2016-17 Most Expensive Trip

Jackson Gothe-Snape made this Freedom of Information request to Department of Communications and the Arts

The request was refused by Department of Communications and the Arts.

From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Dear Department of Communications and the Arts,

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 Communications and the Arts


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

 

I refer to your email dated 8 August 2017 seeking access under the Freedom
of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to:

 

“…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.”

 

Please note that from April 2017 the Independent Parliamentary Expenses
Authority (IPEA) assumed responsibility for the processing of
Parliamentary travel expenses and travel allowances.  Accordingly, this
Department does not hold documents relating to travel undertaken by
Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications and the Arts
during the period 2016-17.

 

I also note that, in any event, you have not provided such information as
is reasonably necessary to enable a responsible officer to identify the
documents identified as those “for the most expensive trip” and
accordingly, your request does not satisfy the requirements of section
15(2)(b) of the FOI Act. For a request to be valid under section 15(2) of
the FOI Act, it must:

 

(a)    be in writing, and state it is an application for the purposes of
the FOI Act;

(b)   provide such information concerning the document as is reasonably
necessary to enable the agency to identify it; and

(c)    give details of how notices and documents may be sent to the
applicant.

 

Should you wish to proceed with a request for the documents, you will need
to ensure that it satisfies the requirements of section 15(2) and direct
it to the FOI Coordinator at the IPEA via email: [1][email address].

 

It may also assist you to note that reports about Parliamentarians’
expenditure, including a Summary of Parliamentary Expenditure for the
Minister for Communications and Arts during the period 1 July and 31
December 2016 are published on the Department of Finance website at:

[2]http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/p...

 

Yours sincerely

 

[3]cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7

 

FOI Coordinator  / Information Law Section  /  Office of the General
Counsel

Department of Communications and the Arts

P +61 2 6271 1277

E [Department of Communications and the Arts request email]

 

GPO Box 2154 Canberra ACT 2601

  

[4]communications.gov.au

[5]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [6]@CommsAu

 

[7]arts.gov.au

[8]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [9]@artsculturegov

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed.  Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in the handling of the
advice, you avoid waiving privilege.  Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

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From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Hello,

I am interested in trips taken by a Minister that also included Departmental staff. Can you please process the request on that basis, based only on Departmental records.

If that is still too broad, to help me narrow the scope of my request, are you able to advise whether and how you record the total cost of each trip?

Yours sincerely,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Communications and the Arts


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UNCLASSIFIED

Dear Mr Gothe-Snape,

 

I refer to your email below advising that you are “interested in trips
taken by a Minister that also included Departmental staff.”  It is not
clear what you mean by this and therefore, usually, in these kinds of
circumstances, we would have contacted you by telephone to discuss the
terms of your request, however as you have not provided the Department
with any telephone details, we have not been able to do this.

 

As advised in our email to you dated 16 August, the Independent
Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA), is the entity responsible for
processing Parliamentary travel expenses and allowances and therefore, as
the Department does not hold this information, requests for documents
about “trips taken by a Minister” should be directed to the IPEA.

 

As we also advised in our email to you dated 16 August, section 15(2)(b)
requires that for an FOI request to be valid, it should provide “such
information concerning the document as is reasonably necessary to enable
the agency to identify it”.  This means, that in order to process an FOI
request, a responsible officer should be able to look at the wording of
your request, and then look at a document, and be able to readily
determine whether that document falls within the scope (and is therefore
subject to your request).

 

Your email describes the documents you are seeking access to as “trips
taken by a Minister that also included Departmental staff.” This poses a
number of processing difficulties as (subject to confirmation) identifying
the documents within scope would require the responsible officer to
identify all documents containing information about employee travel to
determine whether the travel that the document relates to involved also
involved a “trip taken by a Minister”.  Departmental employees travel
throughout Australia and overseas and involves the management of matters
falling within the responsibilities of all areas of the Department,
including the Department’s State offices.  The request is therefore likely
to capture a large volume and range of documents that would each need to
be individually reviewed and tagged to determine whether the document is
within scope.  It would also require the analysis of information within
the documents, potentially by cross-reference to information contained in
documents held by the IPEA and/or the relevant Minister’s office (noting,
as we have also previously advised, that under the FOI Act Minsters and
agencies are treated as separate agencies).

 

Your request is therefore not possible to process merely by application of
the terms of the request to identity documents within scope; it would
require the creation of new documents and potentially the analysis of
documents and/or information not held by the Department. For these
reasons, the request does not meet the FOI Act requirement that it provide
sufficient information to allow identification of documents that are
within scope, and therefore it does not meet the criteria under section
15(2)(b) of the Act.

 

You have also asked for advice about “whether and how you record the total
cost of each trip?” however, this aspect of your request is also unclear
and therefore it is difficult, without further information about what it
is that you are seeking access to, to assist you to amend the scope of you
request so that it complies with section 15(2).

 

Should you wish to proceed with a request under the FOI Act, we suggest
that you review the publicly available information on the Department of
Finance website (referred to in our email dated 16 August) and consider,
for example, providing additional details about the Minister, dates of
travel, employees and kinds of documents/ information that you are
interested in.

 

As we may need to contact you to provide further assistance, or to
otherwise discuss your request, we also suggest that you provide us with
your telephone number.

 

Yours sincerely

 

[1]cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7

 

FOI Coordinator  / Information Law Section  /  Office of the General
Counsel

Department of Communications and the Arts

P +61 2 6271 1277

E [Department of Communications and the Arts request email]

 

GPO Box 2154 Canberra ACT 2601

  

[2]communications.gov.au

[3]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [4]@CommsAu

 

[5]arts.gov.au

[6]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [7]@artsculturegov

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed.  Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in the handling of the
advice, you avoid waiving privilege.  Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

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Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[12][FOI #3777 email]

 

This request has been made by an individual using Right to Know. This
message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet.
More information on how Right to Know works can be found at:

[13]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
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References

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2. https://www.communications.gov.au/
4. https://twitter.com/CommsAu?lang=en
5. http://arts.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/artsculturegov?lang=en
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9. file:///tmp/cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7
10. file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
11. file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
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From: Jackson Gothe-Snape

Delivered

Hello,

I am available on 02 6271 0087.

In any case, please amend my request to:

Please provide an itemised summary of all trips booked with your travel provider for 2016-17 in a spreadsheet format.

Yours sincerely,

Jackson Gothe-Snape

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From: FOI
Department of Communications and the Arts


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UNCLASSIFIED

FOI 19-1718

 

Dear Mr Smith

 

I refer to your email dated 22 August 2017 outlining a request for access
under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to:  

 

“…an itemised summary of all trips booked with your travel provider for
2016-17 in a spreadsheet format …”

 

Timeframe for receiving your decision:

Please note that we will process your request in accordance with the
Department’s [1]FOI Policy and that the 30 day statutory period for
processing the request commenced on 23 August.  You should therefore
expect a decision from us by 21 September 2017.  The period of 30 days may
be extended in certain circumstances.  We will advise you if there is any
extension of time.

 

Scope of request:

If it emerges that the scope of the request is unclear or is too large for
processing, the Department will contact you to discuss re-scoping the
request.

 

Charges:

Please note that it is the Department’s policy to issue charges for
processing FOI requests and that we will advise you of the estimated
charges when we are in a position to estimate the resources required to
process the request. 

 

Timing of release:

As the subject matter of the request will require the Department to upload
any documents released to you to the Department’s FOI Disclosure Log, I
take this opportunity to advise you that the Department’s policy is to
upload documents to the disclosure log on the same day as or as soon as
practicable after the documents are released.  More information on the
Department’s disclosure log is available in the FOI Policy.

 

Personal Information:

Your personal information has been collected by the Department as a result
of your correspondence, and will be used in order to process the FOI
request. Personal information is protected by law, including the Privacy
Act 1988. The Department’s [2]Privacy Policy is available on the website
and contains information about access to or correction of your personal
information, and how you may complain about a breach of your privacy.

 

Please note that if we need to consult with other people regarding release
of the requested documents, we may need to disclose your personal
information. When we consult with other people about the request, it may
be apparent to those people that you have made a request, even if we do
not disclose your identity. If you have concerns about the Department
consulting with other people about the request, please let us know about
these concerns.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[3]cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7

 

FOI Coordinator  / Information Law Section  /  Office of the General
Counsel

Department of Communications and the Arts

P +61 2 6271 1277

E [4][Department of Communications and the Arts request email]

 

GPO Box 2154 Canberra ACT 2601

  

[5]communications.gov.au

[6]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [7]@CommsAu

 

[8]arts.gov.au

[9]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [10]@artsculturegov

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed.  Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in the handling of the
advice, you avoid waiving privilege.  Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

show quoted sections

 

 

 

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and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized 
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intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy 
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This message has been content scanned by the Axway MailGate.

 

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References

 

Visible links

2. [15]https://www.communications.gov.au/

4. [16]https://twitter.com/CommsAu?lang=en

5. [17]http://arts.gov.au/

7. [18]https://twitter.com/artsculturegov?lang=en

8.
[19]http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/p...

9. [20]file:///tmp/cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7

10. [21]file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A

11. [22]file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A

12. [23]mailto:[FOI #3777 email]

13. [24]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:

[25][FOI #3777 email]

 

This request has been made by an individual using Right to Know. This
message and any reply that you make will be published on the internet.
More information on how Right to Know works can be found at:

[26]https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

 

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

 

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NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended
recipient(s)
and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized
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5. https://www.communications.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/CommsAu?lang=en
8. http://arts.gov.au/
10. https://twitter.com/artsculturegov?lang=en
11. file:///tmp/cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7
12. file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
13. file:///tmp/cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
14. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...
15. https://www.communications.gov.au/
16. https://twitter.com/CommsAu?lang=en
17. http://arts.gov.au/
18. https://twitter.com/artsculturegov?lang=en
19. http://www.finance.gov.au/publications/p...
20. file:///\\tmp\cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7
21. file:///\\tmp\cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
22. file:///\\tmp\cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A
23. mailto:[foi
24. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...
25. mailto:[FOI #3777 email]
26. https://www.righttoknow.org.au/help/offi...

Link to this

From: FOI
Department of Communications and the Arts


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UNCLASSIFIED

Mr Gothe-Snape

 

Please see attached correspondence regarding your FOI Request (reference
19-1718).

 

[1]cid:C4234CC5-D32A-44FF-A754-F96227B373F7

 

FOI Coordinator  / Information Law Section  /  Office of the General
Counsel

Department of Communications and the Arts

E [Department of Communications and the Arts request email]

 

GPO Box 2154 Canberra ACT 2601

  

[2]communications.gov.au

[3]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [4]@CommsAu

 

[5]arts.gov.au

[6]cid:17F0759F-5B67-41BB-B991-66700A2CA00A [7]@artsculturegov

 

This email and any attachments may contain confidential information or
legal advice over which legal professional privilege can be claimed.  Such
privilege is not waived and you should ensure that, in the handling of the
advice, you avoid waiving privilege.  Please consult the author of the
advice if unsure about appropriate handling.

 

 

 

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References

Visible links
2. https://www.communications.gov.au/
4. https://twitter.com/CommsAu?lang=en
5. http://arts.gov.au/
7. https://twitter.com/artsculturegov?lang=en

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Department of Communications and the Arts only: