2016-17 Most Expensive Trip

Jackson Gothe-Snape made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

The request was successful.

From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Dear Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development,

This is a request under the FOI Act.

Can you please provide the travel expenses, invoices, receipts, credit card statements and reimbursements for the most expensive trip taken by a Minister or Assistant Minister in your Department's portfolio area in 2016-17.

I request that any fees arising in relation to this request be waived as the information is in the public interest, as it helps inform the public about how the government is spending public revenue.

Yours faithfully,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

 

Thank you for your email. The Department does not hold documents belonging
to any of our Ministers, and is thus not able to provide access to any of
the requested documents. Each of our three Ministers is a separate body
for the purposes of the FOI Act (and each is separate from the
Department), so if you are seeking specific documents belonging to one of
our Ministers, then you’ll need to lodge a request specifically addressed
to that office. I’m able to forward any FOI requests intended for our
Ministers to the relevant office.

 

Section 15 of the FOI Act states that a valid FOI request is required to
"provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably
necessary to enable a responsible officer of the agency, or the Minister,
to identify it". Given that the Department has no access to the documents
you’ve requested and it’s not clear to which Minister you’re referring, I
do not consider that your request meets this criteria, and so is not a
valid FOI request. If you still wish for one of our Ministers’ Offices to
process your request, then you are welcome to resubmit your request taking
the above into account.

 

Regards,

 

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601

e [1][Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w [2]www.infrastructure.gov.au

 

 

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From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Hello,

I am interested in trips by a Minister that would have included travel from Department staff. Are you able to process the request on that basis?

Yours sincerely,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

As discussed previously, the Department is not the best source of information on Ministerial travel. Our Portfolio has three Ministers, each of their offices is responsible for managing their affairs, and each office is a separate agency for the purposes of FOI.

If you're interested in comparative data, then I would suggest that a request to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) may be able to provide you with the information you're seeking. If the IPEA isn't able to satisfy your request, then you can make FOI requests to the Ministers' offices, noting again that you would need to make a separate request to each of the three offices. Once you have this information, then I may be able to identify whether Departmental staff accompanied the Ministers, although this would depend on the data containing enough information to identify which area of the Portfolio the travel related to.

Regards,

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
e [email address] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Hello,

Thanks for the reply.

Please amend the request to:

Can you please provide the travel expenses, invoices, receipts, credit card statements and reimbursements for the most expensive trip taken by staff in the Department accompanying a Minister or Assistant Minister in your Department's portfolio area in 2016-17. Please determine the most expensive trip only by expenses ultimately paid for, directly or through reimbursement, by the Department.

Yours sincerely,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

As previously discussed, the way you've framed this request is still prohibitively problematic. The Department doesn't centrally record combined costs for "trips"; each element of the travel is recorded and disbursed separately, and through different ICT systems. While it should be possible to search for (for example) the single most expensive flight that was paid for in the last financial year, that search wouldn't automatically capture whether there were other related flights, or any accompanying expenses (such as hotels or meals). Our systems also wouldn't capture whether any expense is related to Ministerial travel. In order to provide the documents you've requested, I would need to ask each employee of the Department to provide "the most expensive trip" they took accompanying a Minister in the last financial year, and then compile all of this information before even beginning to search for documents. This is not practical.

As I suggested previously, if you're able to identify particular instances of Ministerial travel through IPEA, then it may then be possible for me to identify the relevant Departmental expenses that relate to that specific instance (if any).

Regards,

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601
e [Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w www.infrastructure.gov.au

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From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Hello,

Thanks for getting back to me.

Can you amend my request as follows:

I seek a summary report of all travel related account codes from your financial management information system, by total transactional value, by month, for 2016/17 under s17 of the FOI Act.

Yours sincerely,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

 

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of the following FOI request, made to
the Department of Infrastructure & Regional Development on 31 August 2017:

 

A summary report of all travel related account codes from your financial
management information system, by total transactional value, by month, for
2016/17.

 

I have begun processing your request, and will be in touch when I’ve
established the next steps. If you have any questions in the meantime,
please feel free to email.

 

Regards,

 

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601

e [1][Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w [2]www.infrastructure.gov.au

 

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From: FOI
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development


Attachment FOI 18 023 decision.pdf
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Attachment FOI 18 023 document.pdf
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Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

 

Decision on access – FOI 18-023 – Summary of travel expenses

 

I refer to your request for access to documents in the possession of the
Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) in
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).

 

Your request sought access to:
                                                                                                          

 

A summary report of all travel related account codes from your financial
management information system, by total transactional value, by month, for
2016/17.

 

A statement of reasons regarding access to the documents subject to your
request, as well as documents released to you in accordance with the FOI
Act, are attached.

 

Please contact me if you have any questions regarding the processing of
your request.

 

Regards,

 

Freedom of Information Officer | Governance Section

Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development

GPO Box 594, Canberra ACT 2601

e [1][Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development request email] | w [2]www.infrastructure.gov.au

 

 

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