If not delivered return to PO Box 7820 Canberra BC ACT 2610
19 January 2017
Our reference: LEX 24877
Mr William Shakespeare
Right to Know
By email: [FOI #2900 email]
Dear Mr Shakespeare
Acknowledgement of your Freedom of Information Request
I refer to your request, dated 3 January 2017 and received by the Department of Human
Services (the department
) on the same date, for access under the Freedom of Information
(the FOI Act
) to the following documents:
'I assume A DHS employee, or group employees, would have been responsible for
creating the 'model' which data matched ATO data to DHS data, which produced a
target population to be sent letters, many of whom are clearly not in any debt to the
With respect to the particular 'model' that is relevant here, I request the following
1. All documents which describe, or otherwise concern decision making and approval
2. Any document which details why a more 'sophisticated' model was not considered,
for example, one that considered data at the Centrelink reporting period level, rather
than an aggregate annual earnings figure'.
An acknowledgement letter was sent to you on 6 January 2017 advising that you could
expect a decision from us by 2 February 2017.
The processing time was suspended during a period of consultation under section 24AB. As
this consultation occurred, you can now expect a decision from us by 6 February 2017
You revised your request to the following documents:
'Centrelink will be aware there has been significant media attention with respect to
notices sent to large numbers of Centrelink clients recently, who were asked to
confirm previous employment earnings. The letters to which I refer are detailed in
articles such as this: http://www.smh.com.au/national/public-service/centrelinks-
It has been reported that Centrelink has data matched annual-based ATO data to
fortnightly-based Centrelink data which I assume was previously provided to
Centrelink by individuals in receipt of some Centrelink payments such as Newstart.
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In undertaking this exercise, I assume it was authorised by an appropriate
delegate(s), and following their decision(s), appropriate instruction must have been
given to the relevant officers in a team involved in data analysis.
I therefore request the following documents:
1. The request sent to the delegate for approval to undertake this exercise.
2. The approval given by the delegate
3. All documents which give instructions and any specifications given to the data
analysis officer(s) involved in the development of this data matching exercise.'
The processing time may be extended if we need to consult third parties or for other reasons.
We will advise you if this happens. Charges
The department will advise you if a charge is payable to process your request and the
amount of any such charge as soon as practicable. Your Address
The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address which we can send notices to. You
have advised your electronic address is [FOI #2900 email].
will send all notices and correspondence to this address. Please advise us as soon as
possible if you wish correspondence to be sent to another address or if your address
changes. If you do not advise us of changes to your address, correspondence and notices
will continue to be sent to the address specified above. Disclosure Log
Please note that information released under FOI Act may be published in a disclosure log on
the department's website. Section 11C of the FOI Act requires this publication, however it is
subject to certain exceptions, including where publication of personal, business, professional
or commercial information would be unreasonable.
Exclusion of junior departmental employee details
The department is working towards ensuring that all employees have a choice about whether
they provide their full name, personal logon identifiers and direct contact details in response
to public enquiries. Where such details are included in the scope of a request, this may add
to processing time and applicable charges as it may be necessary to consider whether the
details are exempt under the FOI Act. On this basis, unless you tell us otherwise, we will
assume that these details are out of scope of your request and they will be redacted under
section 22 of the FOI Act.
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Department of Human Services
If you have any questions please email [email address].
Authorised FOI Decision Maker
Freedom of Information Team
FOI and Litigation Branch | Legal Services Division
Department of Human Services [email address]
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Department of Human Services