30 days after you receive
this decision and set out the reasons for requesting an internal review.
There is no fee for requesting a review.

 

The request for review should be sent by email to [1][DFAT request email]
addressed to:

 

FOI & Privacy Law Section

Corporate Legal Branch

Legal Division, DFAT

Australian Information Commissioner

 

You can also request that the Australian Information Commissioner review
this decision in accordance with section 54L of the FOI !ct. This is
called an ‘Information Commissioner review’ (IC review).

 

You must apply for IC review in writing and in most cases within 60 days
of being notified of this decision. There is no fee for requesting a
review.

 

Further information on applying for IC review (including the online review
application form) is available on the website of the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and can be accessed using the
following link:
[2]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

You can also make a complaint to the Australian Information Commissioner
about the department’s performance of its functions or the exercise of
power under the FOI Act.

 

You can contact the OAIC by email to [3][email address] or call the
enquiries line on 1300 363 992.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Georgina McKay

A/g Director

Freedom of Information and Privacy Law Section Corporate Legal Branch,
Legal Division Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

 

 

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