This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Minutes of all meetings of the Woomera Prohibited Area Advisory Board'.

Reference: [R27824218] 

I refer to the application by Mr Dan Monceaux under the Freedom of Information Act 
1982 (FOI Act), for access to: 
“I am writing to request access to minutes of all meetings of the Woomera Prohibited 
Area Advisory Board under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 

excluding personal email addresses, signatures, PMKeys numbers and mobile 
telephone numbers, contained in documents that fall within the scope of the FOI 
request. In addition, excluding duplicates of documents”. 

FOI decision maker 
I am the accredited officer pursuant to section 23 of the FOI Act to make a decision on 
this FOI request. 
Documents identified 
I identified nine documents as matching the description of the request.  
I have added an Item to each of the documents. 
I have decided to: 
a. release five documents in full; 
b. partially release four documents in accordance with section 22(1)(a)(ii) [access 
to edited copies with exempt or irrelevant matter deleted] of the FOI Act, on 
the grounds that the deleted material is considered exempt under section 47G 
[public interest conditional exemptions-business] and section 33(a)(iii) 
[Documents affecting international relations] of the FOI Act;  
Material taken into account 
In making my decision, I had regard to: 
a. the terms of the request; 
b. the content of the identified documents in issue; 
c. relevant provisions in the FOI Act;  
Defending Australia and its National Interests

d. the Guidelines published by the Office of the Australian Information 
Commissioner under section 93A of the FOI Act (the Guidelines); and 
e. advice received from third parties 
Reasons for decision
Section 33(a)(iii) – International relations
Section 33(a)(iii) of the FOI Act exempts a document if disclosure of the document 
would, or could reasonably be expected to, cause damage to the international relations of the 
Commonwealth.  Paragraph 5.30 of the Guidelines describes international relations as 
meaning the ability of the Australian Government to maintain good working relations with 
other governments and international organisations and to protect the flow of confidential 
information between them, including relations between government agencies. 
The documents within the scope of this request contain information, which if released, 
could reasonably be expected to damage the international relations of the Commonwealth.  
This information details visits of other countries similar facilities and the cooperation between 
these countries. If this information were to be publicly released by Defence without specific 
authorisation from the other nations, it would likely cause damage to the international 
relations of the Commonwealth insofar as it could limit the Commonwealth’s ability to deal 
with these countries in relation to similar matters in the future. The disclosure of such 
information may diminish the confidence which another country has in Australia as a reliable 
recipient of its confidential information, making that country less willing to cooperate with 
Australian agencies in the future. 
Accordingly, I consider the release of the information so marked, would or could 
reasonably be expected to, cause damage to the international relations of the Commonwealth. 
I therefore consider this information exempt under section 33(a)(iii) of the FOI Act. 
Section 47G – Business Affairs 
Upon examination of the documents, I identified information, specifically information 
from a number of businesses. 
Section 47G of the FOI Act states;
A document is conditionally exempt if its disclosure under this Act would disclose 
information concerning a person in respect of his or her business or professional affairs or 
concerning the business, commercial or financial affairs of an organisation or undertaking, 
in a case in which the disclosure of the information: 

(a) would, or could reasonably be expected to, unreasonably affect that person 
adversely in respect of his or her lawful business or professional affairs or that 
organisation or undertaking in respect of its lawful business, commercial or financial 

I note that the use of the word ‘could’ in this provision requires no more than a degree of 
reasonableness being applied in deciding whether disclosure would cause the consequences 

I am satisfied that the expected effect of disclosing material identified as exempt under 
section 47G could have an adverse effect on the businesses as disclosure of the information 
relating to  local Indigenous communities and corporations would impact upon the heritage and 
cultural sensitivities associated with these organisations.
In light of the above, I have decided that the specified material identified is in fact 
conditionally exempt pursuant to section 47G of the FOI Act. Section 11A (5) provides that, if a 
document is conditionally exempt, it must be disclosed ‘unless (in the circumstances) access to 
the document at that time would, on balance, be contrary to the public interest’.
Section 47G - Public interest considerations
I considered the factors favouring disclosure set out in section 11B(3) of the FOI Act. The 
relevant factors being that disclosure may promote some of the objects of the FOI Act, as 
information held by the Government is a national resource and release of this information may 
increase scrutiny or discussion of Defence activities (section 3(2)(b) of the FOI Act). It would also 
promote effective oversight of public expenditure.
Paragraph 6.29 of the Guidelines specifies a non-exhaustive list of public interest factors 
against disclosure. The factors I found particularly relevant to this request are that release of this 
information could reasonably be expected to prejudice the agency’s ability to obtain similar 
information in the future and harm the interests of a group of individuals, in this case the 
Indigenous communities and corporations that provided quotations.
As outlined in paragraph 11 above, releasing business information is likely to harm their 
commercial interests, which in turn is likely to make businesses more reluctant to provide the 
information to Defence for future Board Meetings. 
I do not believe that the removal of the business information significantly detracts from the 
value of the document being sought by the applicant.
Accordingly, I consider that, on balance, the public interest factors against disclosure 
outweigh the factors for disclosure of the exempt material contained in the documents. Therefore, 
I have decided that it would be contrary to the public interest to release the information considered 
under section 47G of the FOI Act.
Digitally signed by jan.andrews 
jan.andrews DN: c=AU, o=GOV, ou=DoD, ou=PKI, 
ou=Personnel, cn=jan.andrews 
Date: 2016.11.10 14:09:54 +11'00'
Jan Andrews
Accredited Decision Maker 
Associate Secretary Group 
10 November 2016